The Eastern Swell – One Day, A Flood

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If one word had to be used to describe One Day, A Flood, the debut album from Scottish quartet The Eastern Swell, it has to be spellbinding. From the first listen the tapestry of genres which shape its songs catches the imagination but it is with subsequent listens that the real bewitchment blossoms. Inspired by and weaving together essences from the likes of progressive folk, experimental rock, and neo-psychedelia among numerous other flavours, The Eastern Swell combines poetic storytelling and melodic suggestiveness in one impressive captivation.

Edinburgh formed, The Eastern Swell emerged in 2014; the Anglo-Scottish foursome of guitarist/vocalist Chris Reeve, vocalist Lainie Urquhart, bassist/vocalist Neil Collman, and drummer Andy Glover first going by the name of Lainie & The Crows. With a well-received EP, name change, and the signing with excellent Scottish label Stereogram Recordings under their belts, the band set about creating their debut album with producer Pete Harvey (Modern Studies, Meursault, and King Creosote) in his own Pumpkinfield Studios. Themed by tales of “about vulnerability and the frailties of being human”, One Day, A Flood casts individual reflections linked by the underlying premise and a fluid movement from one song to another. Enjoyably working individually, the album’s tracks also impressively create a single experience which is just as potent, maybe even more so, taken in one listen. With self-admitted inspirations to the band, when creating One Day, A Flood, including the likes of Syd Barrett, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Fairport Convention, King Crimson, Pixies, Thee Oh Sees, Cat Power, and Gillian Welch, it is fair to say that the album is a rich collusion of styles and flavours honed into one kaleidoscope of imagination.

The album opens with the outstanding Rattling Bones, a track drenched in drama and emotive intensity. A sonic mist first encases ears, this quickly followed by a gloriously evocative riff soon joined by an equivalent lure from the bass. A sudden drop into a sombre air of melancholy with a dour but tempting melody, as the warm tones of Urquhart caresses ears and thoughts, then enjoyably wrong foots. Soon though, the track develops a lively stroll to its gait, marked by the bold roll of rhythms as provocative strings from guest Pete Harvey further toy with the imagination. The song is superb, a seamless patchwork of enterprise and creative hues setting the scene and character of the album.

the-eastern-swell-one-day-a-flood_RingMasterReviewWhat’s Done Is Done is next up; sharing the dark throated riffs and bass tone of its predecessor as essences of psychedelia and late sixties/early seventies melodic rock merge and the great blend of harmonies across Urquhart, Reeve, and Collman embrace. It oozes a seductive touch with every exotic sigh, warm surges and electric impulses uniting in a gentle but dynamic rousing of ears and spirit. The excellent proposition is followed and matched in temptation by 1000 Yard Stare where the vocal mix again grabs attention as they immediately cradle ears while psych and folk pop streams of enterprise kiss the imagination. Crescendos of lo fi intensity contrast and work perfectly with this golden glow of voice and melody, the compelling encounter almost tempestuous at times in its Wicker Man like climate and emotion.

The acoustic grace and warm melancholy of Temples is next, Urquhart’s voice uniting with the evocative strains of the cello before brighter guitar melodies and quaintly lit keys dance in ears. Its captivating low key proposal is echoed in the individually bold serenade of Muckish Mountain straight after before Too Little, Too Late reveals its own swing of rhythmic hips and melodic gaiety. Once more the fine and contrasting blend of male and female vocals seduces, a match emulated in the dark throes of the rhythms and radiant smile of guitars and keys. With a subsequent hook to lust after, the song is an intimate yet all-embracing festival of sound and energy providing another major highlight to One Day, A Flood.

The fuzzier air of Quick As A Whip makes a swift engaging between song and ears, harmonies and warm textures only reinforcing its potency before the album’s best moment arrives in the shape of Dancing Zombie Blues. Like a devilish concoction bred from The Dead Weather, Bird Blobs, and Old House Playground, the song rattles and rolls with gothic folk majesty, coming to an abrupt end from which a sonic wash brews and develops into closing enticement Run Down Country Palace. Its nature is of similar breeding though once its raw climate is set, the track’s electric veil parts for the reflective charms of vocals, strings, and a folk honed melodic appraisal. As all tracks though, things are never straight forward, The Eastern Swell creating tapestries that perpetually move and evolve.

Another reward provide is that One Day, A Flood never seems to stop growing in ears and imagination listen by listen, creating an adventure very easy to recommend from a band in The Eastern Swell that we will surely be hearing much more of ahead.

One Day, A Flood is out September 16th via Stereogram Recordings.

 http://www.stereogramrecordings.co.uk/artists/the-eastern-swell  https://www.facebook.com/theeasternswell/   http://www.theeasternswell.com/

Pete RingMaster 15/09/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

High Tiny Hairs – Self Titled EP

cover_RingMaster Review

Take a pinch of sixties garage rock, a whiff of seventies/ eighties psychedelic pop, and a scent of the punk rawness which has spiced any decade you care to mention in some form or other, and you have something akin to the sound of High Tiny Hairs. The new project from former Fuck Knights guitarist and Nightingales front man Ben Bachman, the band is a raw and magnetic tantalising of ears in sound and invention with a potent self-titled debut EP to introduce themselves by. Receiving its UK unveiling this month, the six track encounter almost licks at the imagination with its stirring flavours and mesmeric sonic colours, each song flirting with bright hues around darker lyrical shadows.

Formed by the Minneapolis based Bachman with inspirations of artists like Alex Chilton, Brian Eno, and Syd Barrett spicing his creativity, High Tiny Hairs almost instantly captivates body and thoughts from the EP’s first breath. With Ioana Cristina Mirica, Sergio Hernandez, GD Mills, and Eric Levy alongside Bachman, the band instantly tempts with a web of inviting guitar as opener Chaos Ensues begins to blossom in ears. That alone seems to merge sixties lures with new wave enticement before glowing vocals caress a broadening and increasingly catchy landscape being laid by the song. Its prime hook is like a familiar friend yet defines pinning down whilst the fiery vocals and rosy yet chilled melodies within a sturdy rhythmic and sonic frame, suggests something akin to The Raincoats meets Melody’s Echo Chamber meets Horse Party.

The potent start continues in the rawer brilliance of Ghost Shadow, a song best described as The Electric Prunes in a mesmeric romance with The Sonics and indeed Syd Barrett. With the increasingly tempting charm and flirtation of a Farfisa organ coating and seducing respectively the jagged bones of the song and a swiftly greedy appetite for it, the track is a wonderful unruly smoulder of raw garage bred dream pop and swiftly matched in persuasion by the sultry pop rock of First World Problems. Keys and vocals again tantalise as the jangle of guitars and the ever darkly toned bass both skip over and prowl their companion’s warmly enticing adventures, the result another pleasing escapade for the listener.

Redd Room slips into its sixties seeding with relish from the first second, keys again embracing the pop of that era whilst adding a seventies psych rock smile. Around and within this though, starting with a great opening hook out of the De Staat songbook, the band infuses a weave of matching magnetic styles and sonic resourcefulness. The song does not quite match up to its predecessor but nevertheless has feet and hips swaying with as much contentment as that growing in ears.

The haunting stroll of Night Time Wander steps forward next, again catchy and lively exploits of rhythms and guitar, as well as the fascinating lure of the vocals, embracing and infusing the “sombre and sardonic musings” of Bachman. Feet have no resistance to the song, nor healthy enjoyment before the closing Girl Like U completes the EP. The last song, as Redd Room earlier, is missing that certain something for personal tastes which lit the EP’s other tracks so potently, yet it provides a slice of sixties honed pleasure to broadly smile about whilst finishing off a great introduction to High Tiny Hairs, an EP which in many ways brings the sound of summer across numerous decades into one sultry adventure.

The High Tiny Hairs EP is available on limited edition cassette and digital download via Sir Gregory Records now.

RingMaster 24/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Venice Trip – Look Forward EP

Photo Cred Kamila K Stanley

Photo Cred Kamila K Stanley

As the summer heats up so does the wealth of smouldering and sultry sounds on offer, and possibly none as bewitching as those unveiled by UK band Venice Trip within the Look Forward EP. Bringing three songs which are fuelled by the breath of late sixties/early seventies psychedelic rock and cultured in a modern imagination, the release is a striking and captivating introduction to the London quartet which more than lives up to the buzz already arising from the band’s live presence.

Fresh from making an acclaimed appearance at The Great Escape in Brighton, the foursome of vocalist/guitarist Andrés Alcover, keyboardist/vocalist Shenny, bassist Nick GK, and drummer Joe Wood immediately has ears aflame with the EP’s title track. The opening song emerges on a feisty shuffle of rhythms and wiry riffs but it is the tangy melody which has the imagination and appetite especially drooling, its sultry shimmer and inescapable lure the lead into a rich seduction of vocals and melodic enterprise. Beats continue to cast an anthemic lure whilst a sixties glazing captivatingly coats vocals and melodies, everything uniting in a contagion which sublimely engulfs body and passions. There is no escaping a sense of The Doors to the track, but equally there are essences bred in artists such as Small Faces, Syd Barrett and more currently MGMT, as well as surprisingly a potent feel of eighties band Associates at times. The song is sensational and a dramatically thrilling start to the release.

Ep cover_RingMaster Review The following Oh Katy is a gentler caress of energy though no less infectious with its evocative grooving and glowing harmonies. The psych pop resonance of the song sizzles on the ears, its spatial tempting grounded by the just as riveting and effective melancholic bass lures amidst thick swipes upon drums. Whereas the first song has a tenacious and broad sense of life and energy, its successor offers a more intimately emotional and personal presence with a just as transfixing and intoxicating tapestry of sound. It also has a slight whisper of Arctic Monkeys to it, though again the main scent of the track is soaked in psychedelic rock from across the decades.

Look Forward closes with Father Of The Universe, another song revealing fresh depths and variety to the band’s sound. From its opening seconds it flirts with a delicious garage punk like lure, the kind of dark and psyche twisted bait which graced the likes of The Cramps and The Orson Family. Swiftly infusing more Jim Morrison and Co like acidity into its alluring grooves and an increasing seduction of keys, the song blossoms into a dramatic, bordering on psychotic waltz of creative and vocal adventure where shadows and beauty collide and collude within increasingly tempestuous character.

It is a fiery blaze bringing a superb encounter to a mighty end. With the only moan about the release being it is far too short for greedy enjoyment it feels quite safe to say that Venice Trip is going to be a major part of many musical lives and quite likely the British rock scene ahead.

The Look Forward EP is available now via RYP Recordings @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/look-forward-single/id1003281940

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

RingMaster 03/07/2015

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

Quiet Marauder – Men

Quiet Marauder

     Exactly how good an album Men whilst engulfed by its epic mass of tracks it is hard to actually decide but as a compelling and persistently suggestive slab of fun there are no doubts about the debut album from Welsh band Quiet Marauder. It is a mass of musical and lyrical devilry, a persuasion of anti-folk which parades mischievous anarchy, humorously sculpted incites, and simple daftness across its continually engaging presence. The album is also the band’s attempt to enter the Guinness Book of Records for the longest debut album with 111 tracks. Made up of 4 CDs there are bound to be some ‘fillers’ in that intensive amounts of songs but even when the Bubblewrap Records released album does slip below the high standards set within its body, the tracks come with a charm and wit you can only embrace.

     Quiet Marauder is driven by the Cardiff based songwriting core of Simon M. Read and Jonathan Day with inspirations coming from the likes of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Syd Barrett, Half Man Half Biscuit, Jeffrey Lewis, and The Fugs. Musically a collective of musicians with an array of sounds and equipment musical and kitchen, the band provides an encounter which is provocative and eccentric bordering crazed and fully evidenced by Men. Their previous self-released EP was a re-imagining of footballer Alan Shearer as a time traveller turned deity inhabiting humanity’s cultural memory after infiltrating all our collective history. Men also carries a concept, if less mad, through its imaginative lunacy, the four volumes of the album ‘charting the path of the male psyche through love, rejection, breakdown, madness, intoxication and, ultimately, resolution’. How much that comes over as you chuckle and roar at a great many of the songs and certainly contemplate most can be debated but as mentioned what is undeniable is the pleasure and frivolity which thrills the ears.

     How to describe Men… well imagine Irish acoustic band The Radioactive Grandma meeting Flight Of The Concords in a quiet-marauders-shortcreative maze with Television Personalities and The Goons, now you get the idea. Released in Wales at the tail of 2013 and in the UK this coming January 27th, it is impossible to cover the whole of the five hours offered so we will pick some of the best tracks on the release, or rather our definite favourites.  From the brief vocally cast opening title track of Vol. 1, the CD offering a parade of songs looking at the male psyche in the pursuit of love, second song The Language of the Body featuring Little Arrow strums out its temptation with acoustic caresses aligned to a melodica seduction. The united array of vocals is excellent, raising a smile with their mischief whilst the lead vocal has a riveting tone like an inebriated Bryan Ferry. The song coaxes the imagination and emotions perfectly and is not equalled again, despite some thoroughly enjoyable engagements, until the almost baroque tones of Love Is a Two Racquet Sport croons contagiously in the ear. Both I’m Sorry I Removed Your Eyes featuring John Mouse and Annabelle spark the passions to greater hunger, the first an energetic dance of jazzy invention and the second a swoon of clumsy romance within a smouldering acoustic enticement. As with all the best songs on the album you cannot help joining in with the chorus, cries, or silliness vocally and emotionally. The quirkily anthemic It Wasn’t Me, It Was The Moon, the hypnotically persuasive The Game featuring Hail! The Planes, and So It Went Like This…. all contest best track honours not only on the first volume but whole album, the last of the trio especially incendiary to feet and an emerging devilish appetite.

     The second volume dealing with a masculine reflective look at past failures which broaden to encompass greater issues is arguably not as strong as its predecessor or certainly does not offer up as many major highlights though again every track tickles and pleases in the right places. The Dancing Did reminding Daddy’s Watching Slugs, a minimalist rhythmic and vocal tempting with again seducing melodica, makes a wonderfully virulent teasing with an additional essence of Cardiacs too it whilst the brilliant I Want A Moustache, Dammit romps with and recruits the fullest passions for its irresistible and infectious melodic swagger. Both hit new pinnacles and maybe highlight the inadequacies of the less impressing ventures even if again it has to be confirmed that there are few if any tracks which leave you lacking any joy or satisfaction. Tesco Terrorism featuring Bensh is another prankish incitement of impish artistry which is immediately followed by the outstanding Impressive, a naggingly addictive stroll of vocal and melodic rascality. Though the second disc is not the strongest as suggested earlier it does provide some of the very best songs and example of the irreverently enthralling imagination and almost coltish ingenuity of the band. With mentions for the brilliant Young Knives like If We Were Playas with Houdini Dax guesting and Every Last Dinosaur with the addition of again John Mouse to its exceptional luring a must,  we move to the third and fourth volumes.

     CD three is the strongest of the four collections of songs. From the verging on psychotically mad second track Genes And A Good Name featuring Spencer McGarry the rib tickling evocations just keep coming with the likes of the Bertie Wooster like relish of I’m Beau Brummell And I’m Just Dandy and the Blade Runner tantalising of the cyber bred Do Androids Dream Of Electric Nonsense lighting new waves of hunger for the cunning lyrical and musical mastery at work. The sultry antics of the rampantly enticing Gin and Jazz lights more lofty flames of pleasure alongside the likes of the rapacious and shadowed antics lyrically unveiled by The Business Deal which includes Jimmy Watkins of Future Of The Left, a song with a St. Pierre Snake Invasion punk voice to it. More must mentions go to I Took Some Pills I Found On The Floor, Everyday Is A Good Day, and The Day The Animals Went Fuckin’ Crazy!, further gems amongst more than a few.

    The concluding CD is again arguably less flirty with big highlights but a stretch with a strong wash of inventive and fuller bodied songs. It also offers one of the most irritatingly addictive songs on the album in the smouldering yet impossible addictive presence of Naughty Nights, a potent slow burn of vocal knavery and melodic coaxing which worms under the skin and psyche to repeat like gassy wind at any given moment. Its lofty perch is admittedly challenged by subsequent tracks like Clever Quote From Mark Twain with Andrew Paul Regan helping out, and the delicious Every Time We Think Of One Another featuring Francesca’s Word Salad, but most of all from the gypstep waltz of Hello The Robotic Singularity, doom and partying all in one flight of invention as well as the world’s final conversation, Humanity’s Final Hour. To be honest favourites shift with every listen, as even whilst writing Imaginary Music with its Gary Numan and Are Friends Electric? seeding makes its claim, reminding just how many and irrepressible and thrilling songs are on Men.

    Featuring a flood of other guest artists in its midst, whether you can listen to the album in one swoop is debatable as at times repetitions of melodies and rhythmic sculpting is apparent to temper the effect of some, but you can certainly shape a vast array of different playlists to enjoy from its admittedly surprising excellence to only enjoy without restraint. At the start you cannot help expecting plenty of flab and flannel in an album of so many tracks but Quiet Marauder soon and constantly set those thoughts straight. A brilliant album…still not sure but an unreservedly enjoyable one there is no question and the easiest of recommendations to make.

http://www.quietmarauder.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Quiet-Marauder/357156500982561

8.5/10

RingMaster 24/01/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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