Mr Darklight – Into The Fury

Original DL_RingMaster Review

If the name Mr Darklight is familiar it is likely because you have already discovered his part in the electronic pop infection that is Masters of the Radio. Now the electronic musician/producer has unveiled his debut solo track in the shape of the captivating adventure of temptation, Into The Fury. It is a strange title as the piece of music never suggests turbulence ahead or within its heart, so possibly it is one moment in a larger journey, but what it does supply is a warm flight of imagination for ears and feet to feast on whilst casting cinematic suggestiveness for thoughts to run with.

Inspired by the likes of Daft Punk, Devo, Fatboy Slim, Gary Numan, Giorgio Moroder, Jean Michel Jarre, John Williams, Kavinsky, and Mike Oldfield as well as going by the nature of Into The Fury film scores, Mr Darklight quickly fills ears with the emotive tones of the piano. Its poetic breath and touch is the seed to a gentle but purposeful stroll through an instrumental landscape ripe with melodic essences of OMD and Depeche Mode. Thoughts are soon whisked into a magnetic flight by synths as they spread their broad ambience around the continually enticing evocative hues of the piano.

In a way the piece is like a travelogue of internal reflection or external air bound adventure, all depending which way the imagination goes with the track’s electronic clues as the guide with each listen. It is an absorbing and thoroughly enjoyable first meeting with the solo Mr Darklight, and hopefully the beginning of many such outings ahead.

Into The Fury is free to stream now.

Pete Ringmaster 24/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Glamour Assassins – Ain’t So Young

GA_RingMaster Review

The lure starts with a great name and becomes a vibrant persuasion with a debut album that gets feet moving and hips swaying. Glamour Assassins is that first bait, a title reflected perfectly in the melodic beauty and imposing potency cruising their music, and Ain’t So Young the captivating introduction to the Connecticut hailing band. The release offers a host of songs seeded in eighties new wave and synth pop but equally embracing dance punk and an indie rock flavouring. It is an encounter which has at times thick familiarity to it but also a striking freshness which combines for a persistently enjoyable proposition.

Hailing from New Haven, Glamour Assassins consists of Jared Savas, Nick Post, Jose Novo, Carrie Martinelli, and Gil Morrison, a group of musicians with a combined experience of playing with artists such as Dragonette, Matt & Kim, Plushgun, Freezepop, the Postelles, and Greg Hawkes of The Cars under their belts. As Glamour Assassins, they have earned a weighty reputation for an intense live presence which their album is now looking to back up with its theatre of striking songwriting from Savas and a sound which just wants to make you move as it feeds the imagination.

Produced by Joey Mascola and mastered by Grammy-nominated Emily Lazar, Ain’t So Young gets off to a rousing start and never really looks back. The Day Rock & Roll Died is the initial temptation, a song slipping through ears on a single guitar cast melody as keys and atmospheric tempting brews. It is soon into a catchy stroll, wiry hooks and a deep bass line colluding with punchy beats as the track quickly awakens attention and the first breath of involvement by the listener, especially when the vocals bring their strong persuasion to the mix with additional harmonies just as engagingly in tow. The track does not make a seemingly dramatic impact but swiftly the body is lending its moves and feet jabbing the floor as more enterprise blossoms in the increasingly infectious encounter.

cover_RingMaster Review    The rousing swing of the track is replaced by the emotive serenade of Hate Song Part I (Exile), a female delivered vocal caress on the senses awash with evocative keys and a laid back, shadow built bass prowl. It is a slither of a song at a breath over a minute but a transfixing set up for the electronic adventure of Phantom of the Disco. The band’s latest single is a bubble of dance bred electronica and varied impassioned vocals. There is a whisper of OMD to it, as too of Thomas Dolby and Blancmange, but they are mere essences in the thick ambience and emotional shadows fuelling the impressive drama.

Already there is no escaping the diversity to the album and Glamour Assassins’ sound, a quality continuing with the soulful roar of Sex Life. Synths once more envelop ears in a suggestive hue whilst the minimalistic beats and groaning bass lures bring the funk. Vocals and guitars add extra catchy and resourceful enticement in a track which you can easily offer hints of Duran Duran and Tears For Fears too. That recognisable air is in many guises a constant to the band’s sound it is fair to say, and just as honest to admit it only adds to the success and virulence of songs as proven by first the album’s title track and straight after London Fog. The first of the two thrusts indie tenacity and raw sinews into the mix, bouncing along with attitude and feisty energy as crystaline keys court jangly guitars across jabbing rhythms. In contrast its successor sculpts an aural theatre with an epic atmosphere which evolves into a more intimate and sinister proposal over time. Musically it is like eighties era Ultravox meets The Slow Readers Club with another bewitching range of vocals building unique adventure to the narrative. The track is as immersive as its title suggests if not as muggy with keys providing a shining provocative light throughout.

Indie pop ‘n’ roll has voice and limbs heavily involved next through Scumbag, bands like Late Cambrian coming to mind, whilst the contagion soaked Never Get Caught draws from Visage like territory for its pulsating seducing, though to this the band fuels the vocals with a rapacious edge and angst as the guitars spin a riveting web of sonic and melodic imagination which is seemingly Cure inspired. Once more Glamour Assassins turn familiarity into something of their very own though, just with an old friend like nature.

The album closes with Hate Song Part II (Death or Love), a track which kind of sums up the album and the band’s invention in one go. Part rock, part synth pop, and bursting with an array of crafty hooks, alluring grooves, and an infectiousness which never leaves ears and appetite alone, it is an impressive end to a thoroughly enthralling and enjoyable release.

Eighties new wave and synth pop seems to be having a strong influence on numerous emerging bands right now, of which Glamour Assassins is one of the most exciting and potential flooded propositions. Their album…well if you want to dance to some old school but freshly inventive contagion then Ain’t So Young hits the spot.

Ain’t So Young is available now

Pete RingMaster 10/09/2015

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Strobegirl – Alice

_RingMaster Review

Following the sixties elegance and tantalising charm of the singles Trophy Girlfriend and Honey Boy, Heather–Jane, better known as Strobegirl, slips into something even more bewitching and mesmeric with Alice. Seeding a theme bred in the Lewis Carroll classic within a dream pop landscape, the new single from the British singer songwriter/multi-instrumentalist is a blossom of harmonic seduction and ethereal captivation.

It was over two years ago that Strobegirl mesmerised ears with The Strawberry Sessions EP, a collection of synth/dream pop songs which danced with ears and imagination. Subsequently the Croydon musician released a handful of singles and EP which have either missed the same heights of that first release, or matched and once or twice indeed eclipsed its lingering beauty and enterprise. All offerings though have left a full appetite and pleasure in their wake it is fair to say, Alice no exception as it provides one of the most endearing proposals from the lady in recent times which certainly overshadows those thoroughly enjoyable recent singles.

Alice opens with an evocative ticking and a fall of crystaline notes, they the prelude to a nursery room ambience which swiftly offers childlike innocence which kisses the senses through the song’s imagination. As synths brew their mellow caresses and haunting shadows, the ever siren-esque voice of Strobegirl skips across the brewing canvas. It is a minimalistic soundscape blossomed, yet one in a perpetual dance of provocative textures and melodic flirtation. That nursery rhyme hue continues to add its colour to the warm hug but equally there is an adult intimacy to the lyrical side and creative drama of the song that just irresistibly fascinates.

The song just demands further attention, which means its companion song All Gone Wrong has to wait its turn before showing itself to be a just as fascinating offering, if not quite discovering the same instinctive and matching temptation in its presence and imagination as its predecessor. All the same with bubbly scenery within the mist like touch of keys, at times this brewing a Depeche Mode like ambience, and of course the magnetic vocals and harmonies from Strobegirl, the song drifts and lightly falls like morning dew over the senses. It does call out for a slither of unpredictability or something to wrong-foot and throw off expectations, but from start to finish it has ears and pleasure in its thrall.

Alice is the prize though and more proof that Strobegirl taps into a dreamscape/shoegaze coated pop which uniquely sets her apart from the crowd. Go gets seduced is our suggestion.

Alice/ All Gone Wrong are out now through Strobegirl’s bandcamp.

RingMaster 14/08/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Stillhound – Think This Way

stillhound_RingMaster Review

Backing up their well-received debut single Seethe Unseen of earlier this year, Scottish quartet Stillhound are poised to release its successor Think This Way, revealing more of the depth to the band’s songwriting and sound at the same time. Whereas the first single wrapped its radiance in just as fascinating shadows, the new offering explores a brighter and lively climate, though again the band blends contrasting darker hues to great effect. It is fair to say that the band’s first release potently sparked attention; now its successor is here to dance with those satisfied ears and lure many more matching appetites.

single cover_RingMaster Review     Formed by school friends Fergus Cook, Laurie Corlett-Donald, and Dave Lloyd, and with a line-up completed by latest addition Cat Myers, Stillhound create soundscapes of dreamy and almost spatial electronic pop draped in atmospheric evocations. As shown by both their singles to date, Stillhound have a sound as inciting to the body and at times the dance-floor as immersive to ears and imagination. They are said to have holed up “various mountain lodges in their homeland taking inspiration from art, geography, and the far flung soundscapes created by Boards of Canada to the pop aesthetic of Tears for Fears,” to write their songs and you can feel that kind of scenery impacting on the singles, especially Think This Way with its eighties synth pop essences within an expansive almost stark radiance.

The new single makes a low key start but within seconds is a pulsating and provocative saunter littered with small but enticing electro hooks, moodier bass tones, and sparkling harmonies around endearing melancholy oozing vocals. It is when the song kicks up a livelier energy and attitude fuelled by a driving beat around its chorus, that the Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith inspiration shines, though it is only one rich hue in a tapestry of sound and magnetic ambiences entwining the reflective and invigorating vocals.

Busy and eventful, Think This Way lights the ears with ease, continuing the strong emergence of Stillhound with craft and virulent coaxing. It is early days and only two songs in but already we, as so many, have a taste for the band’s inviting aural travelogue. It is not a ravenous hunger yet, but in time it may be, especially if the band can build on this potent next step.

Think This Way is released on 3rd August and available as a free download @

RingMaster 27/07/2105

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Yukon Blonde – On Blonde

Yukon Blonde_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

There is a melodic humidity to On Blonde, the new album from Canadian indie rockers Yukon Blonde, a sultry and almost sticky feel and ambience embracing and seducing the senses song by song. Already renowned for their seamlessly crafted and contagious pop songs, the Vancouver band went into experimentation mode for their latest endeavour, weaving in textures and sounds bred within psychedelic, digital, and synthetic adventure. It was a move bringing bolder and more fascinating character to music and release whilst breeding an even greater virulence for their maybe unexpectedly purest pop encounter yet.

It is easy to expect infectious proposals from a Yukon Blonde release but the quartet of Graham Jones, Jeffrey Innes, Brandon Scott, and James Younger have found a new epidemic of persuasion and catchiness despite venturing into the ‘unknown’ with On Blonde. Frontman Innes has said about the album, “We were more ambitious writing On Blonde so it’s sort of ironic that in experimenting we created a more accessible record than ever before.” Easy to slip into and embrace, the Colin Stewart (Black Mountain, Dan Mangan, Sleepy Sun) produced, Tony Hoffer (M83, Beck, Foster the People, Air, Depeche Mode) mixed album simply backs up his words, starting straight away with opener Confused.

The first song instantly swamps ears with a buzzing electro tempting, the potent coaxing quickly joined by spicy guitar and crunchy rhythms. It is soon a stroll of magnetic melodic and vocal tenacity, eighties and spatial breezes a lively simmering within the vibrant body and energy of the song. Down below though there is an underlying rumble in the heart of the encounter, a stirring dark intent which gives real depth and intrigue to the refreshing pop romp. There is a bit of Weezer to the song, a bit of Super Happy Fun Club too, but it emerges as something distinct to Yukon Blonde just like Make U Mine which follows. Its body moves with a funky gait within a mellower more reserved energy, vocals and harmonies floating around ears as they forcibly flirt with the imagination alongside musical echoes of bands like Heaven 17 and Röyksopp.

Variety is a swift essence of On Blonde too, the first pair of tracks coming with individual characters but not as openly as the outstanding Como which follows them. Its acoustic lead soon lures the appetite into a summery canter of endearing melodies and vivacious vocals, all tempered by another great shadow wrapped bassline. A tinge of China Crisis teases throughout but equally a whisper of The Beach Boys floats with the tantalising harmonies as guitars dance with sparkling adventure and revelry within the hazy romance of a song.

yb-onblonde-Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review     I Wanna Be Your Man slips into a fuzzier and grittier landscape, one seemingly blossomed from a Bolan-esque seeding. It saunters around which attitude and confidence, every resonating bassy lure and sonic sizzle carrying a glint in their mischievous eye whilst unpredictable and tantalising twists and turns merge with the warm fluid flow of the bewitching proposition. In no time it has seduced and enslaved ears and emotions, an inescapable success and potency cultured just as powerfully by the similarly mouth-watering Saturday Night straight after. The song pounds ears with relentless rhythmic incitement around which eventful vocals and an elegant embrace of melodies rigorously serenade. Every second comes with a flirtation of sound and ideation but also that unpredictable essence which again as much as the fresh investigations of sound infused right across the album, is the spark to new adventure and ingenuity in the Yukon Blonde persuasion.

A sixties hued, folkish ballad in the shape of Hannah steps forward next; its harmonic charm an easy snare for ears. Once it has full focus it unveils bulbous bass tones and evocative drizzles of melodic expression to tighten its hold, though whilst again pushing the diversity of the album, it never manages to come up to the persuasive levels of its predecessors, something the admittedly enthralling Your Broke The Law also cannot quite emulate. In context though both songs are like a lover’s romance with the listener, never leaving them less than enamoured whilst allowing the likes of Starvation to steal more of the limelight which it does with consummate craft. Carrying a Depeche Mode/Daniel Miller like dark croon to its intoxicating enveloping of body and thoughts, the track swings and sways with irresistible and addictive ingenuity, never startling with its temptation but smouldering away for the same long-term effect.

From one triumph to another as the indie rock sculpted Favourite People bounces around with varied guitar jangles and contented bass grumbling within another rosy veil of keys. Just as the energetic musical creativity of the track, the vocals have an animated and frisky intent to their presence and enjoyment, and though once more it is a song which you can only really compare to Yukon Blonde themselves, there is a small urge to suggest the likes of XTC and Talk Talk as hints.

The release ends with the electro rock stomp of Jezebel, a sultry temptress of a song adding a final rich twist and spark in one masterful slab of aural gold. On Blonde is seriously compelling, a whole diverse summer in one spellbinding embrace. Yukon Blonde do not light a blazing fire in the belly and heart with the album but it is the hottest, spiciest warm glow felt from a release in a long time.

On Blonde is available now via Dine Alone Records / Caroline UK digitally and on CD/Vinyl through most online stores.

RingMaster 18/06/2015

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The Department – Alpha


Like an A-Z of synth and electro pop bred in a parallel universe, the debut album from Swedish/British synthwave band The Department is one of those introductions which simply absorbs attention. A feisty mix of nostalgia and fresh imagination with a perpetually virulent infectiousness, Alpha blossoms with familiarity and new invention, embracing past decades whilst opening up new adventures. Two years in the making it is mostly though, one fascinating and exciting proposition leaving ears and pleasure with seriously greedy appetites.

The Department is the creative project of Londoner Rob Green (vocals / synth), who used to make progressive house records in the mid-nineties under several monikers, and Gothenburg musician Magnus Lindström (synth) who also plays in Swedish electro band called Mr. Jones Machine. United as The Department in 2012, the pair has since played with the likes of Naked Lunch, The Woodentops, Ekkoes, and Kids On Bridges, and at such venues as Romo Night club in Sweden, the 100 Club, Analogue Nights, The Hope & Anchor, and The Macbeth, all to increasing attention and acclaim. As mentioned they have spent the past two years working on Alpha, a release which in return immediately thrusts the duo into the full gaze and frontline of modern electro rock and pop.

From the first embrace of opener Don’t Give Up, the band’s album is a revolving kaleidoscope of recognisable sounds and flavours crafted into original and bracing exploits. Song one makes a slow and suggestive entrance as electronic percussive coaxing brings a slightly portentous feeling to the immersive and stark breeze of the synths. As their presence and melodic expression expands, so does a warmer underbelly to the emerging song, spreading and intensifying with every passing melody and hook. Not only musically but also through the Dave Gahan like vocals of Green, there is no escaping the Depeche Mode essences flirting from within the melancholic yet vibrant landscape the song. It is a transfixing spice embraced by the expressive and evocative imagination of The Department.

The potent start to the album is straight away reinforced by both Take My Hand and Glass Houses, the first of the two opening with chilled synthesiser minimalism reminding of The Normal. Its industrial lilt leads to broader endeavour and a breath of early Human League to tempt the imagination, and if you had to pick any general if loose reference to describe Alpha, the late seventies era of the Sheffield band alongside Fad Gadget would be our choices. The song itself is a wonderfully small yet again busily lively encounter, sparking in ears and the imagination with its gentle revelry whilst its successor provides a more anthemic pulsing and melodic catchiness which offers hints of the synth pop days of Al Jourgensen and Ministry. It too remains a restrained and reserved romp of energy yet has plenty to urge feet into action, and at barely two and a half minutes long, is one sublime slice of synth pop.

16470_584444331690660_2953593570011598044_n  Come Inside has a great steely twang to its opening rhythms and opening hook, their union making for a compelling lead into another minimalist terrain as pungent and provocative as any full-blooded sonic rampage. Infection loaded, a given with every track upon Alpha, the song has a swing to its body and energy to its melodies which is almost Heaven 17 like, a whisper backed by the equally catchy essence of Green’s vocals.

The album’s debut single As If Transformed comes next, a captivation of cyber drama driven by effect wrapped vocals, sonic niggling, and a fuzzy bluster of electro wind around an endearing weave of melodies. The repetitive nature of lyrics and sound only adds to the theatre and shadowed heart of the encounter, an emotional edge which definitely has a Frank Tovey like exploration to them. Its dark fascination is mesmeric but instantly outshone by the tenacious beauty and vibrancy of Days Of Liberty, a song on an addictive rhythmic march whilst draped in just as irresistible and vivacious melodic radiance. It is pure addiction with NEXT SINGLE all over it.

Through the cooler air and emotion of Not For You and the wonderfully sinister seduction of Skin Vultures, the album’s magnetism is only compounded. The first of the pair provides a mellower tone and smoother flow to its presence compared to the previous song, with synths gliding over the senses as the baser elements of the track pulsate with heavy emotion and suggestiveness matched by Green’s equally expressive tones. The second of the two is seeded with a Fad Gadget like provocative drama, every slither of electronic bait and melodic entangling of ears, offering new avenues of reflective and emotive exploration. It is a dark caress of a song but again magnetically loaded with bewitching echoes and touches of warmth and captivating light.

The enchanting beauty and shadowed emotion of Slow Down keep thoughts and emotions gripped next, its elegant sonic poetry followed by the just as finely textured and enthralling Let It Go. It too opens its heart with a merger of light and dark, continuing the personal and musical intimacy which veins the whole album and arguably finds the most dramatic and traumatic depths within The Waiting Room. There is a thick Martin Gore feel to the songwriting and voice of the song; it’s haunted dark tones a seemingly volatile yet firmly bound incitement within the inescapable threads of melodic temptation lighting the gripping encounter. The track is gorgeous, a croon come dark serenade earning its place as the pinnacle of the album and as the most immersive and incendiary proposal for ears and imagination.

Even The Sun offers a potent and pleasing encounter next, though after the last song it is a paler incitement through no real fault of its own. It still feeds appetite and satisfaction nicely before The Gothenburg Reprise Remix of As If Transformed brings the album to a close. Anticipation for Alpha from fans has been eager and no one has been left short in pleasure and enjoyment by the outstanding release. The Department had some big expectations to live up to but they surpassed those with ease whilst giving us all a very welcome dose of nostalgia.

Alpha is available from March 27th via Hard Cell Records, digitally and on CD @

RingMaster 26/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Filter Distortion – Transition

Picture 29

It seems that the lure of eighties electro and synth pop will never diminish as old bands try to relive their past successes and new bands explore the spices of that decade in their own ideation. UK electro band Filter Distortion is a proposition which wears the inspiration of that era boldly on their creative sleeve, yet twists and transforms it into something distinctly fresh and modern. The proof is in new album Transition, a transfixing collection of virulent electro sculpted songs which ignite ears with infectious imagination and provides the first pop classic of 2015.

The Liverpool quartet of Ian Hall, Wesley Hughes, Phil Morton, and Phil Gofton spent the last year creating and recording Transition before working with engineer and producer Daniel Woodward on its mastering. The result is an encounter which croons and seduces the senses as only eighties electronic music can but with a hungry invention and enterprise bred by electro pop invention and evolution of today. From opening track Black and White, band and album has senses and emotions bound in melodic enterprise and magnetic sounds. Bookended by the revving of a motorbike, for a reason more obvious to the band, the song swiftly blossoms into an Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark like enchantment. Outstanding vocals are soon caressing ears within a weave of synth cast elegance, casting their temptation throughout as keys provide a spatial romance for the senses. It is an evocative embrace aligned to darker shadows which only add depth and intrigue to the rich charm and contagion of the song.

The outstanding start is swiftly matched by the vibrant and slightly livelier Pressure, though again it is a reserved stroll of a track with swarthy bass and rhythmic tones courting an evocative synth exploration. Finding a more Depeche Mode like flavouring to its enthralling recipe of craft and electronic persuasion, the track wraps inescapable and resourceful temptation around ears. That leads to an already hungry appetite for the release to get greedier and thoughts keen to dig deeper into the sound of Filter Distortion, something rewarded straight away by the addictive catchiness of Resonator Express and the emotive balladry of Midnight Drive. The third song on the release explores a different eighties seeded avenue as darkly lit strains of keys collude with melodic radiance, the union a riveting dance on ears whilst its successor produces a familiar tempting infused and invigorated with the lure of great vocals and tangy melodies. Thoughts of Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys return but equally those of The Correspondents as the croon and boom of the song provides another irresistible enticement.

     Frequency Modulation hits the dance-floor next, its bubbly electro canvas potent bait for feet whilst keys and melodies flirt salaciously as vocal samples inform and spark thoughts. Think Picture 28Thomas Dolby does EBM but turned inside out by the invention of Filter Distortion and you get a hint of the inventive and composed stomp lighting up the air before the masterful hug of new single Neon Nights and subsequently previous single Cameras in the Dark appear. The first of the two is pure contagion, chorus and hooks gripping drama revelling in the variety of the vocals and the sultry breath of the sounds around them. It is a captivating doorway into the album and the band’s resourceful sound matched by the second of the two tracks. Featuring guest vocalist Cheryl Anna, the song has a more indie feel with effect lined vocals and a pungent bass tone revealing new veins of the great diversity and exploration running through the band’s songwriting.

When the Lights Go Out provides a darker soulful offering next and though the song misses igniting the passions as successfully as earlier songs, it is an engrossing tune to capture the imagination before Lost Boys gives that OMD inspiration another airing. The track is glorious, every vocal and musical note an epidemic of insatiable persuasion. It is fair to say that there are only highlights on the album but some songs stand slightly above others and the album’s penultimate proposition has one of the loftiest views.

The closing Game Over ensures the album ends on a good and ear catching footing but with its lack of real vocals and unremarkable instrumental premise, it is the least favourite track upon Transition and the only time you almost hanker for another of the album’s treasures instead.

Filter Distortion is quite simply a band for electronic pop fans of all decades. Their sound bridges eras but develops its own personality and uniqueness in doing so, whilst in Transition, the band has as suggested offered the year its first essential pop triumph.

Transition is available now as a digital download and limited edition vinyl @

RingMaster 13/01/2015

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