Syren City – Paradise In The Dirt

Syren City Promo Shot_RingMasterReview

Almost two years ago, UK rockers Syren City laid a hefty punch on attention with the Escape EP, five tracks of multi-flavoured rock ‘n’ roll which was as compelling as it was thrilling. Now the Bristol quintet returns with its successor Paradise In The Dirt and three more encounters which leave ears ringing with pleasure and an appetite for more simply greedier.

Formed in 2011, Syren City swiftly bred a sound from essences drawn across the likes of post hardcore, punk, metal and alternative rock. The 2014 Escape EP quickly showed it was a formidable and striking mix, echoing the band’s live reputation earned through festival appearances and shows with the likes of Turbowolf, The Alarm, Mallory Knox, Max Raptor, The Hell, Roam, Black Foxxes, Futures, Young Legionnaire, Attack Attack, and Blitz Kids. The release of their new proposition shows that the band’s sound has continued to expand and indulge in greater adventurous traits, increasing in magnetism with equal measure. The first in a series of EPs which have a conceptual thread and link, Paradise In The Dirt captures ears and imagination with swift deftness of enterprise and a rousing boisterousness, never relenting upon or releasing the listener until its final note has shared its mighty bait.

Syren City Cover Artwork_RingMasterReviewIt opens up with It’s Morphine Time, a song which descends on the senses like a tempestuous challenge from its first breath, but a threat just as quickly seducing ears and appetite as riffs and rhythms launch their hungry persuasion. In no times wiry grooves are entangling song and listener while anthemic vocal roars across the band find a great Beastie Boys feel to them. As it proceeds, the scent of bands such as Rage Against The Machine and Refused also colour the encounter, with frontman Simon Roach taking vocal charge as the barbarous rhythms of bassist Sam Leworthy and drummer Mat Capper badger and incite. It is a virulent infectious affair with the enterprise and fiery grooves of guitarists Ian Chadderton and Josh Mortazavi arousing, aiding and shaping the songs twists and turns as its metal/heavy rock antagonism and inescapable catchiness fuels pleasure, the song alone surely ensuring the EP’s certain success.

It is quickly backed up by its companions though, Danielle coming next and opening on a melodic caress which inspires the following vocals and flirtatious gait of the song. Little time passes before again a volcanic quality and energy erupts, its theatre creating a My Chemical Romance like attraction before things slip back into the captivating calm and the repeat of the galvanic cycle. As within its predecessor, there is a kind of tempestuousness to ideas and intensity which only adds to the riveting drama provided before 10,000 Knives steps forward to grab its share of the plaudits. Initial riffs and lures have a slight Therapy? feel before the punk heart of band and song grips and adds a Reuben meets Taking Back Sunday hue to the outstanding encounter.

All three tracks are uniquely distinct to each other but fuelled by a sound with a character all Syren City’s. The band impressed with their last release and have only made a bigger impact with Paradise In The Dirt, a release sure to be the favourite EP of 2016 for a great many.

The Paradise In The Dirt EP is out now through all stores-

https://www.facebook.com/SyrenCity  https://twitter.com/SyrenCity  http://instagram.com/syrencitymusic

Pete RingMaster 30/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Smash Fashion – Junkie Luck

smash fashion live_RingMaster Review

Ahead of their eagerly anticipated new album, US rockers Smash Fashion have uncaged a feistily flavoursome teaser in the shape of new single Junkie Luck. It has all the trademarks of the band’s decades bridging rock ‘n’ roll and the rousing mischief fans have come accustomed to and greedy for. It also hints at new flavours in the band’s power fuelled melodic roar ensuring intrigue for their upcoming release is all the more ripe.

Los Angeles bred, Smash Fashion has spent the past decade or so brewing up a sound merged from the raw energy of fifties rock ‘n’ roll, the hungry adventure of sixties psych and garage rock, and essences of punk ‘n’ roll forged ever since. With the salacious scent of glam and the anthemic energy of hard rock amongst other flavours also involved, the quartet create something that defies being pinned down yet has a broad familiarity which swiftly seduces ears and imagination. The creation of and driven by vocalist/guitarist Roger Deering, Smash Fashion has increasingly lured acclaim and eager attention across a trio of albums starting with A Gentlemens Guide to Sophisticated Savagery in 2006. Three years later Don’t Pet The Sweaty Things stirred things up further for the band though it was Big Cat Love in 2014 which sparked the most eager and broadest spotlights yet on both sides of the Atlantic. With a clutch of ear teasing singles and a praise garnering live presence which has seen the band share stages again on both sides of the pond with the likes of Ian Hunter, Arthur Lee and Love, The Zombies, Cheap Trick, Psychedelic Furs, The Alarm, Missing Person, Silversun Pickups, Orson, JET, and The 88 over the years backing up the success of their albums, Smash Fashion has become a greedily devoured band with songs that just make tongues lick lips; the new single Junkie Luck no exception.

smash fashion art_RingMaster ReviewFrom its firs breath Junkie Luck is a rich enticement of guitar, the strings of Deering flirting alongside the sonic lead of Lloyd Stuart Casson (ex- Rock City Angels) before the former’s recognisable and always persuasive vocals potently leads the emergence of the song’s infectious heart. The swinging beats of drummer Repo (ex-Smack) manage to cage and incite further devilment in the song, assisted in kind by the prowling lure of Scarlet Rowe’s bass, both aiding the track’s grip on the listener’s hips and involvement. Musically Junkie Love is like a fiery blend of The Cars, Cheap Trick, Turbonegro, and Sweet with a healthy punk rock attitude but it emerges with a character and uniqueness which roars Smash Fashion.

On the B-side of the single is the boisterous punk ‘n’ roll cover of Golden Earring’s Long Blond Animal, Deering and co giving it fresh attitude for a rousing impact which for personal tastes actually puts the original in the shade just a touch. A song which will not be on the forthcoming album, it alone makes the single more than worthy of being checked out; Junkie Luck itself the thicker temptation urging all to add it to their music collection.

It is probably fair to say that you know what you are going to get with Smash Fashion, a blistering good time with sounds that easily incite body and soul, yet each release to date has only surprised and impressed with its own fresh revelry. There is no reason to expect anything different from the new album, just much more of the fun offered by Junkie Luck.

Junkie Luck is out now via Electric Pudding Recordings on download and on Ltd Ed 7”red vinyl.

https://www.facebook.com/smashfashion   http://www.smashfashionmusic.com

Pete RingMaster 10/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Syren City – Escape EP

Syren City Online Promo Photo

Seemingly labelled as post hardcore, UK rockers Syren City has a sound which almost defies tagging as it employs a wealth of rich flavours such as punk and metal through to alternative and hard rock, and that is still only scratching the surface. It makes for a rousing incitement as evidence by their new EP Escape, a release which is best described as one almighty roar. Consisting of five tracks which twist with the flair of a pole dancer and has more moves than a senses ravaging roller coaster, the band’s new proposition is quite simply a ferociously compelling and thrilling adventure.

Hailing from Bristol and formed in 2011, Syren City took little time to light up venues around Wales and England, supporting the likes of Turbowolf, The Alarm, Max Raptor, Futures, Young Legionnaire, Attack Attack, and Blitz Kids, whilst festival appearances has seen them share stages with bands such as Brand New, Don Broco, We Are the Ocean, Mallory Knox, Kids in Glass Houses, and Feed The Rhino. Their live performances and their impressive portion of a split EP with fellow Bristolians and metalcore band Koshiro, has led to keen anticipation for Escape, an appetite fully fed by the impressive collection of contagious anthems.

The band hits top gear straight away with opener Bleed. It is a rampage of a song, heavy hitting and rigorously coaxing rhythms from drummer Louis Catlett aligned to the throaty lure of Adam Armour’s bass, an irresistible entrance soon PromoImageenhanced by the scything riffs and chords provided by guitarists Ian Chadderton and Adam Hopton. Instantly there is a feel of Foo Fighters to the muscular persuasion which increases as vocalist Simon Roach reveals his strengths. With gripping backing vocals and shouts adding to the incendiary array of hooks lining the charge, there is also an essence of Max Raptor and the now defunct Always The Quiet Ones to the stomp though all mere spices to something openly distinctive to Syren City. The track continues to set a fire in ears and emotions, its unpredictable invention and side steps in its imaginative emprise as swiftly addictive as the face on tempest of aggression and melodic enterprise.

The stunning start is followed by Our Disease, another track taking mere seconds to seduce senses and passion with its vocal bellow. This bait leads into a punkish antagonism in voice and sound before it in turn evolves into a hard rock stride. As it predecessor, the song mixes up gait and attack with seamless and skilled resourcefulness, never relinquishing its grip on ears and imagination with its increasingly catchy and enterprising temptation. It does not quite match the opening triumph, due to the majesty of that song, but easily ensures that the EP continues to inflame body and emotions as does its successor Fire In Your Name. The third song unveils an enticing sonic groove straight away which rapidly makes way for the potent lead and backing vocal mix, before returning to bind a stroll of punchy beats and raw riffs. As with most songs, that earlier mentioned post hardcore essence is a rich colour to the canvas of the track, but as with all it comes soaked in variety and diversity, melodic hues and a metallic sonic veining adding to the pop punk seeded emotive howl of the song.

The treats keep coming as Long Way Down enters the affair next. The blend of raw and aggressive confrontation within Roach’s predominantly melodic coloured vocals alone make a rigorously enticing offering whilst grooves and hooks in the heavily swinging tempest of the song, only add to its addiction sparking tendencies. The track shows a more savage side to the band’s sound and songwriting whilst still embracing their melodic natures; providing yet another highlight before final song Asphodel brings it all to an infectious close. Revelling in a hard and melodic rock web of enterprise, the song bulges with rhythmic sinews and fiery sonic endeavour whilst vocally Roach impresses once more as does the contributions of the band in the same department. At times raging with nostrils flaring and in others an evocative croon, the track is a mighty end to a similarly impacting release.

Escape is a riveting encounter from a band easily living up to the buzz around them whilst even in its impressive presence and success, revealing the potential for much more in Syren City.

The Escape EP is available now @ http://syrencitymerch.bigcartel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/SyrenCity

9/10

RingMaster 15/09/2014

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Smash Fashion – Big Cat Love

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The wantonly enigmatic sound and presence of US rockers Smash Fashion has always made for a compelling and thrilling proposition since forming in 2004 and new album Big Cat Love provides no deviation in that potency. In fact it takes it to richer captivating levels with another collection of riotously varied and adventurous fusions of rock ‘n’ roll. The album sees the band again reaping the blooms of various decades and styles of raw and boisterous rock music, hard and glam rock as home within their invention as fifties rock ‘n’ roll and power pop. It makes for a tantalising proposition from the band’s third album, one which even with a couple of lulls in its persuasion is a stirring captivation from start to finish.

Hailing from Los Angeles, Smash Fashion consists of musicians drenched in experience and successes. The band is led by vocalist/guitarist Roger Deering alongside bassist Nigel Mogg (ex- London Quireboys), drummer Repo (ex-Smack), and guitarist Lloyd Stuart Casson (ex- Rock City Angels). Their previous full-lengths A Gentlemens Guide to Sophisticated Savagery and Don’t Pet The Sweaty Things in 2006 and 2009 respectively, set the band apart and into an eager spotlight for their expansive sound whilst last year’s single Blame It On The Brandy more than hinted at the promise of and raised anticipation for the new release. It was potential easily realised by the again Electricpudding Recordings released album, a confirmation of that clue and of the ever hungry invention and appetite of a band which has graced stages with the likes of Ian Hunter, Arthur Lee and Love, The Zombies, Cheap Trick, Psychedelic Furs, The Alarm, Missing Person, Orson, JET, and The 88 over the years.

A gong opens up attention and the entrance of first track Wicked Ways, a shock to ears which are soon filled with enticingly grooved big-cat-love-albumguitars and crisp probing rhythms. It is instant agreeable bait which only increases its lure with the vocals of Deering and an increasingly potent infectiousness which soaks the melodies and chorus of the song as well as the vocal delivery. You cannot say that the song is a startling protagonist for the imagination and emotions but it is a persistently persuasive stroll of finely sculpted hooks, fiery grooves, and sonic enterprise which achieves the same impact. Feeling like an old friend in new clothes in many ways, much like the album, the song is an impressive opener which is swiftly matched by Marionette. Bringing more punkish seeds than the first whilst still firmly involved with a hard rock canvas, the excellent track seduces like a mix of early days The Jam and The Vapors, easily igniting and passions. The fact that it is a reworking from an appearance on the last album makes no difference to its might and presence on the album, such its thrilling offering.

The following Strike My Fancy (Knickers Down) is as flamboyant and wonderfully sleazy as its title suggests though with a refined touch in restraint behind a melodic colour which flames around the senses as keys tease their submission. It is another excellent romp with more contagion than a strip club and just as sexy, especially with the incendiary guitar craft blazing across its body, a skill just as evident in Stay Off My La La and You Love to Suffer. The first of the pair shows its intent to rock from the first seconds, riffs and vocals a keen devilry within a sturdy frame of rhythms and dark roaming basslines. As all the songs there is something virulently catchy and anthemic to the track easily bringing feet, voice, and emotions into its grasp. Thoughts of bands like The Motors and Eddie and the Hot Rods are stirred occasionally through the song before it makes way for its successor, a smouldering ballad which from humble temptations emerges over time as a riveting enticement with dark sixties punk croon to its suasion.

The title track comes in next, starting with a mischievous almost tribal groan which sparks real intrigue but then as swiftly abandons the bait to twist into a glam/seventies pop rock which is more than decent but just does not excite like the previous songs. Like Darts meets The Quireboys it is a satisfying romp but not one to fire up any real passion in personal tastes, though the bass endeavour and climactic conclusion to the song are big pluses. The perfectly accomplished and varied Just a Kiss At the Starting Line is much the same in success though different in sound with its country rock twang and bold melodic rock stroll. The guitars and drums again ensure there is plenty to engage and run with, just not enough to spark any major ardour for.

Super Glam next builds a bold rock lure of country bred spice amidst a power pop lilt and darkly toned vocals. It is another song taking time to convince but succeeds eventually through its excellent pop swagger and hard rock veining of outstanding guitar craft and pumped rhythms. It is one of those devious songs which takes a deeper grip than first realised to be a lingering presence, though the following punk infused Aim for the Heart soon has total attention for itself, the song an outstanding fusion of the addictive hooks of Buzzcocks and rich drama of Psychedelic Furs all immersed in the kind of premise which only Smash fashion can conjure. The song is an infectious temptation with feisty intent, a mix equalled by Blame It On the Brandy right after. The song immediately has ears at attention as it opens with ridiculously addictive rhythms before settling into a brew of alluring hooks, stirring riffs, and healthily anthemic vocals. Bringing seventies glam flourishes into a tempest of blues kissed rock n roll, the excellent encounter is a mix of American rock and Thin Lizzy, and a complete joy.

The dusty climate and vocal shade to Live to Tell makes for another very satisfying if not explosive avenue to the album, its scenery a bloom of shapely guitar invention and flavoursome rhythmic wile, before Stairs to Nowhere brings Big Cat Love to a rousing close. A big boned mesh of seventies hard rock and garage punk with unsurprising but enjoyable animated energy and passion, the track makes for an eventful conclusion to a fascinating triumph. Boundaries are not worried and originality arguably left alone for the main by Smash Fashion on their album but they still present a proposition which incites pleasure and the rocker in us all and that is more than enough for us.

Big Cat Love is available via Electricpudding Recordings now!

http://www.smashfashionmusic.com

8/10

RingMaster 09/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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James Stevenson – Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over

JS

With a long list of notable and successful musical exploits on his CV, guitarist James Stevenson finally uncages his debut solo album, Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over and a richly pleasing sultry slice of blues bred rock it proves to be. Hailing from London, the man has enhanced and fired up more bands, tours, and records than runs made by English batsmen this winter, but it is surprising in many ways that it is only now that his first full-length has emerged to make a persuasion, something it does with skilful ease.

Stevenson first made his mark when joining UK punks Chelsea in 1977, his addition to the band not the last time he would be called and thrust into the deep end when joining outfits over the years. Picking out some highlights on his long resume, Stevenson from playing on the band’s first two albums, numerous singles, and undertaking many tours around the UK and Europe, moved to featuring on Charlie Harper of the UK Subs first solo single Barmy London Army before joining Generation X. This was a short lived time as Idol a few months after quit the band to start his own solo career in the US. Stevenson then played in the emerging Kim Wilde’s backing band and formed Hot Club with ex-Pistol/Rich Kid Glen Matlock and ex Deaf School / Original Mirrors singer Steve Allen. Already we are missing out plenty of other projects and artists the guitarist was involved with to this point and will continue to as further choice moments in his career saw him after the band’s split joining Gene Loves Jezebel in 1985 to replace the band’s guitarist who had a nervous breakdown as their first US tour was underway. Filling in at the eleventh hour, Stevenson joined the band permanently at the end of the tour playing and helping write subsequent albums such as Discover, The House Of Dolls which contained The Motion Of Love, the band’s biggest UK hit, and Kiss Of Life which was released after the twins Jay and Michael Aston fell out and the latter departed the band. With the world of GLJ rumbling on with releases and messy disputes between the twins to simplify things, Stevenson also played with The Cult on their 1994 world tour, The Alarm on shows and recordings, on Gene October’s solo album which he also produced, and was part of the reforming of Chelsea.  This is just the surface of all the work Stevenson has been involved in over the years leading up to and around Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over, shows and tours with The Cult, GLJ and The International Swingers which also features vocalist Gary Twinn (Supernaut), bassist Glen Matlock, and drummer Clem Burke (Blondie, Slinky Vagabond, Magic Christian), on-going adventures.

Stevenson’s album confirms and builds on the promise of the The Shape Of Things To Come EP which came out earlier this year, opening track Suzi’s Problem an immediate heat of tempting melodic flames and sizzling persuasion. The gentle blues rock swagger which drives its breath is a compelling enticement soon flourishing to greater effect with smouldering vocals and harmonies alongside shimmering expressive keys. The potent guitar style of Stevenson shines within the evocative textures woven to add to the impressive and riveting start, an introduction which is gently anthemic and magnetically absorbing.

The following Go Mister! takes things up another plateau, the initial guitar bred bait and coaxing vocals harmonies provided as across the whole album by The Sexpistilettos, a shadowy radiance. There is a definite gothic rock air to the song, a blend of Sisters Of Mercy/March Violets seduction with a punkier intent fused into a stirring melodic rock allurement. The song is a masterful and irresistible encounter which lingers and almost alone provides the album with a potential heady stature amongst the year’s wealth of rock albums.

Both the blues rich Twilight Riders with its great heavy nagging riffs and melodic passion, and the slowly burning Come On People stroke the imagination, the second finding a funk bred lilt to its tempting which is accentuated in Give It Up, a track which shuffles and dances with the emotions through agitated rhythms and exotic melodic enterprise from keys and guitar, not forgetting the ever mesmeric harmonies. Though the songs along with the emotive Why Am I Still Waiting For You and the equally evocative Been A Long Time Now, fail to find the heights of the opening few songs they leave a healthy appetite eager to feast on the album time and time again.

Another major highlight comes in the sinewed shape of Naturally Wired, a track sculpted with a deliciously growling bass and fiery sonic endeavour cast into a thrilling dark and absorbing stretch of intensive rock ‘n’ roll. There is also an air of hard and glam rock wrapping the grooves and glowing keys which only ignites the passions further as the heat of the track sizzles the air.

Completed by the gentle temptations of the title track and the acoustic led Been A Long Time Now, two songs which again give imagination and hunger enough to find strong satisfaction within, Everything’s Getting Closer To Being Over is a thoroughly enjoyable presence for ears and thoughts. To be fussy the vocals of Stevenson do not always manage to rival the sounds and there is a bigger leap between the pinnacles of the album and the other still magnetic tracks than one would wish, but the enjoyment it offers is full and long term. It may have taken time to get there but James Stevenson has made his debut album one to enthuse over and recommend wholeheartedly.

http://www.jamesstevenson.info/

8/10

RingMaster 10/12/2013

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