Mark Mathews – Black Heart Down

Mark Mathews_RingMasterReview

As a teaser for and invitation to his new album, The Raging Sea, British singer songwriter Mark Mathews releases new single Black Heart Down, a song to get the feet moving and spirit bouncing. It is a song which does not startle yet needs little time to spark an energetic response to its boisterous rock ‘n’ roll.

Half Spanish on his Mother’s Side and Northern Irish from his Father’s, Belfast bred Mark and his family was moved to the East End of London by his actor Dad, leaving a home town “heavy with stories of death and guns.”  Mark’s musical tastes and heart was inspired, amongst other things, by the discovery of Sgt Peppers in his Mum’s vinyl collection and a freebie tape titled Sixties Mania that came with a box of Kellogg’s cereal. The emergence of Oasis was the trigger for Mark to pick up a guitar and write songs. Embracing the sounds and songwriting craft of other artists such as The Beatles, The Kinks, The Band, and Ryan Adams too, his music passion and career was soon a full-time involvement.

Since that start, Mark has gigged, toured, and busked around the world, been voted one of the best artists in London by readers of the Metro newspaper, and been awarded first place in the Indie International song writing competition and nominated for 2 Indy Music Awards for best live act. Either solo or with his band, Mark Mathews’ Late Night Players, he has shared stages with the likes of Andy Fairweather-Low, Frank Turner, Nigel Clarke (Dodgy) Luke Toms, The Draytones, and Dan Le Sac. With a quartet of EPs and a trio of singles also under his belt, Mark is ready to nudge even broader attention with The Raging Sea, and its lead, the highly enjoyable Black Heart Down.

The single has ears cupped in a melodic hug straight away, the alluring acoustic start matched in potency by the darker hues of the bass. They are quickly joined by the strong and inviting tones of Mark, his vocals continuing the warm beginning yet holding an edge and intensity which is soon seeping into the catchy chorus and the overall drama of the track. Continuing to stroll along, the song shares an expressive nature in sound and emotive character in heart whilst infectiously taking feet on a lively ride.

There are seemingly no major landmarks or striking elements to the song yet is as memorable and captivating as you could wish, carrying a craft in songwriting which alone sparks a want to hear more and indeed Mark’s new album.

Black Heart Down is released April 25th as too is The Raging Sea on iTunes.

Upcoming Live Dates:

April 27th The Bedford London

April 29th The Cavendish London

April 30th Asylum Essex

May 6th Café Del Marsh London

May 8th Amersham Arms London

May 12th Dublin Castle London

http://markmathewsmusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/markmathewsmusic   https://twitter.com/markmathewssong

Pete RingMaster 25/04/2016

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Union Starr : Falling Apart Together

It has taken ten years from their conception for UK rock band Union Starr to reach this point and the release of their debut album Falling Apart Together. Knowing a decade has been spent on the journey of the music enclosed within the vibrant walls of the album, though obviously not the whole time was spent making the release, one in many ways kind of expects something special. The two previous singles taken from the album made suggestion that those hopes might be met but now as Falling Apart Together unveils its glorious beauty the truth is the album more than satisfies those expectations. The debut album from Union Starr is a magnificent collection of melodic heartfelt songs, a treat to brighten everyday no matter the dark it offers and a sunshine fiesta to excite the body into open worship.

      Union Starr is a collection of musicians brought together around the core of Roger Wells, Jason Applin, and ex-The Sundays drummer, Patch Hannan. It was as mentioned ten years ago that the seeds of the band began with close friends Wells and Applin exploring a musical relationship. After their first show the duo found themselves working with producer Nick Hannan and for their second attempt at recording material added Patch Hannan to the mix. This January saw the release of the single I Know About Art and a keenness for their sound growing as well as strong acclaim. Now that the band has unveiled Falling Apart Together it is impossible to see anything other than unbridled enthusiasm heading their way.

From the moment the infectious charm of opening song Landing Lights engages in a romance with the ear the album incites a warm glow and inner smile, with the face soon to follow. The song caresses the heart with dazzling harmonies, mesmeric melodies and an eager energy that lifts one up in tender embrace. The song is the first of ten which all connect with the emotions like they were born to be the closest of friends. With intelligent touches making songs unpredictable and always intriguing, Union Starr provide instant evidence of their outstanding craft and creativity.

Tracks like Friend, Everything We Say, and I Can Feel It provide the ear with a playground of glittering soft indie pop laced with American folk textures and flavours. Each song a spring day of freshness and a sultry summer of bewitching melodic ingenuity. To describe their sound is not easy, the harmonic and melodic brilliance that shines out from every song unique but as each track graces the senses the influences stated on the press release of Crosby Stills and Nash, The Band, Vivian Stanshall and Sid Barrett are apparent. To that though you can add bands like The Lightning Seeds, latter XTC, and The Bluebells to get a taste of the feast within Falling Apart Together.

Every song is a gem but some tracks glow with an even greater radiance. The latest single Photograph is a heady splendour that one just immerses into from the opening siren like notes. Passionate and heartfelt the song plays with a light and warmth that one takes in deeply and when the keys add their own eager voice it is bliss. The likes of the gorgeous Bluebells and first single from the album I Know About Art, continue the excitement and exhilaration upon the senses. The latter song invites the listener into its swagger and confident expression of reality with a pure blend of melodic surety and bedlam bordering discordance. Showing the diversity of the band in songwriting and ability the track is sublime and is only surpassed by one other.

That honour goes to the inspired I Kept Knocking, a track that flexes its muscle and brings a stirring primitive quality to the vibrant body surrounding it. Throbbing as heartily as the melodies pulsate, the rhythms, bass, and wonderfully hypnotic groaning synths instinctively spark up the fires within. It is a musical bruising that one just loves to press time and time again.

     Falling Apart Together is simply impressive, a musical ice cream to relish time and time again. It may have taken a long time for Union Starr to get there but every second was worth the energy and effort.

RingMaster 22/03/2012

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