Duncan Reid and The Big Heads – The Difficult Second Album

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If it was as problematic as its title might allude to, The Difficult Second Album from Duncan Reid and The Big Heads has no intentions of showing it within its fluid and mischievous power pop revelry. The trickiness of following an impressing debut is one of those issues which is arguably more imagined and supposed than generally realised, and certainly there is no hint of anything but an equally thrilling and potent encounter from Reid for his second solo offering. Spawned from the same punk and pop rock devilry which marked its predecessor and its creator’s career, The Difficult Second Album is a contagious romp which explores more power pop essences this time around but still provides an instinctive and inescapable incitement of hook laden rock ‘n’ roll.

Reid’s impact and inspiration on punk rock came as bassist/vocalist of melodic punks The Boys, an outfit which Joey Ramone declared his favourite band in the eighties, and indeed that decade saw Reid alongside fellow Boys member Casino Steel provide backing vocals for the live version of The Ramones hit, Baby I Love You. Alongside band founders Matt Dangerfield and Steel, as well as Honest John Plain and Jack Black, Reid and The Boys released four albums and a host of singles before splitting in 1981.Eighteen years later the band reformed for a couple of shows in Tokyo, which in turn eventually led to a full comeback and tours across varied areas of the world. Leaving the band in 2011, Reid set about recording his debut solo album Little Big Head which gripped attention and appetites upon its release in 2012. Now he returns with its successor and another excursion into majestic power and punk pop.

With multi-instrumentalist Alexander Gold, guitarist Sophie Lynch, and drummer Ciara Lavers alongside him, Reid and the band swiftly light up ears and appetite with opener Another City. Within a breath melodies are teasing and captivating whilst crisp beats and a dark bass seducing are adding their potent coaxing to the songs immediately catchy invitation. It is not long before the tones of Reid bring their distinctive hues, his voice somewhere between Ste McCabe, Pete Shelly, and Ian Broudie, and fuelling the track with even greater temptation. With suggestive melodies dancing on the senses, the song is a lively croon setting the release off in fine and magnetic style.

The strong start is instantly surpassed by the outstanding Baby Doll, its entrance a flight of Devo-esque keys bred persuasion which has the imagination in the palms of their colourful hands. duncan_album_2Nestling into a minimalistic stroll with a tangy bassline escorting Reid’s compelling narrative, the song lyrically as intriguing and enthralling as the sounds it casts, it is in no time a devilish treat. With an even pace even through its mini crescendos, the track persistently inflames and ignites ears with spicy enterprise and Pixies like imagination across its singular rhythmic direction. The song is an early pinnacle for the album backed strongly by C’est La Vie, a juicy pop infused blaze of bracing riffs and glowing harmonies. Admittedly at its strongest in the verses rather than the hazy choruses, the track is a magnet for the passions and vocal participation, raising an eager smile at every turn of its mischief.

Both End of the World and Joe keep things bubbling vivaciously, the first of the two a weave of incendiary rhythms and flavoursome chords which at times are early Undertones like and in others more like The Briefs, whilst the second is a riveting drama of Beatle-esque melodrama and melodic rock colouring with a gorgeous breeze of melancholic strings matched by keys. Though neither can quite match those before them, each adds a rich new shade to the character of the album and a treat for ears to devour before Just As Good As I Used To Be unveils its quaint balladry. It is a slow embrace and admittedly persuasion until it suddenly erupts into a fevered pop punk stomp which in turn ignites the already appealing vocal lures with extra spice and energy. From its appealing but underwhelming start the track turns into the life of the party and feeds the greedy appetite now in place for the album with its exciting The Freshies like revelry.

Little Fingers and Toes steps up next and straight away is flinging spicy riffs and hooks which spark in the imagination with Rezillos like radiance. It should be stated that for all the references and reminders moments in songs inspire they more often than not are fleeting or simple essences which only spice up the unique propositions. The song itself has a curled lip to its presence, a belligerence which is all punk rock and lingering attitude, even as contagious hooks and vocal harmonies steal attention. As across the album, the excellent encounter is unfussy and to the point but still a masterful web of textures and sounds dragging feet and emotions into its persuasion with sublime ease.

The initially folk lilted Long Long Gone is next and strides with a blues flame to its accomplished design and air before making way for Not The Kind of Guy Girls Hug, another song with an open whisper of Lennon and McCartney to its charm. Adding another enjoyable twist to the album, the song still lacks the spark of its predecessors though admittedly that is more personal taste driven than any shortcoming in its skilled persuasion, though it is soon forgotten as One Night in Rio uncages its rock ‘n’ roll rampage. An out and out punk stomp with a blues rock underbelly, the track is the kind of song Reid has become renowned for which is hungry punk rock at its melodic and insatiable best, this track offering a great Ramones meets Eddie and the Hot Rods tasting.

The thrilling success of the song is instantly emulated by Wasting Time, this showing distinct and sultry personality with its first flame of blues and surf rock enriched glaze of guitar. It is a tempting which never leaves the rigorous lure of the song, only lays in wait during moments of predatory riffing for the chance to again soak subsequent melodies and harmonies. A radiant gem of a suasion for body and emotions, the song leaves for closer When We were Young to bring the infectious shindig to a close. Toying with synth rock and indie pop within its alluring body, the track is a tenaciously satisfying end to a release which makes you groan in disappointment once its last note is cast.

The Difficult Second Album hits the sweet spot time and time again across its nostalgia and modern infused body, and even when it misses the target for individual tastes, it still leaves a feverish and lingering wake which only leads to a hunger for more.

The Difficult Second Album is available now via LBH Records @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00MPNSP9I/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B00MPNSP9I&linkCode=as2&tag=uberoc-21&linkId=N5K5ZLSPALFB6SUJ

http://web.little-big-head.de/

RingMaster 17/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Dog Company – War Stories

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Continuing the recent trend of punk rock throwing up some real treats we have another from you in the mighty shape of War Stories from US punks Dog Company. Stomping with eight massively virulent anthems, the album is a feisty protagonist of thoughts and passions, a fusion of old school punk and Oi! with additional twangs which is quite simply essential punk ‘n’ roll. The release celebrates the ten year anniversary of the band and the Dallas quartet could not have sculpted a stronger revelry to mark its moment.

Formed in 2004 and including members from Dallas punk bands The Staggers, Wayward Boy, and Dryline, Dog Company has been a persistent source of inciting political lyrical antagonism and rigorously invigorating sounds. It is a proposition which is thrillingly lean and direct as well as passionate in its intent and invention. Steering well away from the mediocrity and excesses the genre can sometimes indulge in, vocalist/rhythm guitarist Joe Blow (ex-Staggers/Riot Squad) leading the way from day one, the band soon earned a passionate and loyal fanbase. The album Songs of Discontent in 2008 drew certain spotlight upon their emergence which the acclaimed A Bullet for Every Lie two years later reinforced and pushed further. Live the band has equally impressed and constantly roused passions headlining and sharing stages with bands such as Street Dogs, Flatfoot 56, Lower Class Brats, The Briefs, Vice Squad, Agnostic Front, The Business, and Subhumans. War Stories though is the band at its mightiest and the perfect way to signpost their anniversary whilst surely recruiting an even greater horde of fans.

With lead guitarist Garrett Chapman, bassist Shea Close, and drummer Mick alongside Blow, Dog Company declare the rebel within its presence and southern kissed sound with a pleasing intro before the first irresistible contagion Elected Enemy hits the sweet spot. The track immediately sizes ears up with strikes of guitar and thumping rhythms which already are driven by the need to shape an anthem. It is a magnetic entrance which refuses to lose its potency as the song settles into an easy stride, guitars sending out twanging grooves and sonic colour to skirt the just as straightforward and appealing vocals of Blow, aided at times by both Chapman and Close. Feet are soon enslaved by the urgency and rhythmic bait of the song whilst imagination is coaxed into action by the lyrical narrative and heated guitar endeavour.

The captivating start is swiftly matched by the storming charge of For Our Friends, that earlier contagion taken to a new thrilling toxicity. The guitar craft of Chapman lights up the rapacious eagerness of the song, enterprise drizzling over and veining the riotous canvas and breath-taking stomp careering skilfully over its surface. Like a mix of The Clash in their early days and Flogging Molly, the song is insatiable in rousing emotions and thoughts whilst breeding an even greater flush of hunger and rapture for the album with its commanding presence.

Both Printed Word and Battle Fatigue keep the exhaustive pleasure flowing, the first a punchy and incendiary offering which again has limbs and emotions submissive to the catchy bait laid before them. As with most songs, the track feels like a friend before it has even completed its first suasion, a familiarity that is present but undefined in the fresh presentation and invention of Dog Company. The song’s successor entwines delicious sonic grooves around the ears straight away; a Buzzcocks like venom fuelled their enticement before the song provides a raw and wholly persuasive brew of riffs and rhythms ridden by again a lyrically challenging and vocally recruiting theme. The jagged scrub of riffs across the song only adds to the impossibly addictive nature of the track whilst the sonic croon of guitar simply adds coal to satisfaction’s fire.

Rhythms announce Combat Zone just how you would expect and hope they would, their military bearing the lead into a bracing blues seeping rock ‘n’ roll storm before Not Dead Yet brings its defiance, musically and vocally to bear on the eager passions. Again it is one to have the listener bursting in on its territory with voice and body, the song irresistible with its roving bass lines, battling rhythms, and sonic lures. As shown by the song as an example, Dog Company looks at issues and comments in a way all can relate to without ramming it down throats. Like the music Blow delivers the song’s heart with a forceful but undemanding swagger aligned to a fun built relish which ensures a good time for all comes hand in hand with the intent.

The album closes on the ridiculously contagious Last Call and the similarly epidemically driven and succeeding Can’t Keep Me Down, both tracks slabs of rock which brawl and seduce with an instinctive understanding of what makes the passions tick. Looking for something to temper our enthusiasm for War Stories proved fruitless with only the fact the release is sparse on major originality though definitely not short on invention, enterprise, and most of all passion. The album is one of the best punk records this year so far and if memory serves across the last too.

War Stories is available now via Cadre Records and Rebel Sound Music on CD and various 10” vinyl options.

https://www.facebook.com/dogcompany

9/10

RingMaster 02/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Objex – Reservations for Debauchery

Rattled, battered and thoroughly yet pleasingly wasted is how one feels after sweltering in the full blistering punk rock force of Reservations for Debauchery from Las Vegas based band The Objex. If you thought punk rock had seen better days then get your eager mitts on this unapologetic orgasm of uncontrollable punk intensity and attitude thrust through the ear via vital and eager riffs wrapped in pulsating sexual energy. 2011 saw original punk show its heart is still beating loudly with the likes of UK’s The Duel and US band Cute Lepers releasing albums of stunning quality and enjoyment, to which we can add Reservations for Debauchery. Whereas the British band came from the safety pin cutting edge of the likes of X-Ray Spex and Vice Squad, The Objex take pop hook laden sounds reminiscent of the likes of Generation X and Vibrators and forge them with a rock powered intensity. They are an irresistible blend of The Plasmatics, Mongrel, and The Distillers yet completely distinctive and totally exhilarating.

Formed around 2006, The Objex was the creation of drummer Joe Perv and front woman Felony Melony whom he had enlisted to front his band The Pervs on the remaining dates of a tour it was on. After the tour the duo decided to carry on working together forming The Objex, the name coming from a conversation about Melony’s breasts involving The Briefs member Daniel J. Travanti. April of the same year saw the joining of guitarist Jim Nasty and the element that really completed the band as a force, his style a perfect fit. A 5 song demo Bound And Gagged followed alongside a bounty of shows and tours as the band built an eager and rapidly growing fan base with their dynamic sounds.

Preceding the unleashing of debut album Attack Of The Objex in 2007 to ever increasing acclaim and demand, the band added the bass skills of Aly 2X, a musician who self proclaimed she was the “best damn bass player with a vagina that you will ever see”. The album’s response led a year of highlights including notable appearances at the SXSW music festival, The Afro Punk music festival in Brooklyn, NY, plus support slots touring with Demob, Gold Blade and The UK Subs in the UK. The following year the band began working on new material though it too saw the departure of Joe Perv due to creative differences. Taking months finding the right replacement the twilight months saw the addition of drummer Chile and the band ready to use 2009 for writing and working on preparation for follow-up album Reservations for Debauchery and shows. The band entered the studio in 2010 with producer Jason Tanzer of Dust Tree Production Studios and work on the album began, boosted by the winning of the Vegas Rocks Award for Best Punk Rock Band and signing a contract with European based independent label, Crownn Recording Group for the global release of the album, which was unveiled early the next year.

Obviously concerned for the moral welfare of the vulnerable amongst us, The Objex start the album with a public warning of the corruption ahead in the brief song ‘Fingered’. Once out of the way the band go hell for leather to assault, violate and most of all pleasure the senses. ‘RSVP’ swaggers in on a rock riff that squeezes the ear before exploding into a combative declaration and defiance. The guitars whip up a frenzy whilst a deep poking bassline veins throughout. Melony instantly shows she is one formidable vocalist, an eager extrovert without losing the anger and intensity all punk should come with, nothing lightweight about her or the band. Sounding like a cross between Brody Dalle and Wendy O Williams with a touch of Joan Jett she commands songs and attention with the openness to allow everyone in the band to shine.

Every song is deeply impressive and beyond satisfaction though there are some tracks that just edge others though it really is by slim margins. ‘Social Disease’ attacks with bitterness and venom leading one to know you would not piss off this lady intentionally. With a siren like riff the track leaps upon and dances within the ear leaving no response possible but to physically respond in kind. This is matched by the equally addictive ‘Toxic Waste Girl’, again linchpinned by a mesmeric hook it has a slightly more melodic wrap though still as excitable and relentless as anywhere on the album.

Getn Back’ grabs hold with mischievous intent to do damage whilst exciting at the same time. Complete with a riff that chips away at the senses incessantly the song just epitomises what the album and band is about and the quality of all its parts. The rhythms of Chile demand attention and the array of riffs that probe tease and linger from Jim Nasty fight for the same piece of the listener. All elements of the band want and deserve focus but it is all in a unity with the others, the production showing all off without threatening the unity of band and songs, and for the record Aly 2X certainly supports her claim with some of the most delicious basslines anywhere, male or female.

If pushed best song on the album is probably ‘Squeeze’, favourite anyway. As the album is as a whole, the track is relentless high octane punk flowing with acidic melodies and pulse racing energy. Melony stamps herself as one of the most exciting and accomplished vocalist, though as the album pushes its charms into the face the Mohican clad new Queen of Punk proves that everywhere.

It is rare to come across an album where you cannot find any real fault but it truly is the case with Reservations for Debauchery, tracks like the glorious ‘Retribution’ and ‘Criminal State’ just as worthy of the words and impressive reaction given elsewhere. The Objex has given one punk album you definitely should not be without; this is a release the word ‘essential’ was created for.

https://www.facebook.com/objexlv

RingMaster 12/01/2012

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