Matt Finucane – Vanishing Island

As uncertainty consumes an isle through Brexit confusion, Vanishing Island sees the troubadour of disharmony, Matt Finucane is back to confront, provoke, and captivate in his unique way. As all its predecessors, the new album is a release which comes soaked in physical and emotional discord whilst wrapped in melodic dissonance. It is another complete lure of fascination from the Brighton alternative singer songwriter and without doubt his most pop infested outing without losing any of the disharmony which gives his music its richness;  a proposition which without quite putting a finger on the actual ingredient it has added alongside a general blossoming, is easily his finest incitement yet.

The past couple of years or so has seen Finucane especially lure attention and acclaim through the likes of the Disquiet and Ugly Scene EPs, though neither success has exactly been a stranger since the release of previous album Glow In The Dark six years back. Through singles and EPs since, his sound and songwriting has thickly enticed as it has continuously grown but as suggested Vanishing Island has something extra which truly set it apart as it boisterously got under the skin.

The album carries the raw jangle of early Orange Juice, the pop disharmony of Josef K, and the sonic dissonance of Swell Maps whilst lyrically and vocally Finucane again embraces the inspirations of Mark E Smith and Lou Reed but all essences warped and mutated into its creator’s own imaginative and individual proposition. Vanishing Island opens up with War on Pain and immediately is baiting keen attention through a rhythmic pulsation swiftly joined by the inimitable tones of Finucane, his vocal delivery as maverick as his music. As the song expands with real catchiness to its swing infested hips, drone inspired melodies weave patterns in its sky colouring the route to the subsequent turbulence which from a simmer bubbles up and over.

It is a great magnetic start to the album but soon eclipsed by the following pair of Submissive Pose and Menace. The first similarly tempts with a potent rhythmic beckoning, its first lure continuing to steer the track as its pop roar and rock antics collude. Openly virulent, almost taunting ears like a blend of Television Personalities meets Marc Riley and The Creepers, the song is delicious pop cacophony and one of the albums major highlights but soon matched by its successor, The third track prowls the senses, crawling over the psyche with its singular sonic intimation but again there is an inherent catchiness in voice and character which easily seduced from within its devious drone.

Next up, Looking for a Genius is no lightweight in temptation either, its bass strolling alone enough to bait attention and more than ably assisted by the relatively calm but corrupted melodic clamour of the guitar and the general pop nurtured balladry at its heart while in turn Perilous Seat explores its own low key yet boisterous intimate clamour; both inescapable epidemics of sheer catchiness.

The dark, haunting summoning and provocative fingering of Offertory provides yet another shade to the crepuscular depths and adventures of Vanishing Island before Expensive Habits infests hips once more with its inherent pop sway; the latter carrying a hint of bands like The Only Ones and The Freshies in its eager breath.

Through the sonically suggestive, untamed croon of Yr Own Way and the seared rock ‘n’ roll of Safehouse Rules, the album expands its creative landscape further with the conclusion of the creative tour of Vanishing Island being cast by the siren sigh of Time Begins. A slow burner compared to many before, the song is an evocative shimmer on the ears and imagination, a sail into the sunset off of the album’s creative shores.

Matt Finucane is a one of a kind proposition and Vanishing Island an inimitable offering in his own creative adventure.

Vanishing Island is released May 3rd with pre-ordering available @ https://mattfinucane.bandcamp.com/album/vanishing-island

 https://mattfinucane.net/   https://www.facebook.com/Matt.x.Finucane/

Pete RingMaster 08/04/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Tullycraft – The Railway Prince Hotel

Despite new album The Railway Prince Hotel being their seventh, US indie popsters Tullycraft has been a name rather than musical presence on our radar here and it has pretty much been the same with global recognition and attention. It is an outfit though which is said to have been “one of the forefathers of the American twee pop movement”, indeed one of the biggest influences on so many bands emerging over recent times within the indie pop underground and beyond. On the evidence of their new offering it just might be the time they themselves step out into the biggest spotlights as The Railway Prince Hotel is simply one irresistible slice of cute pop contagion.

Tullycraft emerged back in 1995 and a swift hindsight listen in the wake of The Railway Prince Hotel shows they have been the source of a host of delicious pop songs and releases which reveal why they have been a potent inspiration to so many. The new album though is a new twist in their songwriting and sound, a collection of hungrily lively pop songs with their own individual bounce and mischief to what has come before. The riveting union of lead vocals from bassist Sean Tollefson and Jenny Mears is one of the most potent lures to the Seattle band’s music but no more so than the instinctive hooks and radiant melodies which tease and inspire attention. Listening to their new release we quickly found ourselves thinking back to the organic and viral pop of seventies/eighties bands like The Freshies, The Farmers Boys and to a slightly lesser degree Weekend and The Chefs; alluring and no doubt coincidental tinges in the openly individual character of the Tullycraft sound.

It is fair to say that The Railway Prince Hotel had us hooked and licking lips with simply its first three tracks; songs which no matter what was to follow ensured our full recommendation was lining up. Midi Midinette starts things off, its summery flames of brass and energetic bounce instantly burrowing deep as too the rising union of harmonic vocal lures. Soulful and whimsical in all the right ways, the song provides a joyous stroll which hips and vocal chords just could not resist, both soon manipulated to matching effort by the following pair of Passing Observations and We Couldn’t Dance To Billy Joel.

From its opening bait of bass, the first of the pair had the body swinging; its temptation instantly escalated by the vocal collaboration of Mears and band around Tollefson‘s lone and as potent lines. The guitars of Chris Munford and Corianton Hale again almost tease as they melodically entice but it is Mear’s melodic cries which made for the greatest seduction in a song and particularly chorus which made for increasingly mischievous aural manna. Its successor with its jovial jangle and frisky rhythms allowed for no relaxation of feet and body swerves, its flirtatious vocals and melodies a pleasing mix of comforting warmth and playful unpredictability.

Goldie And The Gingerbreads is next up sharing another bassline which just hooked the appetite. From there the skittish beats and coy but bold melodic clang of guitar escalated its hold on ears while harmonies suggest the echoing lures of bands such as The Shangri-Las and The Crystals make a natural pleasure for the band itself.

We could not say that either Has Your Boyfriend Lost His Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight? or Beginners At Best quite sparked the same unreserved reactions of their predecessors but both with their particular creative essences and enterprise left us bouncing along with a wholly satisfied smile while It’s Not Explained, It’s Delaware with its reserved country twang brought its own healthy amount of and easy to take pleasure.

The brief electro pop saunter of Lost Our Friends To Heavy Metal was another which took longer to take too even if hips unapologetically defied that sloth like appreciation while Hearts At The Sound straight after ignited another round of eager bouncing with its rowdier pop ‘n’ roll before The Cat’s Miaow In A Spacesuit had us hooked with its bass swing alone, closing the trap with vocal and melody erudition. The latter pair emerged to test the opening threesome for best song honours, a choice never settled on even through numerous listens.

The album closes out with firstly its title track, a spirited influential proposal lying somewhere between old school pop punk/power pop and brass flamed indie rock and lastly the carefree pop rock stroll of Vacaville. Each leaves a greed for more behind with the final treat another vying for the album’s finest moment.

We can only feel we have missed out on years of enjoyment listening to Tullycraft but as we feel sure so many more newcomers will do, we are making up for it with The Railway Prince Hotel, one of the year’s early and real pleasures.

 The Railway Prince Hotel is out now @ https://tullycraft.bandcamp.com/album/the-railway-prince-hotel and available on vinyl via HHBTM Records.

https://tullycraft.com/   https://www.facebook.com/TullycraftBand

 Pete RingMaster 12/02/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Hector Collectors – Remember the Hector Collectors? ..You Won’t Believe What They Sound Like Now!!!!!

There are some bands which truly are one of a kind and The Hector Collectors surely fit the bill and have so since the day they made their first inimitable steps back in the year 2000. Almost tinkering with a revival after their demise/hiatus around 2004, the Glasgow hailing mischiefs are back in full swing with new album, Remember the Hector Collectors? ..You Won’t Believe What They Sound Like Now!!!!!, an encounter which teases, flirts, and keenly pleasures ears in the band’s unique way.

Something akin to a blend of Television Personalities, The Freshies, and Half Man Half Biscuit, the quartet of vocalist A.J.Smith, guitarist I.D.Smith, bassist Joseph Greatorex, and drummer Gavin Dunbar have honed in on their poppiest instincts yet within Remember the Hector Collectors? though that creative dissonance which sets them apart still drives their lo fi revelry.

The album opens up with Drowning in Dorito Chips, rhythms immediately calling on attention before the track’s infectious stroll works on feet and imagination. Flirtatious keys add to the potent lure still led by those manipulative beats and the call of group vocals alongside A.J.’s magnetic lead. With a sniff of Josef K to its untamed pop, the song quickly and deviously got under the skin, establishing itself as surely the next single teaser for the album.

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a 25 Minute Response Video to DESTROY your Argument follows with its own shade of the jangling goodness fuelling its predecessor; the song just as anthemic in its slightly more restrained but no less rascal of an incitement before Content Farm pokes at the appetite with its spikier pop punk antics with a mischievous wink at familiarity. There is a hint of bands like The Sums to the song and also within its successor, Bullies, another inherent indie pop soaked stroll which is pure pleasure courting nostalgia and modern DIY enterprise from within which a Top Buzzer whiff escapes. Featuring as a handful of tracks the featured keys of Dave Gillies, he one of a number of guests across the release including guitarist Cal Wiseman Murray, keyboardists Chris Elkin and Billy Samson, and backing vocalist Martin Smith,  the song like so many needs little help to captivate ears and a never too far from the surface smile.

The brief folkish medieval devilment of White Knight to F5 needed mere seconds to hook feet and lust, a success immediately repeated by next up Just Lovely, another incomplex pop jangle stocked with inescapable hooks and lo-fi misdemeanours recalling essences of bands such as Swell Maps and Fatal Microbes.

Across the pop ‘n’ roll of The Ad Hominem and the pop fray of Overton Window, band and album just accentuate their rich enticements, the first of the pair especially persuasive while Cognitive Dissonance eclipses both with its punk coated misbehaviour again hinting at the seventies and the antics of bands like O‘Level and Teenage Filmstars.

Edgelords provides a satisfying sing-along moment next, one proving very hard to resist within its melodic web with Abandoned Website following up its incitement with its own individual indie rural tinted jangle so easy to get involved with.

The album is completed by the outstanding Leeson Windfarm, a Scars hued encounter with espionage lined rhythms and intrigue loaded guitar. Vocally and lyrically, the song reflects on local and social observations, a regular spark to the band’s smart, playful words and those wicked song titles backed by similarly impish sounds.

As suggested at the start, The Hector Collectors is like few others, if any to be truthful, and as they re-energise their presence with new adventure in their sound that is not going to change any time soon, Remember the Hector Collectors? ..You Won’t Believe What They Sound Like Now!!!!! and its thickly enjoyable fun proof of that.

Remember the Hector Collectors? ..You Won’t Believe What They Sound Like Now!!!!! is out now; available digitally and on Ltd Ed vinyl @ https://thehectorcollectors.bandcamp.com/album/remember-the-hector-collectors-you-wont-believe-what-they-sound-like-now

https://www.facebook.com/thehectorcollectors/

Pete RingMaster 06/11/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Introducing Reverse Family

RF_RingMasterReview

Ever had that dream where an insect invades the ear and sets up home to mercilessly tease and torment thereon in? If so, a form of similar reality is about to be unleashed as the Reverse Family step forward to announce themselves with a sound which trespasses and festers in the psyche. The difference is that this is set to be the most welcome invasion of ears as it crawls with relish into the imagination.

Reverse Family is the solo project of Walmington-on-Sea resident Dermot Illogical, better known as Andreas Vanderbraindrain, the frontman of British band The Tuesday Club. Aided by a fluid band of collaborators from time to time, the new offering from Dermot is a lo-fi exploration into an experimental DIY web of sounds and flavours which is hard to pin down but certainly embraces everything from post punk and noise pop to indie and old school punk.

The RingMaster Review had the honour and pleasure to be the first to hear the tracks set to make up My Songs About Life Mid Crisis, the debut album from Reverse Family which is not due until next year through Perfect Pop Co-op but makes the ideal introduction to the new proposition so we thought we would share our findings within its dementedly addictive lures.

The first song we came up against was Alchopoppers on Fast Food, a brief and gentle yet deviously engaging song which instantly entices thoughts of seventies bands like Swell Maps and The Shapes but with the melodic natures of The Freshies. It is captivating stuff even with a drop into calmer waters which does not quite connect with personal tastes. We are not sure of the album’s track order but if this is to be the opener it provides a potent start though the brilliant Way It Goes is an even bigger pull. Carrying an early Adam and The Ants feel to its magnetic stroll, the song is pure addiction with a funk revelry bubbling under its pop punk surface, Dermot as vocally mischievous as the guitar led sounds around him.

art_RingMasterReviewThere is great variety to the songs too; Bit Slits for example flirting with the senses through keys which manage to sound like the brass flames of Essential Logic while guitar and vocals veer towards the Nikki Sudden school of discord blessed minimalistic seduction while Electronic 6 entangles portentous keys and winy guitars with fuzzy vocals for a Dalek I Love You/Artery scented melancholy. It is fair to say that Dermot wears influences openly yet each song develops its own distinct character under often familiar hues.

Hand of God has a darker and meatier nature to its predacious swing, contagious hooks and a great grumbling bassline aligning with melodic enterprise for a proposal which swiftly grips ears and appetite; a success just as easily won by the lively pop bounce of One Eyed, a seemingly early Television Personalities seeded encounter and the hypnotic I Can Sense Their Watching Eyes. This too has a flavour of Dirk Wears White Sox to it but with funky beats and another irresistible post punk guitar jangle in its off kilter dub teased shuffle, the track blossoming into another unique proposition within My Songs About Life Mid Crisis.

Other tracks in the mix are Business or Pleasure, a delicious song which sounds like Weezer soaping The Piranhas while recording it all in the bath, The Legend of Pierre with its haunting keys wrapped sultry croon, and Odd Mix Newgates, a seductive magnetic monotone tone spawned track surely inspired by Mark E. Smith.

The collection of tracks are completed by Higher Power with plaintive melodies and dour yet emotionally suggestive vocals and the outstanding May Number 10 Dream which again hints at bands like The Fall, Marc Riley and The Creepers, and The Mekons, as well as the criminally catchy Sods Law. Hips and feet beware as even in its low key nature it will have you swinging in an instant.

There are so many highlights offered by the Reverse Family songs; each track connecting with an ever eager hunger for punk fuelled, post punk spiced imagination. Plastic Punks epitomises this perfectly, its Fire Engines toned melodic jangle and Spizzenergi devilry sheer temptation again emerging as something specific to Reverse Family.

With a tongue in cheek lining to the lyrical reflection shaping songs which spreads into the music itself, Reverse Family is a beguiling adventure with a nod to the past and a grip on an imagination as fresh as it is, well quite simply a touch loco.

As mentioned My Songs About Life Mid Crisis is due for release next April but it is never too soon to get into something this craftily tasty.

http://reversefamily.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/reversefamily/

Pete RingMaster 07/11/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Pulsebeats – Fiction Non-Fiction

The Pulsebeats_RingMasterReview

Every two years or so we seem to get a new stomping encounter with The Pulsebeats; a regular occurrence, certainly over the past four years, providing so far highly memorable and rousing adventures. Nothing has changed with new album Fiction Non-Fiction either, a riotous ten track affair which has the body and spirit leaping with the band’s distinct fusion of garage and punk rock with power pop contagion.

Formed in 2010 by a quartet of musicians from Manchester and Santander in Spain, The Pulsebeats soon had an increasing flock of fans bouncing live and with their self-titled debut album of 2011. A raw but captivating romp, it awoke a new wave of attention and media interest which was further stirred up by the band’s three track 7” single Don’t Turn Your Fucking Back On Me two years later. That release immediately revealed a new imagination and diversity in the band’s songwriting and sound which has now been taken to yet another plateau with Fiction Non-Fiction. Released a couple of weeks ago by FOLC Records and Action Weekend Records, the recording of The Pulsebeats’ new roar of energetic fun saw the band return to Santander’s Drive Division Studio with Alex Pis handling production. What emerged was a collection of songs eager to reveal the band at its most musically adventurous and indeed creatively tenacious yet.

What Can I Do? is the first slice of engaging incitement on the album; a welcome instantly wrapping ears in jangly guitar and crisp beats. The distinctive British tones of Nathan are soon adding to the already potent lure of the song, his and fellow guitarist, Luis’ riffs and hooks surrounding his tones with matching zeal and expression The track is a tidy slice of power pop mixed with sixties spiced R&B, a warm an catchy start soon eclipsed by Dead School Marching Band. New wave like guitar insurgency rubs the senses first; their almost duelling bait soon accompanied by the swinging rhythms of drummer Ral and the almost haughty bassline of Alex. In no time, the outstanding song has feet and hips bound in its virulence whilst a Who/early Jam hue blossoms to ignite the imagination. It is also an inventively busy proposal, vocal growls and writhing harmonies colluding with spiky hooks and tangy grooves to add to its ear gripping devilry.

Cover_RingMasterReviewThe punk ‘n’ roll of Eyes On You leaps straight from the closing breath of its predecessor, the track a glorious old school incitement with a touch of early Buzzcocks meets The Freshies to it; indeed Nathan adding a Howard Devoto like toning to his raw vocal persuasion. Like the previous track, it quickly and easily has body and passions involved while showing more of the variety in sound shaping Fiction Non-Fiction.

The following All I Give also has some of that nostalgic spicing to certainly its acidic hooks and uncluttered body, bringing a lighter infection of pop ‘n’ roll for its magnetic chorus, while Carrie-Anne is a less forceful proposal creating a flirtatious smoulder with sultry surf like melodies within a power pop/new wave hug with just a touch of The Only Ones to it. Both songs easily command undiluted interest and an increasingly greedier appetite for the album, if without quite matching up to the major heights of those before them and the thumping garage rock ‘n’ roll of Baby Girl. The anthemic punches of beats alone have limbs involved, vocals and riffs taking care of the rest of quickly seduced attention.

The mischievous nature of the band in word and sound is never far from the surface of the album and especially dynamic and irresistible in The Man Without A Head. The stomping slice of rock ‘n’ roll is an epidemic of sonic contagion with a host of additional strands drawn from blues, vintage R&B, and pop punk. Many tracks have a claim for best track honours within Fiction Non-Fiction, this one of the most vocal though so too is its successor, the resourcefully infectious and melodically lusty September Calendar Girl.

To be honest most tracks create an unforgettable peak within the lofty stature of the album, the glorious Everybody Wants Some intoxicating punk rock revelry almost aflame with raw energy and attitude to match earlier heights. It offers an uncomplicated two and a half minutes of breath-taking and seriously addictive rock ‘n roll which just ignites body and soul.

Completed by the even briefer punk riot of The Ballad Of Medicine Stu, again a track impossible not to get fully involved in, Fiction Non-Fiction is the kind of release you turn to for pure fun, knowing it will not disappoint in sound, adventure, or attitude. As for The Pulsebeats, they just get better and better, which means so do their records which Fiction Non-Fiction can testify.

Fiction Non-Fiction is available now on CD and download through Folc Records/Action Weekend Records and @ https://thepulsebeats.bandcamp.com/album/fiction-non-fiction

https://www.facebook.com/The-Pulsebeats-378049614144

Pete Ringmaster 11/05/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Cross Wires – Your History Defaced EP

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If you were caught in the ridiculously captivating web that UK band Cross Wires spun with their Assembly EP earlier this year, or indeed the releases before it, be prepared for a new rapture with the band’s recently released Your History Defaced EP. For all those new to the invigorating brew of post punk, new wave, and garage rock which the quartet potently brew, the release is quite simply a devilish treat just waiting to infest your senses. Consisting of five eclectically and creatively warped slices of sound which is simultaneously nostalgic and refreshingly new, the EP reinforces and pushes on the riveting emergence of this severely tantalising band.

Hailing from the creative depths of Bethnal Green and Romford, Cross Wires who take their name from a track on the XTC debut album White Noise, took little time from forming in breeding an impressive reputation locally through their live performances and sound. It was a presence soon spreading with their first pair of releases in the tasty shape of the Forward/Repeat and Animal Heat EPs in 2011 helping spark that growing awareness which the Dark Water EP a year later, soon drove to even wider recognition and attention. Assembly saw the band take another step in sound, songwriting, and success which Your History Defaced looks like not only emulating but surpassing as it seduces fans old and new, as well as the underground media alike.

Opener Modern Art is an instant irresistible offering, slithers of acidic guitar crossing a bulging bassline and feisty beats for an irrepressible coaxing of ears and imagination. Instantly thoughts of bands like Fire Engines and Wire come to mind but just as swiftly the song shows a more rounded and fuller sound from the band than ever before but one still draped in open originality. Right away the vocals of Jonathan Chapman romp with the same mischievous potency as that spicing the sonic intrigue of Peter Muller’s guitar and the rhythmic bait cast by drummer Ian Clarke and bassist Pete Letch. It is arguably the most pop friendly song from Cross Wires to date but one swinging with a rhythmic swagger and melodic flirtation which is virulently infectious and unpredictable. Think Franz Ferdinand meets The Freshies and you get a good hint of the impressive romp.

   Shades Of Light And Dark comes next and soon has a jangle of angular guitar temptation teasing ears as vocals dance with resourceful frivolity over the feverish agitation of beats. There is also a chunkiness to the riffs which ignites the passions as easily as the sonic persistence and repetitious ingenuity flourishing within the thrilling weave of enterprise. The song continues the EPs strong start but is soon surpassed by the thumping and imposing devilry of Tab Clear, everything about the song heavier and more intensive yet equipped with the same contagious weight of hooks and spicy grooves as those before it. The bass of Letch is especially a throaty treat whilst the vocals straddle the whole encounter with a lustful energy and expressive magnetism which seemingly inflames the scintillating tempest of sonic and discord washed endeavour around them.

The thumping rhythmic entrance of Last Stand is all that is needed to ignite the passions, an immediate ardour which is enhanced by the layers of scything riffs and pulsating bass persuasion which underpins the again impressive vocal adventure of Chapman and band. There is a Buzzcocks like flavour to the imagination binding grooves and hooks whilst the song’s overall unconventional catchiness reminds of fellow emerging UK band Houdini. The result is another addiction sparking encounter which in turn is surpassed by the closing punk spawned storm of Vultures, a deliciously raw and rapacious stomp of Swell Maps like causticity and dour infectiousness courtesy of bands like The Lurkers. It is a pungent and thrilling end to an outstanding release from a band hard not to take a lustful shine to.

If new wave and postpunk with a modern mischief excites the ears than Cross Wires and the Your History Defaced EP is a must.

Your History Defaced is available now @ http://crosswires.bandcamp.com/album/your-history-defaced

https://www.facebook.com/CrossWires

RingMaster 02/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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