Matt Pryor – Wrist Slitter

MattPryor2013

With a title like Wrist Slitter anticipation was of the darkest emotional and imposing persuasion but as the new album from Matt Pryor unveils its persuasion expectations were soon thrown a curve ball. There is certainly rich shadows and at times keen melancholia to the release but for the main it is an upbeat and vibrant romp of energy, emotive light, and thoroughly enjoyable enterprise. The album took a couple of songs for thoughts and satisfaction to get a hold and find an understanding for the refreshing offering but once connected the release provides a unfussy yet resourcefully crafted imaginative romp.

Renowned as the frontman for The Get Up Kids, Pryor has garnered just as eager acclaim for folk-tinged group The New Amsterdams, his children’s music project Terrible Twos, and indie-rock super group Lasorda which also features Nate Harold (fun.), Mike Standberg (Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band), and Dustin Kinsey (The New Amsterdams). His own releases have also bred strong responses and respect but Wrist Slitter takes it to another level as Pryor’s finest solo moment. Released via Alcopop! Records in the UK, it is a magnetic feast of creatively flavoured rock pop leaving a healthy smile on the face and in the passions.

The album opens as if set in a jazz driven twenties speakeasy, excited echoes of the past awakening the imagination before Pryor ARR048_Matt_Pryor_Wrist_Slitter_Cover-kleinthrusts his sounds through the door to send them down an expanse of melodic pop rock in the accomplished guise of The House Hears Everything. Guitars and rhythms make an instant appeal to the emotions and without sparking major reactions wins their attention whilst the vocals of their sculptor equally lays down a strong start. As mentioned the song and the following Kinda Go To Pieces do not light a fire inside but certainly spark a decent appetite for their declarations, the second song like its predecessor providing an easy to access catchy stroll with hooks and melodies infectious if not startling in their ingenuity, a healthy enticement.

It is from the title track that Wrist Slitter suddenly turns on a distinctive and irresistible charm. The brief track complete with Cajun twang and invasive drone is a delicious and unexpected twist from which the album only expands and excels starting with the outstanding Words Get In the Way, the best track on the album. From its first breath rhythms make a firm frame for the dark throated bass and guitar swipes to grip and enthral the senses, whilst vocally the mix of Pryor and guest Steve Soboslai of Punchline makes a mouthwatering invitation into the heart and swagger of the song. There is an Everclear essence to the track which only adds to its immense lure whilst its contagious melodic coaxing and potent hooks creates an aural dance which is impossible to resist; only its briefness a slight niggle.

The acoustic folk opening to Before My Tongue Becomes a Sword makes a gentle entrance after a breath into another impressive and energetic prowl of the passions. The two parts do not seem connected, certainly in sound but work well as the subsequent romping blaze of pop punk seduces attention and imagination. With again guest vocals, this time from Chris Conley of Saves The Day and Braid’s Bob Nanna, and Bontempi like keys the song is a lo-key high appealing slice of melodic adventure immediately equalled by the bouncy If I Wear a Disguise. An eighties new wave feel coats the melodies whilst vocally Pryor has an earnest upbeat energy and emotional depth to his delivery to match the enthusiastic sounds around him.

The evocation of As Perfect As We’ll Ever Be is soon slowly burning its mark in thoughts and emotions, its strings a melancholic caress alongside an acoustic guitar kiss and the vocal narrative, before the Squeeze like Foolish Kids, with Pryor finding a definite Glenn Tilbrook lilt to his voice to match the UK band’s melodic prowess, weaves a pleasing embrace over the ears. Say What You’re Gonna Say also has potency and appeal seemingly sparked by the Deptford band, a thrilling hook laded melodic call instantly acquiring the passion’s support with again its short length of a few breaths over one minute again the only irritant.

The slower emotive walk of So Many Questions like the two before carries that Squeeze tone whilst the addictive hope wrapped emotive ramble of There Is No Us recalls the Everclear comparison in a merger with The Super Happy Fun Club. Both bring the listener into a relaxed state ready for the closing energetic saunter of the punkier Won’t Speak To Me which eventually leads the listener into a reprise of the opening scenery. It is an excellent conclusion to a richly pleasing and enthralling release, one which to be honest strongly exceeds what were maybe low expectations, those assumptions soon shoved back to their source with a creative craft and smiling adventure which leaves satisfaction very happy.

Wrist Slitter is available now on CD and 150 ltd edition blue marble vinyl and will be supported by a 9-date headline tour around the UK (with support from Allison Weiss) early next year.

UK TOUR DATES: February 2014:

14 – Southampton, Joiners

15 – Kingston, Fighting Cocks

16 – Nottingham, Bodega

17 – Newcastle, Cluny

18 – Glasgow, Cathouse

20 – Manchester, Sound Control

21 – Bristol, The Exchange

22 – London, The Borderline

23 – Tunbridge Wells, The Forum

http://www.ntwha.com/

https://www.facebook.com/mattpryorsongs

8/10

RingMaster 02/12/2013

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Get Off My Shoes: Lets Not Rush Out And Tell The World EP

Get Off My Shoes Online Promo Picture

    With their name having already triggered a chuckling interest alone, there was keen eagerness to see if Belgium alternative rock band Get Off My Shoes could follow up with equally impacting sounds upon their debut EP Lets Not Rush Out And Tell The World. The answer emerged as yes though not without the sense that the band has much more within them and the really impressive elements within the release suggesting that this was also a missed opportunity to really thrust their name forward with startling impact despite its strong and pleasing showing. There is nothing not to like about the band, their creative sound, and the very enjoyable EP, but though it does not always quite leap out of the speakers the potential of the band is undeniable.

Hailing from Antwerp, Get Off My Shoes was founded in 2010 by chief songwriter and singer Jonas Meukens. Joined by guitarist Stijn Debontridder, bassist Glenn Van Criekingen, drummer Ziggy Van Wallendael, and Jasper Willemen on synths, the quintet from initially spending time honing their sound and songs soon made a strong presence for themselves on the live circuit with over a hundred European shows in the past couple of years, gigs which included supporting the likes of The Subways, The Get Up Kids, Joyce Manor, and Apologies I Have None, to name a few. With influences such as Bloc Party, Tokyo Police Club, Weezer, Two Door Cinema Club, and Foals impacting on their similarly flavoured melodic enterprise, the band and their Thanks But No Thanks Records first strike into the world are certainly drenched in a promise and captivating invention which only suggests a bright future for the band.

The opening title track is a short expressive instrumental which colours the imagination with aural suggestion to invite further GET OFF MY SHOES EP COVERinvestigation whilst only hinting of the musical exploits to come. The following Dead Of Night instantly engages with jangly guitars and crisp rhythms soon joined by an electro breath which sizzles upon the surface of the energetic yet restrained blaze of sound. As the song slips fully into its stride its command of feet and attention is complete as the guitars further tempt the senses and the vocals of Meukens bring their plain expression but accomplished texture to proceedings. It is a strong if in hindsight an unremarkable start in the lie of the EP but one which easily ensures a hunger to hear more.

The simple electro start of I Was Told A Lie Once with emotive vocals in tow does not exactly ignite excitement but again comes with a lure into the heart of the song which is hard to refuse. As it expands with guitar and energy the song comes alive with thrilling power, the vocals finding a rich passion to match the intermittent fury of melodic and energetic urgency. It is a big highlight of the release matched by next up Ghosts & Villains. Highly infectious and anthemic in its stance, the song is a magnetic stroll of incendiary guitar coaxing and inflammatory melodies which is just plain irresistible and one of the primes reasons why you sense a strong horizon for the band.

We’re Going Down But We Don’t Care and Autumn complete the EP, the first an enthralling track with plenty of ideas going on within its well-crafted body of inviting rhythms and further heated melodic temptation. As the EP moves through its contents the vocals seem to get more expressive and impressive to add real feeling to this particular song though on the other side there is a feeling the band could have made more of the synth and its emotive presence, something sure to evolve as the band also move forward one suspects. It is a strong song but fails to light the same fires bred by previous tracks but another which leaves good thoughts about the five-piece. The final song is another triumph though, its gentile ambience and compassionate melodic caresses scripted with finesses and emotion to translate just as potently within feelings and thoughts of the listener. Easily as impressive as Ghosts & Villains in its very individual way, it is not hard to see why the band has earned such a strong following and why we are joining them.

As mentioned in many ways Lets Not Rush Out And Tell The World does not find the depth of riches it suggests enough times to really fire up a constant passion but easily does more than enough to excite and leave a strong satisfaction as well as inspiring the hunger to hear a lot more form the band.

https://www.facebook.com/GetOffMyShoesband

7.5/10

RingMaster 30/03/2013

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Archers And Arrows: Alone Together

Archers & Arrows pic

    Alone Together is a rather intriguing and thrilling album from Swiss band Archers and Arrows, a release which as much as it pleases and excites equally instils further immense promise for the band ahead as it evolves and explores a truly unique voice to its already quite distinct invention. Though it does not quite continually ignite the fiercest fires inside the album nevertheless thrills with its peaks and engages fully in its less individual moments.

Bringing influences of the likes of The Lawrences Arms, Further Seems Forever, Hot Water Music, Mae, and Thrice to their sound, the 2009 formed quartet of Sebastien, Nicolas, Bunty, and Yves conjure a stirring mix of punk, melodic hardcore, and indie. The band first drew strong attention in their homeland with their self-titled debut EP of 2010 which earned Archers And Arrows good radio play on Swiss national radio satiation, Couleur 3. Since then the foursome has furthered their reputation with impressive shows alongside bands such as The Gaslight Anthem, The Bouncing Souls, The Get Up Kids, The Chariot, Polar Bear Club, and Roger Miret (Agnostic Front). Their debut album one suspects is set to trigger a wider enthused awareness and from much farther afield such its impressive and evolving strength.

Opening track Innocence takes no time in scything through the ear with tight sonic grooves and melodic teasing before the excellent vocals take their place in the already captivating song. With every note and syllable the track has a fresh and crispness to its engagement which startles and warms the appetite. Arguably it provokes and suggests more than it delivers in uniqueness but all the time there is the feeling and expectation of greater things waiting to emerge from the appealing start and constantly it offers enough to keep one captivated whilst brewing a hunger for more.

The following Numb/Dumb steps from the closing strains of its predecessor with a delicious bass twang and indie hook persuasion beneath group vocal harmonies. Settling in to its stride there is a dissipation of that initial seduction into something more expected but the band are in control and twist the song with various asides and unexpected detours within the purposeful destination of the track. Again great vocals and accomplished imaginative guitar play leaves flavoursome rewards whilst the energy and agitation of the rhythms and passion brings an intensity which settles nicely alongside the melodic beauty.

     My Own God, Sing To The Wind, and the hard-core veined Self-Made Man continue the strongly convincing invitation of the album, all again offering inspired imagination and skilled enterprise which has one irresistibly focused to each swerve of the songs within their triumphant mix of styles but each also not quite going through with all their ideas to leave one a little dissatisfied as they also involve familiar essences well-worn elsewhere.

The second half of the album though is where things creatively explode as the band is at its most riveting and inspired; songs where they step aside into their own distinct spotlight. Danse Macabre offers a gentle hand at first though its rhythms are biting at the bit to involve an eager gait. Soon they get their way as the track opens up its presence with a dual emotive weave of expressive vocals, senses jangling guitars, and anthemic rhythms. The song is a delicious stroll of a band freeing up its imagination and heart, a contagious and emotive recruitment which leaves a heated ardour in its wake.

The title track and Dirty Hands both rise to the challenge and stand side by side in quality and stature to the first of the three. Alone Together merges a coarser vocal delivery with melodic flames which singe the ear with passion but tempers the acidic touch with addictive anthemic choruses and precise seductive hooks. It is pure pop with punk intensity and raw emotion, an inciting and thrilling piece of triumph. The third of the trio also carries a raw breath to its sonic victory and further inspires, with its co-conspirators, thoughts of how immense the band could and should become on the evidence of they and the album as a whole.

The closing Emergency offers one last treat in excellent female vocals which assist its lasting firm caress, the song completing an album which grows and impresses more and more with each sharing of its companionship. Archers And Arrows is a band to watch very carefully and Alone Together is the perfect starting point.

https://www.facebook.com/archersandarrows

8/10

RingMaster 13/03/2013

 

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