Popes Of Chillitown – Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard

Releases which have us throwing feet, hips, and bodies around in an uninhibited frenzy are just as boisterously devoured here as those provoking thoughts and imagination into the same eager exploits. Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard, the new album from UK outfit Popes Of Chillitown is one such example, an encounter which stirs up every aspect of the human spirit across thirteen slices of what for the moment we will simply call ska punk but is so much more. The band and release swiftly had the body bouncing, energies uncaged, and mind feeding off its insightful social and personal lyrical intimation. It is one of those unforgettable, deviously manipulative propositions which will surely set Popes Of Chillitown on the way to being a household name far beyond the ska and punk scene.

From London, Popes Of Chillitown has already bred and nurtured a fine reputation across two albums and a live presence which has had venues and bodies bouncing, as the album now, with lustful participation. 2013 saw the release of their pledge-funded debut album A Word To The Wise, a keenly embraced encounter eclipsed by its even more eagerly received successor To The Moon two years later. Since that first offering, the sextet has further lit up the live scene, from the Capital bursting across the UK and into Europe sharing stages with the likes of Reel Big Fish, The Selecter, The Skints, Imperial Leisure, [Spunge], Mouthwash, The Snare and many more along the way.

As Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard swiftly reveals, the band’s sound has an irresistibility which borders on the viral. It is a fusion of upbeat ska, punk, 2-tone, dub, drum & bass, reggae, indie with plenty more flavoursome spices working away in the mix; a rousing incitement which never flirts with the predictable and across the new album, easily the band’s finest moment yet, persistently has body, imagination, and spirit bounding.

Straight away as intrigue coaxes ears there is a sense of drama and mischief at play which swiftly sparks opener Prang into life, the track springing along with wilful exuberance. The guitar of Tom Penn winds around ears from an already persuasive hook spraying stroll while the rhythmic prowess of bassist Arvin Bancil and drummer Jack Ashley gets under the skin in no time. Matt Conner’s rousing vocals are just as effective, listener participation we found inevitable and can keen testify to. The track is superb, its twist into discord and off kilter imagination icing on the stomp.

The flames of trombonist Ieuan Williams and saxophonist Jon Pryce open up the following Get Off/Get On, lighting the way to another persuasive saunter ridden by the increasingly captivating vocals of Conner. There is a touch of [Spunge] meets King Prawn to the track, a tasty flavouring quickly ignited by the band’s own raucously individual enterprise.

Fair to say Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard already had its temptation racing through our veins in two songs but raised the temperature of its persuasion even more with next up Vexed. Cored by a hook which had ears and appetite dangling like a fish on a rod as well as a glorious teasing yet taunting grumble of a bassline, the track instantly took the album’s seductive clamour to another level. Brewing an addictive roar something akin to The Mighty Mighty Bosstones meets Capdown with the rawer edge of The Hostiles, the track simply and quickly had us enslaved and adding our less able attributes.

The equally outstanding No Manners In Ireland is next, the song a web of twists and turns littered with creative hooks and melodic lures which seduce like sonic sirens. Guitars and vocals dance on the swagger of the rhythms, their dark lined joy seared with the soulful flames of brass as the song evolves in form and imagination across four minutes plus of pure magnetism. Its glory is matched by that of the far briefer but just as riveting Graveyard. A dub infested mix of Skindred and again King Prawn, the slither of a track just ignited the senses before Upside Down got the body rocking and rolling with its almost salacious bounce and antics.

Across the fiery ska fuelled punk ‘n’ roll of The Last Elephant and the swinging holler of Mr. Piotr, physical reaction is inescapable as thoughts invest in more of the band’s lyrical inference, both tracks cauldrons of drama and physical manipulation so easy to devour while the likes of What A Guy and Inner Peace add yet more variety and adventure to the album’s beauty. The first erupts from a haunting melancholic sigh into another inescapable to resist canter, voice and hips soon embroiled in its creative romp before its companion smoulders seductively on the senses with its less boisterous but just as tenacious reflection. From guitars to rhythms, brass to voice, the song serenades and seduces; volatility in its heart adding greater depth to its inventive cry and increasingly rising temperature and intensity.

Take Control is punk rock blessed with the ear clipping tenacity of ska; a rousing trespass of an incitement under a sweltering climate of suggestion cast by sax and trombone. Unsurprisingly again indulgence in its swing is unavoidable, a lack of discipline thankfully the whole of Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard exploits.

The album closes up with firstly the melodically shimmering Lego Prisoners, a track resembling what you might imagine emerging from the essences of Ruts DC, The Skints, and a calm Random Hand being locked in together, and lastly Culpa and its reggae brewed saunter where grooves and beats overwhelm restraints even before voice and hooks sink their temptation into ears.

It all makes for one deliciously riveting and rousing adventure going by the name of Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard. Popes Of Chillitown has been firing up the ska and punk scene pretty much from their first days but are now ready to be spoken in the same breath as those bands which immediately come to mind as inspirations to the across the array of styles the Londoners skilfully embrace and employ in their own adventure. After Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard they might just be the first name to lips.

Work Hard, Play Hard, See You In The Graveyard is out now on 12inch vinyl, CD and Digital Download @ https://popesofchillitown.bandcamp.com/album/work-hard-play-hard-see-you-in-the-graveyard

 

Upcoming Popes Of Chillitown tour dates:

MAY 27 – BOURNEMOUTH Cursus Festival

JUN 02 – NOTTINGHAM The Maze

JUN 09 – CHEPSTOW Balter Festival

AUG 04 – BLACKPOOL Rebellion Festival

AUG 09 – NEWCASTLE Trillians*

AUG 10 – GLASGOW Audio*

AUG 11 – LONDON Underworld*

AUG 12 – WINCHESTER Boomtown Fair

*w/ Fishbone

http://www.popesofchillitown.com/   https://www.facebook.com/PopesOfChillitown    https://twitter.com/popesofctown

Pete RingMaster 18/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Ghouls – RUN

Though it is hard to exactly pin down the precise reason, it is very easy to find a connection with the music of UK outfit Ghouls. Whether it is the fusion of familiar essences with something fresh and individual, the lyrical themes drawn from being on the outside of the assumed norm, or the refusal to be pigeonholed in life and style, probably all three, the London based sextet make for an instinctive pleasure in ears and imagination.

The release of new album RUN epitomises that union; a dozen tracks bred in a fusion of pop and core punk, alternative rock, and numerous other flavours which has the body dancing, ears pleasured, and spirit defiant. The successor to debut album Ten Thousand Words On released a year after the band’s emergence in 2013, RUN is a band relaxed in its musical skin and bold in its creative ambition. Since their first album, a release striking the spark for the band to sell-out The Monarch in Camden and earn the continuing praise of Frank Turner, Ghouls have become a potent lure on the UK and European live scene and at festivals such as 2000Trees, Jera On Air, The Secret Garden Party, Mighty Sounds, Hit The Deck and many more. Last year alone saw them undertake a two week tour of the USA, play THE FEST in Gainesville, Florida, and successfully light up Brixton Academy as part of the Fireball Fuelling The Fire Tour.

Now it is RUN ready to push the band and its reputation on again and does a fine job of both from its very first moments courtesy of opener Seasonal Affective. Infectious from its first breath with strolling riffs and keen beats, the track soon blossoms again with fuzzy squirts of guitar and the potent voice of guitarist Benedict Goold. With emotion and energetic expression in his strong delivery, his presence makes an early focal point backed by heated melodies and the swinging jabs of drummer Jay Swinstead. The track never erupts as it suggests it might but rather lets its lining of grumbling shadows led by Sam Mussell’s growling bass add rich intrigue as hooks and catchy exploits engage.

It is a great start to the album which Autophobia continues with its fiery bounce. Quickly revealing the inviting flames of Ben Maz’s sax and Russell Spencer’s trombone, the song rumbles along with a pop punk eagerness. Like a mix of The Hostiles and Neck Deep, it grabs ears and appetite with ease though it is still eclipsed by the rousing revelry of Better Places straight after. With an initial blast of brass stirring the spirit, the encounter soon reveals a great landscape of instinctively catchy bait whether the song relaxes into a thoughtful calm or leaps to its toes and grabs hips and feet in a tenacious bounce. That earlier mentioned familiarity is already open across the three songs and like an old inspiring friend within the third before helping fuel the contagion of next up Facebook Friend. With a hip hop lilt to his delivery, Goold acts like a ringmaster to the confident mischief and subsequent boisterous swagger and aggression of the outstanding song.

The pair of Salt with its sultry brass infusions and rhythmic rumble especially alluring and The Difference through its impassioned heart keeps things bubbling nicely even if neither quite scales the heights of those before them for personal tastes. The first of the two though is as memorable as anything upon RUN and equalled in that attribute by the reflective voice and tenacious canter of Home. Another proposition drawing on the “daily grind of real life and the struggles faced in the modern day” for its spark, it has the body a lively blur in no time.

Antagonist has funkiness in its swing as it forges another moment within the album firmly sticking in thoughts; its body a tapestry of controlled and volatile enterprise which never leaves a dull moment before Hard Days captivates with its lively croon and infectious pop fuelled romp and in turn Disavowal prowls and catches alight with emotive intensity. More of a slow burner than other tracks around it, it similarly grows into one of the hearty episodes returning at will in the imagination.

Completed by firstly the acoustic caress of voice and guitar of Expect Greater Things, a song which just grabs the passions from the off, gripping even tighter as the track eventually ignites into a full fire of sound and infection and finally Oxytocin which closes things with melodic flaring in an excitably catchy escapade. The pair provides a fine end to a release which has enjoyment bubbling over from start to finish.

RUN carries the potential of even greater adventures ahead with Ghouls where an appetite for the bite which this album hints at but never quite delivers may be satisfied. The album though ticks all the right boxes for forty odd minutes of rich pleasure and physical animation, its new maturity in songwriting and sound declaring Ghouls ready for big attention.

RUN is available now through 1471 Records @ https://www.1471records.com/store and https://ghoulsuk.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ghoulsuk   https://twitter.com/GhoulsUK   https://www.instagram.com/ghoulsuk/

Pete RingMaster 10/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Hostiles – Last Call

The Hostiles Promo Shot_RingMasterReview

Giving the most glorious workout to swinging hips and inexhaustible feet, as well as instinctive pleasure, Scottish Ska-punks The Hostiles recently released new album Last Call. It offers thirteen tracks of melody thick, brass clad, and feverishly delivered punk ‘n’ roll as raw and snarling as they are inescapably irresistible.

Formed in 2001, The Hostiles began with brothers Josh (guitar/vocals), and Chris Barron (bass/vocals). Growing up in the US, the pair was seduced by the sounds of west coast ska and the likes of Reel Big Fish, NOFX, and No Doubt. In their teens, the pair moved to Scotland, soon discovering the rawer energy and sounds of bands such as Capdown, Lightyear, and King Prawn. Linking up with Callum Douglas (drums) and Steve Bruce (trombone), The Hostiles was soon rousing the local live scene with in time Joe Stainke (trombone) completing the current line-up. Quickly renowned for their energetic live performances, the band’s reputation swiftly grew and spread, helped in turn by the release of debut album Always Looking Forward in 2009. Proceeding to share stages with bands such as Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake, Zebrahead, The Mad Caddies, Strike Anywhere, and many more, The Hostiles followed up their attention luring first album with the Late Nights… And Early Hours EP in 2012 and the single/video For A Good Time Call 07946058526 two years later.

Now it is Last Call drawing attention and from its first minute arousing body and spirit. From the opening intro, the album leaps upon the listener with opener Ed Knows. An attitude laden bassline stalks the initial vocal draw, both leading into a fiery lure of guitar and rapier like swings from Douglas. Quickly as the trombones share their melodic flames, the track is a contagious blaze of infectious sound with a funk infused swing and punk ingrained fuel to its roar. There is little time before the listener is adding their full contribution in voice and movement, a success matched in the following Inconsiderate. A lighter stomp of a song with Hammond flavoured keys courting its instantly open catchiness, it carries a familiar air which only adds to its thrilling appeal.

The Hostiles Cover Artwork_RingMasterReviewThe band’s inspirations are never far from the surface at times, the second song evidence but spices used to shape songs which undoubtedly have The Hostiles character, as shown again in the prowling You Liar. Swaggering alone with mischief in its creative glands, the song is confrontational but an epidemic  of big hooks and intimidating attitude, and quite superb. It reveals the great mix of pop honed and punk rock driven sounds which have sparked the band’s passions over time, all woven into another distinctive proposition before things calm a touch with I’ll Assume. It is just a touch too as the song soon shows its teeth and melodic prowess in a King Prawn like canter with exotic melodies and moody basslines entangling the ever potent vocals and swathes of mariachi hued trombone.

Both Night Out with its dirty tone and ridiculously infectious enterprise and its successor Wish You All The Best has body and soul leaping. The first is ska punk at its most creatively virulent and indeed addictive while the second is a boisterous romp shaped with smart hooks and persuasive melodies as well cast in imaginative drama coloured by rock guitar and theatrical brass.

The album continues to keep the listener on their toes with a broad grin on their face as the punk brawl of Spend My Life, the gentler sway of So, I Wonder, and the blazing exploits of Late Nights come, go, and leave ears and appetite aroused. The third of the trio especially adds another pinnacle to Last Call, all offering undeniable reasons to embrace The Hostiles adventure, with To Err Is Human providing another major highlight. The band’s latest single, it also has a hint of Mariachi El Bronx to its melodic and trombone nurtured side, a great flavour mixing with heavier punk rock attitude.

Released From Captivity uncages another addictive tempting, guitars and bass alone creating a web of hooks which snare body and heart with ease. Familiar essences come to the surface of the song but flavours simply used to shade its own individual devilment before the closing pair of encounters starting with Nobody Else. The song does not make the same impact as others within Last Call, yet has mutual participation with ease so does little wrong before the album’s title track brings it all to a cantankerous close. It is a ska infested hardcore brawl of a proposal, vocals a throated scraping challenge as brass bring a tonic to the imposingly grouchy touch of guitar and rhythms.

It makes for an unexpected and pleasing end to a release which sees ears and fingers itching to go again within seconds of its close. There are a few rather special ska flavoured punksters around right now and as proven by Last Call, The Hostiles stand by their side.

Last Call is out now on Bubble Tea Records @ http://thehostiles.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/thehostiles/   http://www.thehostiles.co.uk/

Pete RingMaster 05/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright