Jack of None -Who Shot Bukowski

Having released one of the most fascinating albums of 2016, US trio experimental brother sister trio Jack of None offer up one of this year’s most compelling in its successor Who Shot Bukowski. Weaving a tapestry of art, alternative, post punk and electronic rock, to simplify their sound, the band infests ears and fingers the psyche across ten tracks of creative drama. It is a journey into the shadowy side of the human condition, an adventure into devious infectiousness, and increasing addiction to embrace with every manipulative listen.

Splitting themselves between Philippines capital Manila and Chicago, Jack of None consists of brothers A.G. (principal composer on guitar, bass and synths) and Julian Syjuco (guitar) alongside sister Maxine (poet-songwriter and vocalist). Last year their first album, Who’s Listening to Van Gogh’s Ear?, was greeted with widespread acclaim, going on to receive 3 nominations at the 15th Independent Music Awards including Best Album in its genre, though what that genre maybe is anyone’s guess such the eclectic nature of their imagination and sound. Who Shot Bukowski is destined to not only replicate its predecessor’s success but thrust the threesome towards thicker and richer attention with its irresistible theatre of contagious intrigue and bold enterprise.

Swiftly Who Shot Bukowski reveals that doughty adventure and imagination in opener Strangest Bedfellows, allowing the hints and seeds sown in the more industrial lined Who’s Listening to Van Gogh’s Ear? to blossom and flourish. The track glides in on a slow swing, guitar and rhythms teasing with tantalising bait around the seductive temptation of Maxine’s voice. Steelier grooves erupt as things get provocatively hazier and magnetically sinister but still the emotive affair between ear and song continues to have the thickest grip whilst sharing increasingly catchy and flirtatious lures along the way.

It is an outstanding start swiftly matched by the following pair of Sticks and Stones and X-Y-Sex. The first of the two merges industrial and psych rock with folk pop hues, its touch simultaneously grainy and warm as Maxine erotically touches the imagination with her tones. A Marilyn Manson like causticity breaks as the track bursts into a more volatile state but soon returning to that initial now increasingly jazz funk laced calm; a carousel which continues to turn across the song before its successor steals the show with its noir lit beauty and haunting contagion. The previous track reminded of US industrial electro rock outfit Scream Machine, this even more so but equally has something of eighties UK band The Passage to it too. Like a dream almost nightmarish in its Orwellian design as visual eroticism teases, the track is pure bewitchment leading the imagination on a flirtatious dance from start to finish.

Dear Georges (Vous Petit Monstre) is next, an even darker bête noire of emotion and thoughts with its entrancing charms and seductive shadows, all led by Maxine’s almost predatory melodic grace and the similarly disarming exploits of her brothers. It too carries flames of metallic toxicity through the raw torrents of guitar but is at its most fantastic with its deviously mellow caresses.

Lyrically every song is a story, a gothic poem of sorts which is as much an engineer of the imagination as their delivery and the sound cradling their revelations, The Brainwashers another fine example within its raw dance and invasive electronic machination. A uniquely beguiling hook offsets a slight repetition of earlier tracks in certain moments, a lining of dark sounds and insidious suggestion adding greater individuality to the encounter before Polyamorous Serial Monogamist writhes seductively in ears. Every melody and smouldering syllable is a physically swerving enticement only accentuated by the surge of guitar and keenly slapping beats, it all woven into a mesmeric incantation.

From the six seconds of Again, the excitable rock ‘n’ roll exploits of The Princess and the Pistol (Can You Feel That?) tenaciously romp with the senses, the track a restrained yet tempestuous incitement while next up Little Devil Girl provides its own suggestive haunting with almost visceral charm and beauty. It is an edge which grows with the subsequent surge of guitars and bass groan which emerges within the garage punk scented treat, the superb encounter never losing its composure but instilling lingering seeds of fear.

The album closes with Tenderly, She Said, a song which from a melodic kiss of acoustic guitar grumbles and smooches with the ever arresting presence of Maxine. Progressive in its tone, hungry in its diversity of texture and flavouring, the song grabs ears and imagination with sublime craft and ease, epitomising the album with its own inescapable alchemy.

Who Shot Bukowski simply captivated and thrilled from its first moment in speakers and ears, and indeed has only tightened its lure and grip ever since. This time around Jack of None would not be too misguided in hoping those previous nominations become awards.

Who Shot Bukowski is out now across most stores and @ https://jackofnone.bandcamp.com/album/who-shot-bukowski

http://www.jackofnone.net/    https://www.facebook.com/jackofnoneband/

Pete RingMaster 02/08/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

A Sky Jet Black: Japanese Moon

If the electronic/post punk sounds of the eighties still whisper in your ear or are a recent discovery for you younger retro investigators, then the excellent debut album from US band A Sky Jet Black will easily light some burning fires with their shaded glowing sounds. Japanese Moon like the band, is heavily influenced by new wave/post punk/gothic pop as well as according, to their bio, Berlin era Bowie/Eno/Pop, Phil Spector wall of sound girl bands and 8-bit. It is the post punk dark electro pop elements which firmly cores it all though as the songs weave their impressive charms, their breaths igniting thoughts and memories of numerous iconic British artists.

Formed in 2010 by Hope Iris and Karasene (both keys and vocals) alongside Tim-O (bassist, vocals, production), the band spent its first months honing and creating its sound before making their live debut at the infamous Monstrosity House at SXSW. The following years has seen the band in a hectic flurry of recording and touring, including supporting David J (Bauhaus, Love and Rockets). The Austin, Texas trio recorded the album alongside producer Mike McCarthy (Spoon, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead) and have created one vibrant and mesmeric feast of warm and crystalline soundscapes posing as songs.

The album opens with the eager pulsating Be My, a song bringing the melodic charms of The Cure and Felt through the shimmering vocals of Siouxsie Sioux. It energetically wraps itself around the ear with a firm grasp whilst inspiring memories and dazzled passions, the sounds alongside the vocals of Hope a graceful impactful pleasure. Wholly infectious and fully enchanting it is a hypnotic start to the album, its nostalgic presence a perfect union with the heart of today.

The following Honey has a harder presence, a steely post punk surface to the again instantly absorbing melodic touch. The vocals have a slight Ian Curtis air bringing a Joy Division/The Passage essence across the icy yet heated emotive sounds. Its successor Sunday holds a similar gait but from a glowing New Order aspect, its brisk emotion teasing the electro pop of The Pet Shop Boys, though as throughout the album, shadows add the strongest voice to the romantic noir heart of the song.

Already the varied structure and sounds of the songs impress and ensure the release is never predictable even with the re-energising of well preserved sounds. The band also shows a wonderful ability to evolve things into their own distinct world as with the cover of The Stone Roses song, I Wanna Be Adored. Admittedly not a fan of its creators anyway, the song emerges as easily the better version from A Sky Jet Black, its sensuality and throaty bass veining the astounding contagion to leave one breathless.

As the seductive title track with its oriental kiss and cold beauty of Siouxsie & The Banshees/The Creatures, the kinetic Heart On Your Sleeve, and the brooding Out To Sea captivate thought and imagination, there is nothing but deep pleasure within. The second of the three songs especially hits the sweet spot with its early Human League like beginning and evolution into another New Order spiced piece of addiction, though the third with its Cocteau Twins/Chameleons teasing is equally powerful and deeply reaching.

The final piece of post punk sonic glory So Far Away, closes up what is a wonderful and enthralling album in Japanese Moon. With an album of beauty and darkness brought with provocative and exciting passion, A Sky Jet Black has taken us back in time but indie electro forward. It is majestic and an essential experience all should spare their hearts and time for.

https://www.facebook.com/askyjetblack

RingMaster 14/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Goodbye, Labrador – A Thousand Times Before

If you are looking for a stirring and heated soundtrack for your summer days than A Thousand Times Before from Goodbye, Labrador is easily one of the best candidates. The six track EP is a stunning voice for hazy days and heated emotions with its dreamy and infectious immersive sounds the perfect backdrop to emotive and passionate endeavours.

     Goodbye, Labrador formed in 2008 and finds its members based in Barcelona, Brooklyn, and Prague. 2010 saw their self titled debut EP pull in enthused attention as the members came together for shows in Portugal supporting Ölga and its recording. Now the quartet of Martin Pípal (guitar, vocals), Phil Gold (guitar, percussion, vocals), Gonçalo Hipolito Martins (bass, vocals), and J. M. Silverman (drums, percussion), return with their second release through Dead Fisherman Records to once more place their masterful touch upon the senses. As with their first EP the band upon A Thousand Times Before create dream state borne sounds steeped in eighties post punk invention and nineties art rock imagination. Recorded with Eduardo Ricciardi at Golden Pony Studio in Lisbon, the release is a delicious palette of melodic imagination and emotional caresses brought with stirring energies and sleepy calm.

     Goodbye, Labrador open up the EP with the golden toned Intrepid. The first notable thing is the striking bass sounds of Martins and their captivating presence as they explore and expand the shadowed corners of the light bursting from each and every song. Alongside the beguiling guitar play they create a balance which steers the majestic flow of the songs deeper and with stronger contagion aided by the wonderful duality of the vocal attack. The male and females voices sweep the lyrics through the ear on whispers and rays of warmth for the fullest pleasure and it is hard to think of another band recently able to find the consistent heights in this vocal craft as Goodbye, Labrador do. As mentioned the band find influences in the heights of the eighties and as the EP plays the likes of House Of Love and Felt easily slip in to view as comparisons.

Sirens takes over next and easily emerges as the best song on the release. It immediately lures full attention as the bass paves the way with its heart exciting tones whilst the song is soon lighting up the atmosphere with imagination and spiralling melodic enterprise. There is a great discordant feel to the track too especially through the explosive guitar manipulations and energy which reminds again of Felt but also others like The Passage and Birdland with its rawer surface. With a fiery climax to crumble before, the song is simply outstanding and alone ensures the band is one to always keep an eager eye on.

The likes of Falling Away and Embrace The Stranger continue the growing affection inside with their well crafted sounds and shapes. The first of the pair is an easy to consume continuation with dwells on the plateau built from the starter whilst the second with a slight Pixies air to its bewitching presence ventures into further cascades of sonic beauty and incendiary discord lined aural explosions. All of this drama and stirring wonder comes within that dreamy magnetism, the expertise of the band to merge both so fluidly and contagiously deeply impressive.

The excellent Silence Of Me and the emotive Memoir complete the line-up of excellence just as enjoyably as what came before. As the former of the two weaves its startling melodic prowess one realises the band is finding the levels of melodic infection in their emotive hooks as those which made the likes of Echo & The Bunnymen and Wah! so essential.

If there is one slight criticism for the release it is the similarity across the surface of songs which makes it easy without retaining an element of focus to find the songs merging. Of course given firmer attention the songs without fail unveil a wealth of diversity and invention which is undeniable. A Thousand Times Before is a gem of a release which makes one hope Goodbye, Labrador get together often and bring much more of their outstanding creativity and sounds to our ears.

RingMaster 05/08/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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