Wheel – The Divide EP

Pic by Jonna Ohrnberg

With time seemingly at a premium in all aspects of life, especially free time to do as one wishes it is far too easy to be acquainted with bands and artists in name and reputation but not through the real attention they quite possibly deserve. Finnish progressive rockers Wheel is such an outfit with us. The release of The Path EP last year sparked potent acclaim for the 2015 founded band; praise that reached us here even though its sounds evaded close focus. We have not made the same mistake this time around though with its successor, The Divide EP a collection of tracks which roar and seduce with craft and enterprise whilst enthralling the imagination in their complexities, intricacies, and emotive landscapes.

Helsinki based, Wheel weave a sound which is as familiar as it is fresh and bold. It is easy to suggest comparisons to bands such as Karnivool, The Pineapple Thief, and Tool though none are an exact match or true clue to the powerful sound within the release. There is a touch of all in its tracks but each swiftly proven individual to Wheel with the outstanding voice of English vocalist James Lascelles at their heart.

Produced and mixed by Jesse Vainio (Apocalyptica, Poets Of The Fall, Sunrise Avenue), The Divide opens with Please. Immediately the dark growl of Mikko Määttä’s bass entices ears and attention, the crispy beats of Santeri Saksala enticing alongside. The pair is soon joined by the flavoursome lures of the guitars, a mix settling into a suggestive stroll as Lascelles tones step forward. There is a slight Bush like scent to the song at this point, its tempting tendrils and intimation a flirtation easy to grab with hunger. Lead guitarist Roni Seppänen weaves a web of adventure and craft as the track grows, Lascelles backing him with string and voice as the tempestuous heart of the song erupts with increasing rigour. As suggested earlier, there is something recognisable about the song yet every twist is unexpected and each of its emerging textures and turns a spark for the imagination.

Powerful in tone and voice and coming in two versions on the EP, radio edit and extended cut, the track is an easy pleasure to devour and pretty much matched in strength and adventure by Pyre. It is aflame from the off, rhythms and guitar colluding in a tenacious proposal as muscle and enterprise unite in persuasive voracity, vocals equally blazing alongside. As in the previous track there is a grunge bred lining which adds to its richness and magnetic layers. Similarly there are also the expected detours and twists, all fluid and imaginative as the track continues to melodically holler and emotively croon over instinctive volatility.

Completing the line-up of songs is It’s Over Now, a compelling ballad aligning melancholic strings and Lascelles’ similarly magnetic vocals to the melodic poetry of the guitars. Compared to their dynamic shaping of the other tracks, rhythms provide a calm almost reserved presence but one just as suggestive in their shadowed touch.

If like us Wheel has yet to make it upon the radar we can only suggest, indeed urge The Divide EP is given keen attention, the rewards as the pleasure are quite addictive.

The Divide EP is out now via Umbrella Productions / Warner ADA.

http://www.wheel.band/   https://www.facebook.com/wheelband/

Pete RingMaster 05/06/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Sweet Gum Tree – Sustain The Illusion

With the single, The Gift, still ringing entrancingly in ears we thought we should catch up with the album it comes from and lures attention to. Sustain The Illusion is the second album from Sweet Gum Tree, the solo project of French singer songwriter/musician Arno Sojo and a release which simply captivates from start to finish with melodic beauty and emotively provocative exploration.

After the collaborative creation of its acclaimed predecessor three years ago, The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame, a release featuring among a few Isobel Campbell of Belle & Sebastian, Earl Harvin from the Tindersticks, and The Church’s Marty Willson-Piper, Sojo has created and recorded Sustain The Illusion pretty much on his own with producer David Odlum and musicians Romy and Lise Douylliez adding the only additional contributions. The result is a release which manages to feel even more intimate than its heart bred predecessor while embracing a richer texture and array of sound and enterprise.

Sustain The Illusion opens with the atmospheric Breaking The Bond, electronic beats leading in the inviting melodic coaxing of a lone guitar as colder winds whistle around them. Sojo’s tones soon join the blossoming reflection, the emotion of his voice and words stirring greater intensity in the suggestive sounds. It is energy though which sublimely ebbs and flows as the instinctive beauty of his music seduces the senses, at times with melancholic elegance.

The following Twinkle has a livelier gait, its electronic shimmer and melodic rock guitar stroll as transfixing as the rhythmic dance and vocal adventure within them. As the track gently explodes around ears and imagination certain essences remind of bands such as Slug Comparison and Sigur Rós before Someday hugs thoughts with its confidential emotions and sonic tension. As the song before, it is seriously mesmeric, deeply immersing the listener in its raw heart and emotional drama further expressed through the impressing tones of Sojo.

The infectious swing of Rollercoaster firmly entices next, its boisterous energies and enterprise pure magnetism infesting body and spirit. It is pop infused rock at its best and quite bewitching as too is successor Fairweather Faith, a folk spiced croon with the most delicious melody and a compelling XTC like air. It is an exquisitely layered seduction graced by worldly spices which absorbs attention and ardour like a sponge.

An earthy bass opens up Stars Align, its flirtatious nature matched in vocal and melody as the song evolves into a Nine Inch Nails meets The The like treat. Its eventful minimalistic air and Sojo’s vocal prowess alone stokes pure pleasure which angelic harmonies and an array of sounds and imaginative twists simply accentuates in the album’s best track.

The equally outstanding Guilt Trip similarly has something of Matt Johnson’s band to it, a touch of The Pineapple Thief too as its mix of eighties synth pop and post punk nurtured rock captivates with increasing dexterity. It is another beacon of songwriting and craft within the album taken to a greater plateau by Sojo’s passion and energy.

As the calmer but darker emotional waters of Clean Slate and Burn Your Icons, a track merging Cure-esque rhythms and shadows with jazzier progressive rock adventure, surround ears on the way to seducing the psyche Sustain The Illusion only strengthens its hold, squeezing tighter with recent single The Gift. The track caresses the senses with its golden melodic romance, its heart similarly graceful and reassuring to subdue the shadows which skirt but never threaten its hope fuelled beauty. It is fair to say that the song has been a powerful draw for a great many into Sustain The Illusion and for newcomers into the creative realm of Sweet Gum Tree, and even after a flood of plays seduces as powerfully as ever.

The album closes with the reassuring lullaby of Keeper, a safety clad hug which encapsulates everything masterfully charismatic and fascinating about not only the album but Sojo’s songwriting and talent. So we suggest you do yourself a big favour and check out Sustain The Illusion and Sweet Gum Tree now!

Sustain The Illusion is out now @ https://sweetgumtree.bandcamp.com/

http://sweetgumtree.tv    http://facebook.com/sweetgumtree    http://twitter.com/SweetGumTree

Pete RingMaster 03/10/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Sweet Gum Tree – The Gift

To reinforce the already successful release and temptation of latest album Sustain The Illusion, French project Sweet Gum Tree have another magnetic slice of melodic seduction poised in the shape of new single The Gift. We first became captivated by Sweet Gum Tree through debut album The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame three years ago and the latest offering and other tracks heard since then shows that the qualities and potential of that impressive introduction have grown and blossomed.

Sweet Gum Tree is the creation and solo project of songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Arno Sojo, a musician who has been part of various rock and electro bands over the past fifteen years including another of his creations in Sojo Glider. The first album saw Sojo draw on the talent of guests such as Isobel Campbell, Tindersticks drummer Earl Harvin, and Marty Willson-Piper from The Church. With Sustain The Illusion, he has recorded everything on his own with only Irish producer David Odlum who also worked on The Snakes You Charm & The Wolves You Tame helping out.

Within its melodic beauty that first album was a heart of melancholic elegance, an enticing blend which is just as ripe within The Gift. Its gentle caress of melody instantly has attention alert, guitars weaving a disarming proposal backed by the emotive tones of Sojo. A catchy air is just as swiftly invasive, luring ears within the low key but vibrant stroll of the song where every passing second seems to welcome a fresh ingredient of enterprise; strings and keys two elements rising up to add colour and depth to the heart sharing proposal.

The Gift is a serenade for the imagination, a shadowed but open kiss for the ear much as many of the tracks within that first album alone but with a new richness in enterprise and songwriting which can only see Sweet Gum Tree become the centre of bigger spotlights. It is not a lone offering within Sustain The Illusion though as songs like Guilt Trip and Twinkle show. The first of the two is a compelling mix of eighties synth pop and post punk nurtured rock playing like a fusion of The The and The Pineapple Thief while the second, again merging electronic minimalism with melodic rock tenacity, simply rouses the senses like a fusion of Slug Comparison, XTC, and Sigur Rós; both outstanding tracks though emerging unique to Sweet Gum Tree.

All songs are must check out proposals with The Gift, for ears, more than living up to its title.

The Gift is available to download from September 15th with Sustain The Illusion out now across most online stores.

http://sweetgumtree.tv   http://facebook.com/sweetgumtree   http://twitter.com/SweetGumTree

Pete RingMaster 12/09/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Pineapple Thief – Magnolia

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     Magnolia is a melodic serenade, an album which across its immersive seduction is equally unafraid to roar and show a creative and sonic muscle. The new full-length form UK rock band The Pineapple Thief, it is an absorbing proposition, maybe not one to set the passions ablaze but certainly an encounter gripping ears and imagination in a riveting embrace.

The Pineapple Thief began in 1999, formed by vocalist/guitarist Bruce Soord as initially an ‘experimental bedroom project’. It has proceeded to be an attention grabbing band earning acclaim and success across its thought inspiring journey and releases, Magnolia their tenth album. The successor to the acclaimed Someone Here Is Missing and All The Wars of 2010 and 2012 respectively, the new release feels like the offspring of all the influences and essences of the band’s previous exploits; dreamy, progressive textures and enterprise combining to evolve into new bracing pop infused rock adventures. As mentioned, the Kscope released album might not ignite a lustful ardour but with ease it makes for one of the most vivaciously captivating propositions this year, managing to really bring the band’s renowned live power and intensity into a release for arguably the first time.

As soon as the jangling touch of opener Simple As That hits ears, band and album are in control of attention with the swiftly following vocals of Soord even more coaxing through their mellow tone. It is a gentle caress initially, Soord’s guitar as gentle as his voice before the dramatically impacting and thrilling eruption which follows turns the track on its head. It is a glorious and contagious expulsion of riffs and crisp rhythms released by Soord and Dan Osborne respectively, an intensive flame of energy and emotion with the vocals a mesmeric lure. It is hard to avoid suggesting a Muse comparison, but with the richly enticing bait of Jon Sykes’ bass adding to the subsequently sultry and pleasingly imposing stance of the track, there is a uniqueness which belongs to The Pineapple Thief. Anthemic and gripping, it is an impressive start to the album matched immediately by Alone at Sea. Entering on a bubbly hug of keys from Steve Kitch, the song flirts with ears and thoughts through suggestive melodies and the vocal prowess of Soord. The track proceeds to weave and entwine around the senses with a provocative weave of melodies and harmonies, a shoegaze breath at times kissing the narrative, but also stirring them up with sinew sculpted flames of heavier rock endeavour. As with many tracks there is a familiarity to the fascinating canvas but only adding to the infectious bait and addictive enticement.

Neither Don’t Tell Me nor the title track quite touches the plateaus of the first pair but both cast engaging and impressively compelling persuasions. The first is an emotive shuffle of rhythms and acoustic chords under a warm yet cloudy TPT Magnolia cover artexpanse of keys. This is coloured with a riveting orchestral expression which as across the album is arranged by Andrew Skeet, and a rawer incitement of guitar, whilst the second of the pair soars through another sky of orchestral beauty into an emotive climate of smouldering passion and bewitching elegance. As said they do not quite match their predecessors, but forcibly leave appetite and feelings greedy for more with their enthralling enterprise and skilled composition.

The slow Coldplay like balladry of Seasons Past is a tantalising flame of vocals and provocative melodies which seduces thoughts if not emotions to the same success, already personal greed for the more forceful elements of the album steering reactions, as also found by Coming Home. Despite that though, there is no escaping the incendiary beauty and orchestrated radiance of the strings in both tracks and the dramatic intensity and adventure of the second of the two. Vocally too there is no defence from the potent lure of Soord’s voice and the supporting harmonies of Sykes, their individual and united contributions as poetically inciting as the sounds around them.

The tenacious twang of guitar, matched by a similar bass riff, through the heart of The One You Left to Die instantly grips ears and appetite, the track going on to bind an immersive web of intrigue and melodic intimacy around its thrilling spine. It is a hypnotic flight of invention which sets up the senses for the rowdy roar of Breathe perfectly. That mighty expulsion setting the song off though it is soon awash with crystalline melodies and floating vocals before merging its peace into the original rugged and explosive bellow of sound and energy. The track is like a blend of House of Love, Doves, and Feeder, and another pinnacle of the album.

The stringed and emotionally shadowed From Me comes next, its dark charm engrossing before making way for the outstanding Sense of Fear. Guitars lay an irresistible web of jagged riffs to capture the imagination before aligning them with jabbing beats and a climactic embrace of keys and fiery melodies. It is only a moment in the shifting scenery of the song though, a slow provocative vocal caress aided by glances of keys bringing a dulled yet tantalising breath before a sturdy stride of intensive sonic flames and rhythmic bait have their potent say. It is a scintillating encounter which brings the stage presence of the band closer to the comfort of the home.

Magnolia closes with first up the graceful flight of A Loneliness and lastly the bordering on sinister noir wrapped elegance of Bond. The former is a strong and satisfying offering but between the previous track and the cinematic brilliance of the final song it is unable to leap out of their shadow and soon forgotten against the magnificent weighty body and emotional colouring of its successor. Both songs ensure the album ends on a high though, The Pineapple Thief never relinquishing its hold on ears and imagination across its aural and creative fascination, emerging as quite simply a must investigate proposal.

Magnolia is available now via Kscope @ https://www.burningshed.com/store/kscope/collection/284/

http://www.pineapplethief.com

16/09/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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