Steaming Satellites – Self Titled

Steaming Satellites_RingMaster Review

Steaming Satellites is an Austrian band that for the past ten years has been a major lure and adventure in their country’s music scene, underground and within stronger spotlights. The fact that it has taken their new and third album to find, like for so many others, our attention shows how little of the vast music world anyone has a hold on at any given time. We can only be thankful that the Salzburg band’s new self-titled release has found its way through to thrill ears and ignite the imagination though because it is simply bewitching.

Consisting of Max Borchardt (vocals/guitar), Emanuel Krimplstätter (keys/bass), Matthäus Weber (drums, programming, keys), and the recently joined Manfred Mader (bass), Steaming Satellites casts a sound bred from indie rock but welcoming to an array of flavours from blues, funk, soul, and electronic enterprise. Their previous pair of albums were strongly acclaimed propositions whilst live, with shows alongside bands such as Thin Lizzy, The Ravonettes, and Portugal. The Man amongst a great many, the band has earned a potent reputation for sound and performance. Now it is the turn of album three to stir things up and as for the umpteenth time the release lights our ears and revitalises emotions, the thought of Steaming Satellites becoming a ‘household’ name across numerous territories seems a thick possibility.

It opens with Together and a caress of acoustic guitar; a gentle coaxing aided by the immediately enticing and expressive tones of Borchardt. Soon stringed tempting wraps around ears and in turn a dark moody bassline strolls through the emerging colourful and creative landscape of the song. As keys jab and harmonies unite, the song blossoms into an infectious romance for the imagination and a swiftly open appetite for the release. As catchiness and shadow kissed drama similarly grows within the fascinating proposal, feet and hips become eager whilst thoughts only greedily consume the impressive entrance of the album.

cover_RingMaster Review   Its indie rock swing is emulated in the following Rocket, though electro tempting is the first bait to engage ears to lead them into the military funk of the rhythms and the fiery dance of the guitar. Its air becomes a sultry breath at certain points, always returning to its lively endeavour though as varied spices burst from the festive heart of the track, again with feet and voice in eager involvement. Like The Flaming Lips trying on the psych rock of The Doors and the creative intimacy of Billy Momo, the song excites before departing, leaving lingering trails behind it though the fuzzy revelry of Unreal soon has attention all to itself thanks to jangly hooks and a deliciously roaming, slightly grouchy bassline which toys with the melodic radiance of the keys and harmonies. At its heart, the track is a funk bred romp but as already shown, Steaming Satellites never leave anything to settle into predictability, always keeping invention and surprises potently shimmering.

Both Honey and Restless Robot keep pleasure high and enterprise blooming, the first with its tangy Arctic Monkeys/Kings of Leon shuffle within a flirtatious smile and the second through a rhythmically dark and sonically sultry Portugal. The Man meets Futureheads tango. There are many other slithers of spice bringing a whisper of varied bands to the song, and album, but in the hands of Steaming Satellites all get turned inside out and honed into something unique and as here forcibly captivating.

Door is a heavier emotive croon which, without matching the successes before it, enthrals with its evocative textures and instinctive bounce aligning perfectly with the song’s moodier atmosphere and vocal heart whilst Circles slips into a bluesy Black Keys-esque character with stomping riffs, crisp rhythms, and spicy grooving. It too pleases without tapping up the lustier reactions found by earlier songs and definitely ignited by the outstanding Unfold straight after. The track is pure magnetism, a resourceful serenade of intimate vocals and emotive smouldering which just gets bigger and more persuasively spellbinding with every passing chord and melodic spice. It is as much an anthem as any raucous sing-a-long rocker, a compelling contagion of sixties keys, seventies melodic drama, and indie imagination.

Through the raunchier funk ‘n’ roll of Back And Forth, the feisty post punk meets indie/electro rock of Phone, and the dark White Stripes rock ‘n’ roll of Fill The Cup, album and listener continue to be fully involved in each other whilst Secret Desire employs a more restrained stride and melodic haze to its crystalline sparkle of keys and guitar to further engage the imagination. Tempered by the earthier tones of the bass and the grounded delivery of Borchardt, the track is the perfect blend of dark and light; maybe a slower burn on the passions than other treats within the album but another leaving long term hooks in its wake.

The album is completed by Move On, a gorgeous slice of lively balladry cored by ever impressing vocals and coloured by a virulent and imaginative tapestry of melodic and sonic colour. The track is a tremendous end to an outstanding release, an encounter which gets more commanding with every listen. It is hard to imagine Steaming Satellites being a relative secret from now on, but then as we said music is so big that the ease with which one can miss things is inescapable. Our suggestion is that band and album, is not another you allow to pass you by though.

The Steaming Satellites album is out from October 30th

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Pete Ringmaster 29/10/2015

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Sport of Kings – Logic House EP

Released the tail end of 2011 The Logic House EP from Sport Of Kings is an unassuming release that captivates without truly leaving a lasting impression. Maybe not strictly true as at times melodies of lead track ‘Free Jazz’ can make unannounced appearances in the head though not always with the recognition of their source. The EP is a release that whilst it graces and pleases the ear with its subdued energy and expressive melodies it leaves little lingering taste to tease one to return to it as often as maybe it deserves.

The Brooklyn, New York based band in many ways began when songwriter /guitarist Richard Kelly moved to Brooklyn from Dublin. In Ireland he was part of the acclaimed Capratone who found some success with an EP and album in their homeland. Taking a break from music Kelly set up in Brooklyn ‘Scientific Laboratories Music Studios’ which has attracted the likes of Yeasayer, The Ravonettes and Au Revoir Simone to make use of its facilities. He returned to playing his songs in a four piece indie band with bassist Ben Haberland, from which the departure of their guitarist led to the band taking the decision of replacing him with a keyboard player ,which they found in Matt Beckemeyer, and deciding the specific instrument had to be a Fender Rhodes electric piano. This move reflected their love of Steely Dan and the smooth rock of the 70’s of which this instrument played a major part. The choice led the band aside rather than away from the indie rock sound they were playing into a new direction as they fused their own music with this gentler 70’s flavoured rock sound. The band then proceeded to add a three piece horn section of trombone player Mac Walton, his brother tenor sax player Jas Walton, and trumpeter Billy Aukstik, and in addition to that recruit NYU Jazz School prodigy and Body Language drummer Ian Chang and Chris Hembree on Moog, the band unveiling itself in 2010 to much feverish acclaim.

Free Jazz’ opens the release with an almost self indulgent fanfare which can be forgiven with the engaging easy flowing joyful sound that follow. With a laidback confidence the track sways and washes over the ear with gentle tones and a summery warmth. The track is actually quite visual or inspiring of them, a stroll along a sun kissed river side or a caress in the departing dusk of a summer’s day filling thoughts. The track is quite lively despite the imagery expressed with the brass lifting the track in a pleasant blend with the smoother less urgent sounds. They have captured the Steely Dan type feel perfectly but still kept it as their own song.

1964’ follows with a slightly more robust intent, though again it saunters with the mellow undemanding flow of the band with a smile on its face. As with the first track, though the songs are well crafted endearing tunes it is the horns that spring board them to an elevated height that engages the senses fully. Kelly’s guitar features more strongly here but stays as part of the overall song rather than leading as in most bands. Haberland’s bass is a vibrant feature throughout the release and adds the bite alongside drummer Chang the songs need.

Preface’ and ‘Some Histories’, apart from a summer single mix of the opener, complete the EP. Both are less urgent pleasant tracks that please whilst playing but despite again their great craft do not ignite beyond the instant. To be fair this will vary in personal taste from person to person and one can easily see these being favourites for others, especially with again a lovely blend of brass and emotive almost reserved flow from the rest of the band and Kelly’s vocals. In some ways the two tracks remind of latter XTC, around the time of Skylarking to Nonsuch and that can never be a bad thing.

If you are looking for pulse racing sounds then Logic House is not for you but anyone with a love of modest but generous songs and melodies will find much enjoyment from Sport of Kings’ debut.

RingMaster 12/01/2012

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