Valentiine: Self Titled

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With the single Love Like having already teased and lit up our senses a few weeks back it is fair to say that anticipation for the debut album of Australian band Valentiine had a real hunger to it, especially after the unveiling of the brilliant new single Chucky in the past few days. The self-titled release has now stepped forward to not only live up to the suggestiveness of the pair of aural temptresses posing as singles but elevated the trio to one of the most thrilling and still richly promising bands to emerge this year. It is a predator of an album that toys with and manipulates the passions for a riotous and magnetic flame of bruising seduction.

Hailing from Melbourne, the threesome of Vanessa V (guitar/vocals), Erica E (bass/vocals), and Shelly K (drums/vocals) have a sound which is to simplify things a blend of garage rock and punk. Direct and emotively intrusive it also has a grunge seeded melodic fire which sears senses and thoughts whilst rhythmic badgering deviously diverts the attention. It is a sound which has a strong familiarity but equally lays a distinct hand on the passions directly bred from the band. Since forming Valentiine has not only left their homeland enamoured but persuaded fans across Europe and the UK with their powerful and contagious sounds. A successful 22 date European tour last year was followed by the band signing with UK independent, Integrity Records (Million Dead, Reuben, Katastrophy Wife), the two singles and now album a following potent step towards world domination one suspects.

Imagine a mix of The Breeders, Spinnerette, and Veruca Salt with a healthy snarl of L7 as well as a strong pop imagination, and you artworks-000050495136-39ybnn-t500x500get a strong impression of what Valentiine ignite the passions with. As mentioned it is a sound which has a welcoming familiarity but infuses it into their singular potent invention musically and lyrically. The songs hold narratives of everyday life and situations, honestly and often starkly presented with a dark mischievousness, and all veined with addiction causing hooks and infection sparking enterprise which is impossible to resist.

     Love Like opens up the encounter, the track an even paced roam through the ear with intimidation and steel to its riveting presence. Rhythmic sinews cage the senses as the guitar unleashes sonic fire, the combination gripping attention as the excellent and varied vocals of Vanessa V coax further with a mix of riled attitude and melodic seduction. It is an outstanding introduction to the album, a caustic caress seeded in fire borne intensity and a song that secures instant attraction, though it is soon surpassed by new single Chucky. Recounting the ladies own ‘morning after’ hangover blues in graphic detail, the track first teases with guitar and vocals before stomping into a fascination of bubble gum pop and shadow clad punk ‘n’ roll. It is ridiculously addictive; its easy yet perfectly honed enticement a blend of Green Day and The Shangri-Las which leads the listener into an insatiable dance of rhythmic temptation and pop punk wantonness.

Now into the stride of the release it begins to stretch out its darker tones and imaginative ingenuity, both Birthday and Finch opening new diversity to songwriting and sound. The first is a slow burner with the grunge growl of a Nirvana or Hole, its lingering and building intensity a dramatic smack across the senses, whilst the second tenderises with a sonic niggle and drum battering within restrained emotive incitement and sirenesque cheerleader like sultry harmonies. Both are again rich and drama clad musical treats though they do have to surrender to the even greater triumphs of firstly the smouldering When You Want, a track with a more than loud Pixies whisper to its inventive crawl, and secondly the venomous Hates Me. This track is pure L7 meets Puddle Of Mudd filtered through a malevolently spiced vat of spiteful punk, its bite dangerous but alluring with epidemic charm.

As the musicianship and imagination of the band conjures more insatiable devilment and virulent enticements it is impossible not to fall for the call of the album, though when it continues to offer such glories as the scintillating Never Forget You and its twisting metallic tentacles of guitar and bass entrapment, and the rapacious and brilliant Animal, submission was always a done deal.

As the variation and thrills keep coming with further major highlights coming from the Pixiesque Better For Me and the gnarly Kick It, the album stakes its claim as on of the most impressive releases this year. Every song leaves a lingering branding on the passions and thoughts whilst satisfaction and entertainment are delivered aural manner by the twelve, it has to be said, brilliant triumphs. Valentiine will be a major band, no doubts, and their debut album destined for the classic shelf.

http://www.valentiine.com/

10/10

RingMaster 22/06/2013

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Sparrow & The Workshop – Murderopolis

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Sparrow and the Workshop is one of those bands that music always needs, a temptation which is as beautiful as it is shadowed and as expansive as it is intimate. Previous albums, the debut Crystals Fall of 2010 and Spitting Daggers the following year, marked the Scottish band as melodic entrepreneurs of imaginative weaves fusing indie folk and rock pop, songwriters creating rich and emotive escapades soaked in aural colour and resourceful enterprise. The Glasgow trio return with third album Murderopolis, a release which explores their invention for greater and deeper adventure whilst sculpting a kaleidoscope of passion tingling elegance. It is a seduction of evocative textures and mesmeric caresses which quite simply is rather special!

The band consists of Jill O’Sullivan (vocals, guitar, violin), Gregor Donaldson (drums, vocals), and Nick Packer (bass guitar, electric slide guitar, basstard), a threesome which have not been strangers to acclaim certainly since their debut album. The name of Sparrow & The Workshop has equally been wrapped in hungry responses for their live performances which across the time has seen them play alongside the likes of Brian Jonestown Massacre, British Sea Power, Idlewild, Broken Records, Sivert Hoyem, The Lemonhead, Thee Oh Sees and more, as well as numerous festivals to great success. Released via independent label Song, by Toad Records, Murderopolis strolls through another potent plateau which matches the virulent seduction of previous album Spitting Daggers, whilst walking further diverse adventures.

The band arguably unleashes their greatest shadows at the start of the album, though those dark tints are always teasing the senses MurderopolisHiResand thoughts throughout the album musically and lyrically. Opener Valley of Death is a smouldering triumph, a track which instantly sets the release into the strongest wash of acclaim. Bold yet reserved beats and moody melodic provocation pokes the ear first, opening up attention for the as ever sirenesque tones of O’Sullivan. Her voice is one which seduces and caresses the senses but has a nip in its caress which allows darkness to play with the enchanted emotions already inspired. Like a sun in the skies of the dramatic she guides the listener into a warm soak of colour fuelled melodies and harmonies for the chorus, the track then returning to that provocative hypnotic enticement which started things off for the verses. Those dark and expressive leads have the same kind of wanton visual and emotive sway that marked the opening credits to eighties UK TV show Tales Of The Unexpected, a tempting yet menacing seduction. It is a powerful and riveting track, a song with a sixties call to its breath and vocals, which alone seem like a mix of Helen Shapiro, Kristin Hersh, Chantal Clare, and Debbie Harry.

From such a potent start the album retains its compelling grip with the following Darkness, another shadowed call for the passions which sows the seeds with an opening throaty bass beckoning and reined in male vocal chants. It is a slowly prowling encounter, the song walking with intent around thoughts with lone strands of melodic taunts riling up the appetite further. With a touch of The Passions to it the song widens its lure with the again excellent vocals of O’Sullivan before sealing the lustful deal with heated flames of soaring vocals and acidic mastery, crescendos which ignite the fullest appetite. Like the first, the track explores the depths of light and dark with breath-taking craft and imagination leaving an already awoken hunger for more seized by rabid urgency.

The album continues to show it is as diverse as it is absorbing, starting with the stunning Odessa, a song as different to the opening pair as it is a continuation of flawed light and emotional incitement. A melancholic mesh of vocal, keys, and dark strings gently wash through the ear at first before a strong pause makes way for an equally rich narrative of guitar and rhythms which turn up the heat a touch more. It is a vibrant passion sculpted song which haunts thoughts with classy enterprise and emotional exploration, its latent energy brewing up and exploring the limits of the impressive songwriting, its realisation becoming more intense and magnetic the further towards its fiery climax the band drive.

Through the likes of the first single from the album Shock Shock, a meeting of The Pixies and The Shangri-Las in a folk rock atmospheric haunting wrapped in a sonic senses courting ambience, and the tantalising Water Won’t Fall with its scenic paint and crystalline touch, the band raise new emotive adventures whilst the title track is a noir tinted flame of seventies spiced melodic rock and Wicker Man laced folk which transforms the landscape of the album into a new distinct dance of mystique.

Released the same day as the album, May 27th, new single The Faster You Spin sets another pinnacle for the album. Another song rippling with an almost predatory intent through heavier melodic rock feistiness, it conjures the strongest contagion with searing flames of sonic and melodic… well eroticism seems the best word to describe it, complete with an ardour inducing addictiveness to its suasion.

Further songs in the scintillating Avalanche of Lust with its wonderful bass itch and the deliciously incendiary Flower Bombs, a song with an array of bewitching infectious climaxes around slow post punk taunting ingenuity, push the boundaries of the album and listener’s greed yet again whilst the closing pair of The Glue That Binds Us and Autumn to Winter leave an irresistibly effective temptation to start the whole emotive course of triumph again.

Murderopolis is a scintillating release from a band which walks beauty and darkness like no other. If Sparrow and the Workshop have yet to guide you through your and their invigorating passions than this album is the perfect introduction.

www.sparrowandtheworkshop.co.uk

9/10

RingMaster 26/05/2013

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Sparrow & The Workshop: Shock Shock

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    2011 saw the release of Spitting Daggers, an impressive and enthralling album from Glasgow based band Sparrow & The Workshop which certainly for us triggered a lingering attraction to the imaginative indie folk sounds and invention of the trio. Now they have returned with new single Shock Shock and a new evolution of their already striking presence, the song as enthralling as anything they have produced before but with a deeper expanse and richness of ideas to fully capture the imagination.

Formed in 2008, the threesome of Jill O’Sullivan (vocals, guitar, violin), Gregor Donaldson (drums, vocals), and Nick Packer (bass guitar, electric slide guitar, basstard), soon were drawing critical acclaim with the release via Distiller Records of debut album Crystals Fall in 2010. The following Spitting Daggers elevated their reputation and recognition further with its engaging and evocative creativity whilst tours and performances alongside the likes of Brian Jonestown Massacre, British Sea Power, Idlewild, Broken Records, Sivert Hoyem, The Lemonhead, and Thee Oh Sees only further enhanced their status.

Released on Song, By Toad Records, Shock Shock is the fore taster of the third album from the band due later in the year and a compelling declaration of the new venture in sound the band is exploring. The single finds the band fusing their still vibrant folk enchantment with a feisty fuel of rock and haunting ambience. Within seconds the song offers a sinew and intensity new to previous releases though it is an evolution to their already impacting ideas and imagination which marked their previous album. From the start guitars paint an emotive fiery tapestry to wrap the melodic vocal caresses of O’Sullivan in, whilst the bass of Packer adds inciting yet inviting shadows with its throaty resonance. It is the atmospheric wash though which adds the final provocation for thoughts and senses, its passion courting sonic cloud a slightly abrasive yet golden voice to bring an additional delicious persuasion.

Inspiring loud whispers of The Pixies, Throwing Muses, and The Shangri-Las in many ways, Shock Shock is the perfect invitation and temptation to Sparrow & The Workshop and their upcoming album, a release which is sure to have much anticipation waiting for it after the single ends its own persuasion.

http://www.facebook.com/sparrowandtheworkshop

8/10

RingMaster 11/03/2013

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