The Imaginary Hat – Age of Anxiety

Photo by Beth Eloise Fraser

Hailing from England’s capital, The Imaginary Hat creates a sound self-penned as 1920s Punk Rock. As much as your imagination might work with that tag it will only guess at the rich mix of flavours making up the band’s music and new EP Age of Anxiety. Alongside their fusion of rock, punk and 20’s inspired jazz you can find essences of rockabilly, swing, folk and more. It makes for a proposition and new release which is unpredictable, mischievous, and seriously appetising.

The London based outfit formed in 2014 and swiftly earned a potent, attention luring reputation for their music and live presence across the capital and beyond. This year has seen the band emerge with a new and expanded line-up and now second EP, Age of Anxiety, the successor to their well-received debut, Ladies And Gentlemen Kindly Remove Your Hats released this past January.

The spirited rhythms of drummer Phil Joyce kick EP opener Pretty Little Features into life, their increasingly tenacious antics luring ears, appetite, and the guitar jangle of Luke Fraser. Swiftly his vocals also jump in, the track bouncing round with its fifties rock ‘n’ roll scented jazz punk. With a touch of eighties band The Stargazers to it and also the jump blues hues of a Louis Jordan, the song leaps and swings, successfully insisting on the same from the listener. Punk riffs taunt throughout as the flames of Nick Smith’s Trombone unite with the sax of Oscar Ives-Owen; each adding to the virulent contagion of an outstanding start to the release.

A trombone sigh brings up the following Tick Tick Tick, its enticement soon joined by the boisterous stroll of Sam Dimond’s magnetic bass. Vocals again simply entice as they dance devilishly within the similarly insistent sounds around them, enterprise which becomes more bedlamic and frantic by the second but with reins which hauls the chaos back into a just as addictive imaginative canter. You can call the track whatever style you wish but at its heart it is punk rock and relishing its anarchy.

Right Side is next, uncaging a thick dark grumble around another instinctively catchy lure of rhythms. It is infectiousness and swing echoed in Fraser’s vocals as the track prowls, as good as stalks ears and imagination. Bordering blues funereal in gait, salacious seduction in tone, the track physically smoulders as it sears itself into the memory, it too becoming more hellacious in tone and texture by the handful of seconds.

The Imaginary Hat is back in full bounce with Monkey Glands straight after, the track like a swing jazz equivalent of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers at their devilish while Until One Of Us Dies closes up the release with its dark seduction. Both tracks just hit the spot, the first a collusion of punk ’n’ roll fuelled flavours akin to Eighteen Nightmares at the Lux meets The Strangler Figs under the tutelage of Cab Calloway with its successor unleashing flames of jazz conjured rock with increasing rigour across a landscape as mercurial as it is dramatic.

Though into their fourth year, 2018 might be the moment The Imaginary Hat get crowded by much broader and eager attention. Their two EP’s this year, especially Age of Anxiety, give evidence that it is more than deserved.

Age of Anxiety is out now, available @ https://theimaginaryhat.bandcamp.com/music

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Pete RingMaster 17/07/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Gogo Loco – The GoGo Loco Twist EP

First the bad news, The Mobbs are no more. The UK band released some of the real treats we have had the pleasure to cover on the site and will be sorely missed. As with all things though there is a silver lining, in this case a trashy garage rock ‘n’ roll one as from the ashes of one great band rises another in the shape of Gogo Loco. Learning of one outfit’s demise through an email from drummer Cheadle and the introduction of another in his new project alongside fellow Mobb, vocalist/guitarist Joe B. Humbled, quick sadness was replaced by eager intrigue across a handful of lines; interest soon emerging as fresh lustful attention once the swinging throes of The GoGo Loco Twist EP infested ears.

Now reinventing their names as Cheadle GoGo and Joe Loco, the Northampton hailing duo have similarly evolved their sound. Certainly within the four songs making up their debut release there is a healthy Mobbs garage punk scent to things but one immersed in a new r&b and blues infused trash encrusted garage rock ‘n’ roll devilry. Something akin to a fusion of The Stargazers, Ronnie Cook & The Gaylads, and The Trashmen with that inimitable Mobbs touch, Gogo Loco provide something as distinct and as unique as you would wish.

It all begins with the EP’s title track. The GoGo Loco Twist needs mere seconds to have the body writhing and feet greedily shifting, its initial tendril of guitar winding around ears and burrowing under the skin before the swinging rhythms of Cheadle and the guest piano antics of Jon Martin, who also produced the EP, get involved. Like King Salami and The Cumberland 3 engulfed in the spirit of Chubby Checker after being infested with garage punk mischief, the song romps and stomps from start to finish inspiring the same in the listener. A virus to any rock ‘n’ roll dance floor, it pleasures and exhausts with glee.

There is no time to take a breath as the following Rattle Your Mind leaps on ears and body next, its crusty blues lining and fevered rock ‘n’ roll inescapable incitement driven by the energy and passion of its creators. As all tracks within the release, it is a short, sharp, and magnetic trespass manipulating body and spirit with ease; next up Go Loco proving the pointy as it insists the listener lives up to its title. Clunky yet fluid riffs welcome in infectious rhythms and in turn just as persuasive vocals, a mix again needing less than a handful of seconds to have the body bouncing.  Actually the song never quite bursts into the kind of frenzy its title suggests though its boisterousness increases by the chord but with a control which manages to forcibly increase the virulence in song and victim alike.

The closing Evil Woman is salacious rock ‘n roll with pouting hooks and rhythmic writhing, like a meeting between MFC Chicken and Sonny Burgess as imagined by Gogo Loco and far too easy and tasty to consume to be good for you. Like all tracks within The GoGo Loco Twist, there is a sense of being devilishly naughty and just a little dirty as you thrown yourself into its wonderful DIY temptation of sound and intent, but at the same time the feeling of not caring fuelling the fun.

Long live The Mobbs is a cry we will always offer up but alongside we roar Viva Gogo Loco as the potential of another new lust for us, and we expect a great many others, rises up.

The GoGo Loco Twist EP is out now and available as a free download @ https://gogoloco.bandcamp.com/album/the-gogo-loco-twist

http://www.gogoloco.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/gogolocouk/

Pete RingMaster 24/04/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

MFC Chicken – Goin’ Chicken Crazy

MFCC live-1_RingMasterReview

There is no escaping the itch in feet and anticipation in the hips at the news of a new offering from MFC Chicken. Past encounters with the swinging sounds of the London bred band have ensured such instinctive reactions and it is fair to say they are set for a rigorously enjoyable workout with the band’s new album. Goin’ Chicken Crazy is the fourth from a proposition formed on top of a dirty chicken shop on Holloway Road by Canadian export and tenor saxophonist/vocalist Spencer Evoy. Press releases suggest it is also the band’s greatest album to date and as a breathless body dives into the feverish mix of rhythm ‘n’ blues, surf, garage, and rock ‘n’ roll colluding for the band’s sound it is not easy to argue.

With a new expanded DELUXE line-up which made its acclaimed debut at the 2016 Hipsville Festival and sees Chuchi Malapersona (Oh! Gunquit) on baritone sax, Dan Criscuolo (The Fuzillis) on baritone guitar, and Tim Harrison (The Caezars) on piano alongside the core line-up of Evoy,  lead guitarist/vocalist Alberto Zioli, bassist Zig Criscuolo, and drummer Ravi-Low Beer, MFC Chicken leave no speck of dust on the dance-floor settled with Goin’ Chicken Crazy.

Also featuring veteran Chickens, The Reverend Parsley on guest keys and Fernando Terror on double lead vocals on Baby Let Me Bang Your Box, the album leaps upon ears with relish through opener Chicken In A Hurry. The kind of introduction which gets you hot and boisterous, the track is prime fillet MFC Chicken, a swinging carnival of fun washed by saucy flames of sax. Criscuolo’s bass adds a grumble which just caps it all off perfectly, setting up the album and the mischievous shenanigans of next up New Socks. A slice of fifties seeded rock ‘n’ roll, like Jerry Lee and Chubby in cahoots, the virulently infectious song is a flirtation of proudly acquired male hosiery again lit up by the fiery lure of Evoy’s sax.

Take It Or Lose It is a tenacious rumble upon the senses next with more twists than an exponent of the pole while Hooch Party is an intoxicating shuffle with beats alone making an irresistible incitement. The track is manna for the body, an invitation to swerve those hips and expend eager breath just as any party should be. Both tracks inflame the passions, a lustful response only concentrated further by the warm and fuzzy embrace of Big Cluckin’ Mistake where the sax again bewitches as keys and rhythms tempt in another fifties scented excitement.

mfc-chicken-goin-chicken-_RingMasterReviewcrazy-lp-cover-please-add-artwork-credit-chris-mooreFor all their irresistible goodness though, Women Who Jog steals the show with its metronomic athletic beats crossed by scything flames of brass. The track is glorious, Evoy declaring his lustful wants as keys add their courting with melodic elegance. The initial jog of the song breaks into feistier canters throughout, never dropping its hypnotic prowess and mischievous zeal.

The smouldering balladry of I Ain’t Crying (That’s Just Pomade In My Eyes) allows a moment to calm down and lose oneself in its bluesy lament before energies are back in top gear for Baby Let Me Bang Your Box. Jazzy and melodically frisky, the song is bred in the same heart as a Fats Domino or Big Joe Turner offering and just as magnetic with its lively character and intent.

The boozy sax sighs of Blackout Drunk helps create another ear enslaving escapade within Goin’ Chicken Crazy while the simple but ridiculously addictive textures of Roast Potato Time has body and imagination licking their proverbial lips at its flavoursome feed. Both tracks simply keep album and listener eagerly entangled, a union more than strengthened by the horny blaze of the album’s title track and the buoyant antics of Beach Party, a song which is maybe too close a relation to the Danny & The Juniors classic than it should be but quite irresistible.

Completed by the incessant beat driven festivities of Losing My Mind, a song further lit up by the woozy devilry of keys, and the closing feverish frolic of Working Girlfriend which reminds of The Stargazers if for no obvious reason, Goin’ Chicken Crazy is pure inescapable incitement for body and soul.

Each of their previous encounters have sparked a lusty appetite with us but to confirm that thought at the beginning, Goin’ Chicken Crazy is the finest juiciest meal of MFC Chicken yet.

Goin’ Chicken Crazy is released November 4th via Dirty Water Records and available @ https://mfcchicken.bandcamp.com/album/goin-chicken-crazy and through http://www.dirtywaterrecords.co.uk/shop/#!/~/category/id=2990295&offset=0&sort=normal

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Pete RingMaster 04/11/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Elfish Presleys – Santa Was a Rockin’ / Will Santa Come Down the Chimney

artwork_RingMaster Review

It is December and we all know what that means, the assault of the Xmas single; something notably worse than that obscenely patterned sweater your Gran knitted or the curry kit your partner brought you when misunderstanding the request for something hot and spicy. It is an element of the festive season the world will forever have to endure but at times there is a glimmer of hope, a once in a blue moon unveiling of something to get lustful over. This year it all starts with such a treat courtesy of The Elfish Presleys and the double A-sided single Santa Was a Rockin’ / Will Santa Come Down the Chimney.

Norm_RingMaster Review   The release comes from Norm Elliott of Norm and the Nightmarez fame, who has only just released the outstanding single, She under his own name. Now he gets all festive on us through a download only single released via the great UK label Western Star and thankfully shows bad taste and songwriting does not have to be part of Christmas.

Santa Was a Rockin’ instantly has ears and feet leaping within its fifties seeded rock n’ roll stroll and spicy melodic temptation. With the pulsating upright bass aligning with crisp beats as Norm’s guitar spins an infectious web of smiling enterprise, the track proceeds to have hips swaying and skirts swirling with its energetic shuffle. It is the perfect party track, an incitement to see halls and front rooms a blur of movement with its The Stargazers (eighties band) meets Big Bopper festivity.

Accompanying it, Will Santa Come Down the Chimney offers a more relaxed and sultry atmosphere under a noir lit sky as surf laced guitar and mellow flames of sax wrap the croon’s emotive lyrical heart. There is a touch of Bobby Rydell and Reverend Horton Heat to the song but spicing to something as ever, and shown throughout his career to date, distinctive to Norm Elliott in sound, voice, and mischievous composing.

Certainly an abhorrence of Christmas ditties will continue with us but we are ready to make exceptions when it is something special, and Santa Was a Rockin’ / Will Santa Come Down the Chimney is certainly that. Having a party? Then you really need this to get it off with a big swing.

Santa Was a Rockin’ / Will Santa Come Down the Chimney is available now via Western Star as a download only release @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Santa-Was–Rockin-Elfish-Presleys/dp/B017BHBTG8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1446460104&sr=8-4&keywords=the+elfish+presleys

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Pete RingMaster 03/12/2015

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MFC Chicken – M.F.C. Chicken Time!

Pics: Lorenzo Pascual /Dena Flows

Pics: Lorenzo Pascual /Dena Flows

Determined to once again twist hips and bodies into shapes and directions never meant to be, MFC Chicken once more get virulently riotous with third album M.F.C. Chicken Time! It is another bundle of their inimitable fifties bred stomp of rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm ’n’ blues, and more of the delicious revelry which marked the band’s previous pair of acclaimed albums. Theirs is a sound which has discovered its perfect recipe but conjures new tasty delights from the same irresistible ingredients. It is aural fast-food pleasure to get greedy over but as the new encounter proves, using familiar spices does not have to lead to predictability or the absence of ingenuity.

MFC Chicken began six years ago with Spencer Evoy, a Canadian musician relocating to London, finding like-minded spirits a top a dirty Holloway Road chicken shack, and giving birth to a garage rock ’n’ roll band quickly earning themselves a potent reputation live and through 2012 debut album Music for Chicken. Released as subsequent propositions through the mighty Dirty Water Records, its success was eclipsed two years later by Solid Gravy, the band’s second album reinforcing and escalating their sound and following, backed as ever by a live hunger seeing the band seemingly everywhere. Earlier this year a richly flavoursome appetiser in the shape of the (Get Outta The) DJ Booth and Lake Bears! singles whetted the appetite for more of the MFC Chicken spiced poultry themed devilry; a wanting more than wholesomely fed by M.F.C. Chicken Time!

MFC Chicken Time LP Sleeve_RingMaster ReviewStudy Hall gets things rocking first, the rhythms of Ravi setting tempo and intent as the vocals of Spencer Evoy join the swinging gait of Zig Criscuolo’s bass and the mischievous guitar of Alberto Zioli. Soon Evoy’s sax is afoot with the festivity, leaping over the sonic strands and infectious rhythms. As if it was needed, the opener confirms that the MFC Chicken sound, and subsequently album, is something to rigorously dance to; exhaustion and pleasure the prime results.

The following Gross People spins a sixties hued adventure with the great tang of keys flirting from within the hazily infectious air of the song. Across the album keys are provided by either Angus McPake or Reverend Parsley, a flavoursome coating to the lively rhythms and great vocal bunching which supports Evoy. As the opener, the song is an easy involvement, an eager persuasion matched by those of 14 Girls and All Afternoon. The vintage air which wraps the album as potently as modern tenacity brings a Little Richard meets Screamin’ Jay Hawkins enticement for the first of the pair whilst its successor leaps around with a naughty twinkle in its melodic eye reminding in many ways of The Stargazers, the eighties version. It also simply grips feet and eagerness, leading them like a puppy into a bounding energy before making way for the sultry instrumental flame of Bad News From the Clinic. With the fiery voice of the sax teasing ears amidst the thick catchiness cast by guitar and rhythms, it is another inevitable boisterous bop, one with an enjoyable hint of The Munsters theme to it.

There is a sense of Hank Mizell to the heftier rock ‘n’ roll of Uncle Willy, a great vociferous harmonica its spiciest tempting whereas Tennessee Girl springs an inescapable trap of rowdy rhythms with that ever delicious sax the juicy instigator in the fusion of rockabilly and garage punk. As always though, it is the full craft and creative devilment across the band which makes MFC Chicken songs burst from the speakers, two prime examples there leading to another in the ballsy saunter of Sit Down, Mess Around and in turn the rhythmic shuffle of 29 Bus, keys and guitars respectively leading resourceful romps from the enslaving rhythmic bait of Ravi and Criscuolo.

The second of these two is a particular favourite within nothing but across M.F.C. Chicken Time! but as the other tracks, including the colourful sixties melodic flirtation of I Can’t Feel My Leg, it get eclipsed by the bewitchingly brilliant Kahuna Hoodoo Hoochie Coo Flu Blues. From its opening sinister noir clad second, the song prowls and swings with a dark jazz and rock ‘n’ roll devilry. Like a mix of again Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, this time with a whiff of Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers and Lonesome Sundown in tow, the track creeps through ears and into the psyche offering the most inventive and compelling encounter on a release stocked with nothing less than thick captivation.

Rumble Strip is a grin of imagination and mischief next, its rock ‘n’ roll sheer feel good majesty matched by the flirty swing of Colonel Sanders’ Bastard Son, another irrepressible slice of rich tasting R&B/garage rock ‘n’ roll enterprise. Both has the body moving through 360 degrees of festivity before allowing Where Is The Meat? to bring the excellent encounter to a rousing conclusion. Ensuring the ever present smile sparked by the start of the album, of release and listener, is as broad as ever at its close, the song simply sums up the glory and fun of MFC Chicken and M.F.C. Chicken Time! in its two thrilling minutes of creative mayhem.

There are no major changes in sound from predecessor Solid Gravy, but there is definitely new freshness to the imagination of adventure and flavours woven into M.F.C. Chicken Time! The result is another hour of unbridled and one of a kind fun and rock ‘n’ roll pleasure from MFC Chicken; that a real treat in anyone’s book.

M.F.C. Chicken Time! is out from November 9th via Dirty Water Records digitally and on 12” vinyl @ http://www.dirtywaterrecords.co.uk/shop/#!/MFC-Chicken/c/2990295/offset=0&sort=normal

http://www.dirtywaterrecords.co.uk/mfcchicken   https://www.facebook.com/MFCChicken

Pete RingMaster 09/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – White Teeth, Black Thoughts

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You will excuse any misplaced words and deviation of thought as you read this review as it is all down to the fact that these hips are still swerving as feet are stomping with a dervish passion whilst emotions flying high from listening to the delicious romp of White Teeth, Black Thoughts. You can blame its creators Cherry Poppin’ Daddies for this over enthusiastic and lingering unprofessional relish as they spread the irresistible swing and jazz passion of their new and sixth full-length release via People Like You Records. Bringing eleven richly flavoured and distinctly shaped temptresses to flirt, seduce, and enslave the imagination, the album sees the US band diving back into their swing and jazz inspired natures, leaving the more eclectic worldly sounds of previous offerings to the side, for one terrific and unforgettable party.

From the release of their 1990 debut album Ferociously Stoned a year after forming, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies has ignited bodies and passions with their constantly tempting sounds; the band fusing weaves of potent spices and styles along the way. They brewed or certainly accelerated a loyal and swiftly growing fanbase around the world with their compilation Zoot Suit Riot: The Swingin’ Hits of the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies in 1997, it the catalyst to a new concentrated attention and hunger for their sound. Since its invitation albums like Soul Caddy and Susquehanna in 2000 and 2008 respectively, with their wider striking mixes of flavours such as ska, rock, and at times pop, have only increased the band’s acclaim and presence whilst shows and tours with bands such as Reel Big Fish, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Rancid and Bad Religion have unreservedly enhanced their reputation and stature.

The early more concentrated swing and jazz fuelled time of their first releases though for many is the core and instinctive sound of the Press_CoverOregon band and returning to it White Teeth, Black Thoughts proves the octet has lost none of their flare and fervour not to mention skill for the styles. The album is not a throwback to those times though but a fresh and contemporary slice of revelry immersed in the world of today and its issues. Vocalist/guitarist Steve Perry, who founded the band alongside bassist Dan Schmid, described the album and the intent of the band with it as “We’re a modern band talking about modern problems,” going on to say “This is not a nostalgic record. If anything, it’s a record about nostalgia. I’m not interested in old things; I’m interested in how old things function now.

As soon as the brass flames soar over the ears escorted by crisp beats and a riveting dark bass tone, opener The Babooch has attention in the palm of its hands; trumpet, sax, and trombone similarly igniting the imagination with their fiery temptation. Settling into a steady stroll, keys and rhythms entangle an already awoken appetite further whilst the smooth tones of Perry croon with an eager smile as group vocal additives and cheeky twists within the song skirt and accentuate the lure of the track. Well into its stride the track subsequently lifts its urgently driven feet to run with the melodic devilry grinning within all members and their instrumentations; the encounter a glorious and irresistible start to the album swiftly backed and increased by I Love American Music. Like its predecessor, the song needs no time to warm up its intent and desire to have the listener instantly engaged and dancing with its swinging gait and boldly stomping hips. So with more contagion to its narrative and melodic toxicity than at a sultry burlesque show and just as much aural sex, the song magnetically storms and seductively smoulders across its piece of defiant devilry, alternating the bait whilst providing an unrelenting temptation of insatiable imagination.

The following Whiskey Jack ensures that there is not lifting of the persuasion and energy, its blustery brass caresses potent incitements to thoughts and feet. Their masterful seizing of the senses is persistently coaxed and driven by the as now expected excellent vocals of Perry and the colourful dance of keys, though once again it is a song which skilfully throws strands of unexpected textures and unpredictable sounds with equally intriguing ideation into the mix. Hunger for the album at this point is intense; greed just as wholesomely fed by Doug the Jitterbug, a glorious cover of the Louis Jordan track, and the sultrily fired title track. The first of the two is a jazz bred quickstep of mischievous urgency and vivacious enterprise whilst the second whilst also being seeded in a rich soak of jazz tempting, finds just as riveting strains of blues and R&B within its simmering and evocative melodic blaze.

The dark boisterous and pulsating entrance of next up Brown Flight Jacket immediately has lips licked, the resonance of hollow yet vocal drums, similarly intensive bass, and the ever descriptive keys merging for a mouthwatering welcome. In many ways the emergence of the undeniably mesmeric and enthralling keys and vocal harmonies thereafter is an anti-climax such the impressive build-up, but the song soon has mind and heart locked and loaded within its mellow enticement. The song whips up yet another lustful response towards the album, taking longer than most may be to get there but over time seducing with the guile and poise of a siren.

The variety within the release continues with another masterful cover, this time of the Hank Penny track Bloodshot Eyes, which riles up another surge of eagerness in the appetite, and then the inventive and unexpected proposition of Jakes Frilly Panties. The song sees the band dig right back in time with its blues piano swagger but it is the static in the production recalling forties and fifties recordings which steals the imagination most. The success of the pair is matched by the darker toned almost salacious Huffin Muggles, a weave of heavily throated and resourceful temptation walked through by equally mysterious and darkly alluring vocals. Its outstanding sound and invention reminds of the sounds bands like Molotov Jukebox and The BeauBowBelles have been spreading around the passions.

As good as the trio of songs are they have to play second fiddle in a way to the final cover on the album. Recorded back in the day by Bull Moose Jackson, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies give Bowlegged Woman an accomplished devilry musically and vocally which cannot fail to raise constant chuckles and pleasure. Its boisterous revelry is followed by the closing masterful call of Concrete Man Blues, arguably the biggest swing number on the album with its orchestrated fire. The song completes a captivating and dramatically thrilling release, White Teeth, Black Thoughts an addiction casting treat which shows that Cherry Poppin’ Daddies are still the masters of swing induced jazz sculpted revelry. If the likes of King Salami and the Cumberland 3, The Stargazers, and Brian Setzer tinkle your fancy then Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and their new album is a must.

White Teeth, Black Thoughts is available now via People Like You Records.

http://www.daddies.com/

https://www.facebook.com/CherryPoppinDaddies

9/10

RingMaster 05/05/2014

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Straight 8s – Girl Trouble

S8s

With the uncanny ability to turn every day and mood into a riotous time, Girl Trouble the new album from US rockabillies Straight 8s, is a virulently infectious and diversely flavoured slice of rock ‘n roll which leaves you ready to party. It is simply irresistible, a release all rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll fans should and need to explore and one which will disappoint no one. Consisting of thirteen songs simultaneously providing no major surprises but catching you off guard at every turn with its enterprise and mischief, it is a release which is at ease and full potency whether seducing or excitedly ‘brawling’ with the senses , basically a long-lasting friend just waiting to be met.

It is hard to be sure exactly when Straight 8s began but with their debut album Casualties Of Cool being released in 2004, the North Carolina trio has certainly been around impressing for over a decade, recruiting a hungry fanbase and acclaim for their sound, shows, and releases along the way. Girl Trouble is the band’s third album, the successor to Never Return To Me of 2007, and has been in the making by the current line-up of founder member upright guitarist/vocalist Robert Striegler, upright bassist/vocalist Daniel Mebane, and drummer/vocalist Mark Murphy, since 2009. The three piece seed their sounds in everything from rockabilly, rock, surf, swing, country and all in between, which upon the Brain Drain Records released Girl Trouble means the listener is taken to a hop of thrillingly spiced and inventively  crafted romps.

The immediately rampant and inviting instrumental F-Hole opens up the release, its initial guitar lure almost Bolanesque within aa2211804433_2 scorching sonic beckoning. Feet and body are soon twisting to its pure rock temptation whilst a hunger for the sound is already starting to stir, though to be honest any rockabilly release does that at the start. Many then lose their grip but no such worry with Girl Trouble as second song Rock Me does what it says on its label. Rhythms and bass slaps tease and recruit the senses with ease whilst the guitar craft of Striegler send sonic tendrils of excitement around the same receptive bodies with the contagious vocal bait help the seizure of the passions.

   First One Standing In Line offers a Buddy Holly like seduction to its easy going wholly enticing rockabilly stroll, again guitars and vocals taking centre stage but shoulder to shoulder with the crisp beats of Murphy and coaxing bass calls of Mebane. Like all the songs on the album you immediately know enough about the lyrical and musical narrative to feel free and able to leap into the romp and its chorus within a minute or so, it an old friend just waiting the first introduction. Both the blues kissed guitar gaited Why Can’t You Love Me Like I Am and the sultry Slowly Lose My Mind continue the impressive start to the release, the second of the pair emerging as one of the biggest pinnacles on the album. From its opening breath drums and bass have a darker almost predatory stance placing the song in psychobilly territory whilst the vocals also strap on a sinewy intent to ignite the adventure. With a smouldering countryesque ambience pressing on the tale and the superb trumpet flames of guest Nicholas Mebane bordering mariachi magnetism, the track is a glorious romance for the emotions.

As mentioned variety is never far away on the album which the next up Porter Wagner Suit, the song a grinning mix of surf rock melodic flaming and blues hued swing stomping led by great baritone fuelled vocals, and the throaty sounding rockabilly excellence of Help Me Save My Life both thrillingly show. Split by the brief Interlude, a fifty second instrumental of pacing rhythms and bass steps beneath a glassy melodic waltz, the tracks alone leave everything from ears and feet to imagination and emotions lively recipients.

    El Mirage returns the listener to the earlier sultry western climes; rhythms cantering across the shimmering hot climes cast by the instrumental as the guitar of Striegler paints and colours the scenic venture expanding in the imagination. It is an enthralling blaze which makes way for the insatiable energy and eager to romp enticement of You’re Always Gone, the song boisterous bait for which there is no resistance, its infection soaked incitement like a cross between The Stargazers and The Polecats.

The final trio of tracks do not allow any slip in the grip of Girl Trouble, the seducing delights of the country rock seeded Two Stubborn Fools featuring the temptress like vocals of Sarah Shook, and the humid You’ll Never Get Away with its gypsy like beguiling temptation and Latin swing spawned wantonness, both scintillating embraces for the now lustful passions whilst the closing Summer Set provides a surf rock sunset which has imagination and energy drifting away wholly satisfied and contented.

Also featuring guest appearances from Phil Sullivan on lap steel guitar and Colin Murphy on vibraphone, Girl Trouble is a gem of a release, an album which is as nostalgic and as fresh a rockabilly encounter as you could wish and hope for. Straight 8s have it all and more…

http://www.straight8s.com/

10/10

RingMaster 19/11/2013

 

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