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

https://www.theimaginaryhat.com/    https://www.facebook.com/theimaginaryhat/    https://twitter.com/theimaginaryhat

Pete RingMaster 17/07/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Strangler Figs – Attack Of The Strangler Figs

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Having been seduced by the decidedly warped drama and infectiousness of their recent single Attack Of The Strangler Figs, there was no option than to next look at the EP of the same name . The result of talent and imagination in collision with creative mischief, the offering is the thrilling work of UK art rockers The Strangler Figs. It contains three songs which seduce ears and thoughts alike, a trio of carnivalesque adventures creating the kind of warm devilry which would suit a Tim Burton soundtrack.

The folkish theatre, almost circus like character to the band’s music has its seeds in the psychedelic rock and visual feast of Circus Maure, which band founders, vocalist/guitarist Joe Pickering and double bassist Joel Hanson were previously a part of, touring the likes of Europe, Israel, and Canada, where it headlined the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal for seven nights in a row. Their time there also saw the pair writing together, before leaving and uniting to form Leicester based The Strangler Figs. Weaving in inspirations from the likes of The Doors, Radiohead, Muse, and David Bowie into their evolving invention, the band swiftly lit up the local live scene, their first year together marked by headlining Oxjam and playing the biggest festivals in Leicester. EP and single has helped begin the spread of their presence and reputation much further afield, awakening media and fan attention on a broader scale and as the EP opener alone plays with ears and thoughts, it is easy to see why.

10419942_1592620724306431_4813869709891100291_n   The title track opens up the festivities, a lone reflective guitar around the individual voice of Pickering the first intriguing act of the song. They are immediately joined by a warm caress of keys cast by Freddie Pickering and slow evocative beats from James Lyons. With most of its elements in place and the narrative bringing theatrical colour, the song lifts up its knees and starts a lively stroll through ears and across the imagination. A little jazzy, a little funky, and a lot seductive, especially with the backing vocal lures of Rosie May Price adding to the inviting hues, the song unveils an agitated adventure of sound and ideation. Thoughts of The Jazz Butcher whisper loudly from this point on, and indeed The Strangler Figs sound definitely has a potent elements of the eighties artist to its playful resourcefulness. The song is in full contagious mode in no time, inciting feet and voice to join its devilish merriment.

The great start continues with Help me Please, the song also starting with a gentle kiss on the senses but reaching a more vivacious gait within a few more seconds. The tempting of organ and guitar, both provided by both Pickering brothers, unite in a simmering aural tale of drama and shadow wrapped emotions, this matched by his voice and the dark feel of the narrative. With mini crescendos which just grip the body, the song ebbs and flows in energy whilst stirring up the passions with its unpredictable darkly hued majesty; though do not mistake the song for anything other than a vibrant stroll of folk pop revelry. Think Tankus The Henge meets Mojo Fury and you get an idea of its excellence in sound and enterprise.

The EP closes with Hugga Wugga, an immediate seduction of noir lit textures and theatre led by the excellent throaty lures of Hanson’s double bass. Keys and beats soon align for an exotic shuffle whilst guitar and voice bring a snarl to the party, tempered by the siren-esque backing vocal smooches of Rosie May Price. Once more as the song flirts and swerves around within its jazzy landscape, an eighties essence licks ears. Whereas The Jazz Butcher raised its hints before, and does a little here also, Zanti Misfitz springs up in thoughts as the track ignites the imagination. Just light whispers but enough to give a nudge of the lesser known band.

The song is glorious, as is the EP. There is no wondering why the band has caught the attention and eagerness around their home city, just of how far the band can spread their charm and how soon. A long way and swiftly is our suggestion sparked by Attack Of The Strangler Figs alone.

The Attack Of The Strangler Figs EP and single is available now at most online stores.

http://www.stranglerfigs.com   https://www.facebook.com/thestranglerfigs

Upcoming live shows…

Orange Tree, Leicester – April 30th

O2 Academy, Birmingham – May 1st

Riverside Festival – Leicester – June 6th

RingMaster 25/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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