Jess & The Ancient Ones – Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes

Photo_ Jarkko Pietarinen

Photo_ Jarkko Pietarinen

After an impressive introduction through their self-titled debut album back in 2012, there is always a potent twinge of excitement when whispers and news of something new from Finnish psychedelic rockers Jess & The Ancient Ones comes forward. It happened with their impressive occult surf metal EP Astral Sabbat in 2013 and again now with second full-length Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes. It is fair to say though that as keen the anticipation it was not really expecting the full majesty and fascination which envelops ears from the band’s latest triumph. Spreading open psychedelic inspirations bred from the late sixties/seventies, Jess & The Ancient Ones boldly embrace a host of other ripe styles and rich flavours too, creating one of the year’s most breath-taking offerings in the process.

Formed in 2010 as a septet, the band has slimmed by one over recent times and broadened their sound to weave in as suggested earlier, a new kaleidoscope of distinct styles. There is also less of the occultist intensity found in the new album’s predecessor as a more earthly magical theming seems to fuel the lyrical exploration of Second Psychedelic Coming. The new album is certainly as raw and seductive as anything before, the creative heart of the band unashamedly honest and unworried about sounding overly polished as again ears are provided with a gritty and organic character to the encounter and the instinctive way that the Kuopio sextet grip ears and incite the imagination. With the striking new aspects and imagination to the band’s sound though, it all unites in either fiery roars or invasive serenade of sound, most songs a collusion of both and more.

artwork_RingMaster Review     It is fair to say that within seconds band and album had its first inescapable claw into the passions through opener Samhain. Moving in on ears via the potent rhythmic stroll cast by Yussuf, attention is grabbed and appetite sparked, especially as a provocative sample makes a lead for a web of surf bred guitars and sultry keys to offer the next mighty lure of the song. It is instant persuasion, especially once virulent hooks step from that smouldering hug, they in turn sparking unbridled infectiousness in energy and tone emphasized by the caped crusader like groove flirting at the heart of it all. The distinctive and ever compelling voice of Jess is soon in the midst of the thick tempting of course, wrapped alluringly in the guitar enterprise of Thomas Corpse and Thomas Fiend as a mischievous bass canter sculpted by Fast Jake and the flowing suggestiveness of Abraham’s keys bring more creative tonic for the imagination to work with. Quite simply the album gets off to a glorious and irresistible start, offering a joyful pagan and dramatic celebration to get lusty with.

The Flying Man steps up next, it too an immediate contagion of tenacious rhythms alongside a tantalising sonic weave. Soon the track shares a bluesy breeze in air and melodies as its body exudes folkish/Celtic hues, whispers of Jethro Tull/Horslips teasing throughout the pungent smog of evocative and sonic heat. The undiluted fascination conjured continues with In Levitating Secret Dreams, it also entwining surf and psychedelic invention with enthralling imagination. As the first track, the song has a keen catchiness which quickly has body and appetite enlisted in its adventure, that success the springboard for warm harmonies to surround Jess’ vocal bellow but equally a maze of classic and blues rock resourcefulness through the guitars, which with the inflamed theatre of the keys and of course vocals, takes the listener into a uniqueness of creative splendour.

The addictive invention of the album never misses a beat or a moment to grip attention through the rhythmic slavery perpetually sculpted by bass and drums, another of its variations setting the tone and potent entrance of The Equinox Death Trip. With keys carrying a great Dave Greenfield of The Stranglers colour to their psych rock imagination, the track blazes away in ears and emotions. Jess powerfully leads the fire as things feverishly rumble and sizzle on the senses in another major highlight in nothing but across the album, though its mighty presence is still eclipsed by that of Wolves Inside My Head. The track is a beast, flexing its energy loaded and creatively provocative muscles from its first breath but just as swiftly exploring an eventful tapestry of keen hooks, spicy blues mystique, and melodically incendiary flirtation, all matched in kind by bass and drums. Again samples are a strong additive, though it is the wonderful vaudevillian air to song and backing vocals that add the most irresistible glaze. A whiff of delta blues also spices the encounter but comes much more pronounced and tempting within the following Crossroad Lightning. A climatic croon with tempestuously restrained sounds, the song is pure bewitchment with a healthy glow of My Baby to its shamanic and melodic sultriness.

Through the blues infested psych funk of The Lovers and the jazz spiced psych theatre of Goetia of Love, ears and pleasure are full, each presenting an inimitable shadow kissed carnival of diverse sound and a temptation as nostalgic as it is incessantly fresh. The latter of the two is a real siren of enterprise and evocative brilliance leading the listener into the epic affair of Goodbye To Virgin Grounds Forever. At twenty minutes plus, the closer is a flight of perpetual evolution and imagination in its own right. Classical and melancholic flavours collude with voracious and contagion carrying exploits, they just a few of the aspects sculpting the ever changing canvas and experimentation of the spellbinding proposal. From voice to rhythm, individual craft to combined melodic seduction; the track is an unpredictable and increasingly magnetic journey which alone ensures Second Psychedelic Coming has to be declared one of the must investigations of 2015.

The potential and triumph of the first Jess & The Ancient Ones album led expectations of bigger and bolder things from Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes. It lets no one down!

Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes is out now via Svart Records and @ https://jessandtheancientones.bandcamp.com/album/second-psychedelic-coming-the-aquarius-tapes

http://www.facebook.com/jessandtheancientones

Pete RingMaster 07/12/2015

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Japanese Fighting Fish – U Ain’t Gonna Win This

JFF_RingMaster Review

It has been a long two years since UK psyche twisters Japanese Fighting Fish set ears and passions ablaze with their album Day Bombs; a time where the band has never been far away from ears at The RR to be fair but too long to wait for something new from a band who to that point had only brought something unique and invigorating to the British music scene. Finally the wait is over though with the extremely anticipated single U Ain’t Gonna Win This about to uncage its devilry, and guess what… Japanese Fighting Fish are still amongst the most imaginative, inspiring, and yes warped bands around today.

Really that is no surprise as their 2011 debut album Just Before We Go MAD was a bold and virulent escapade of creative devilment and sonic psychosis too; rich enslaving qualities taken to another level by Day Bombs two years later. It is a surprise that they alone have not made the Leeds-born, London-based outfit a house hold name and passion, and if you add an impressive live presence which has seen them play with the likes of Space Hog, Wild Beasts, The Stranglers, De La Soul, and UB40, as well as ignite venues in their own name and right, it is a mystery. Now with the exotic spicery and revelry of U Ain’t Gonna Win This things might and should be about to change.

Front Cover_Win This_RingMaster Review   A teaser for their next album Swimming with Piranhas which is scheduled for release at the end of March 2016, U Ain’t Gonna Win This takes all the prize elements of those previous albums and their hosts of singles, and twists and hones them into a new kind of JJF temptation. From its first step of its erotic prowl, the bass is sonically gurning and guitars splattering spots of sonic tempting on the senses and imagination. The distinctive inviting growl of Karlost is just as swiftly to the compelling mix; his unique tones courting sound and ears as beats from Al jab and probe the same. The virulent bounce to the track’s carnival-esque stalking has feet and hips involved from the off; its funk spawned gait and noir jazz air simply chains of seduction, whilst slithers of noise rock, alternative pop, and psych punk only thrill as they entangle the maelstrom of imagination and enterprise to matching success.

An exploration of split personalities whilst also making a “homage to boxing greats like Ali, and Rocky “, the song is an alchemy of devilment, an infestation of crazed ingenuity that creeps into and manipulates every pore and brain cell. The same applies in a different way to its companion on the single Queen Marilyn, the song a dirty grunge seeded blaze of desert rock with more than a scent of Queens Of The Stone Age to it, if a psychotic and bedlamic version. The track rumbles along, throwing out increasingly gripping hooks like sonic confetti, rhythms barging away within the mix too as Karlost spreads his sandy tones.

As in U Ain’t Gonna Win This, the guitars of Gareth Mochizuki Ellmer and Karlost captivate and provocatively suggest whilst the bass of Matt creeps with salacious intent through the swinging raps of Al. It is a combination united by the band’s off-kilter imagination and craft into creating arguably the best single of 2015 and an already impatient anticipation for Swimming with Piranhas.

The Japanese Fighting Fish are back and irrepressibly better than ever, and even more inventively deranged.

U Ain’t Gonna Win This is released November 13th via CDbaby @ http://bit.ly/1SNr0wL

http://www.japanesefightingfish.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/Japanesefightingfishuk  https://twitter.com/jffuk

Pete RingMaster 13/11/2015

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My Cruel Goro – Self Titled EP

My Cruel Goro_RingMaster Review

Since its emergence a couple of weeks or so back, the debut EP from My Cruel Goro and its sound, has lured comparisons to bands as varied as The Clash, The Stranglers, and The Jam to the likes of Ash, Arctic Monkeys, The Fratellis, The Hives, the Libertines, Dinosaur Jr., and Weezer. For us the self-titled release brings a weave of Asylums meets Birdland meets New Bomb Turks to the table. That diversity across all references though is because primarily it is hard to pin down the My Cruel Goro sound; it seems bred from varied decades and through a vat of inspirations but with no particularly defined evidence to support any claim, everything just teasing whispers in something quite original.

cover_RingMaster Review     Hailing from Italy, My Cruel Goro is a currently Reykjavík in Iceland based trio which formed in 2014. Vocalist/guitarist Andrea Maraschi and bassist Andrea Marcellini had already been making music together for the previous nine or so years, meeting through a mutual friend, before My Cruel Goro rose from the ashes of their previous project, its demise according to Marcellini because “We couldn’t find reliable musicians to form a proper group with a stable line-up.” Then they met and linked up with drummer Tommaso Adanti, from whence My Cruel Goro stepped forward with now their new EP an introduction to broader awaiting appetites for their raw and virulent rock ‘n’ roll.

It opens with Clash and an instant blaze of enticing riffs and probing beats. A single breath of a ‘pause’ brings the throbbing tones of the bass in before the band strolls and swaggers with indie revelry, thick guitar incitement, and mischievous electronic enterprise. The song is a tapestry of fuzzy hues and blustery flavours colluding in a punk ‘n’ roll roar which is as creatively unpredictable and agitated as it is contagiously rousing.

Next up is Crapford, a song quickly endearing itself to ears and appetite with a wonderful opening melodic hook which is as Buzzcocks like as you can get without a touch of stealing. With tangy bass bait and crisp beats alongside, it is a gripping start which only gets stronger as warmer flowing vocals and pop punk hues add to the texture and richness of the song. As its predecessor, if without the final raucous spark, the track is an addictive anthem to get fully involved in before Glue Buzz takes over with its new wave meets garage rock devilry. A perpetual bounce with seventies punk attitude and tone, as well as a horde of spiky hooks, infectious swings, and a noise rock centre which simply transfixes as it meanders and evolves towards its scuzzy atmospheric climax, the song is a glorious end to a striking and thoroughly enjoyable stomp.

It is of course early days but if their first EP is the sign of things to come, My Cruel Goro could be making a hefty impact on rock ‘n’ roll ahead.

The My Cruel Goro EP is out now via Rebel Waltz Records as a free download at the My Cruel Goro Bandcamp.

https://www.facebook.com/mycruelgoro

Pete RingMaster 05/10/2105

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4th Street Traffic – Innocence (Don’t Walk Away)

4th Street Traffic pic 1

Welsh band 4th Street Traffic describe their sound as stadium rock, a tag which means very little to our mind, but when a song like Innocence (Don’t Walk Away) roars with an energy and emotion which reveals all in merely four minutes, there really is no need for labels. The new single from the Caerphilly quartet is a bellow of a song, a resourceful tempest of melodic tenacity and emotional drive leaving a rather healthy new interest and appetite for a band already no strangers to acclaim.

Formed in 2001, 4th Street Traffic has earned their spurs through an undeterred assault on the national music scene. Their emergence has constantly garnered increasing attention and support. From debut album Wake Up Call through to its successor, the 2012 Romesh Dodangoda produced Kick the Habit, the band has nudged and drawn elevated attention, a growing spotlight backed by extensive UK tours and shows including performing at Party In The Park in 2005. The second album was the spark to bigger things it is fair to say, especially once Kelly Jones and Richard Jones of Stereophonics came across it. An invitation by the pair to open up their Summer In The City concert in Cardiff City Stadium took 4th Street Traffic to even keener attention, that moment backed by the continually impressing and selling 2nd album and backed by shows alongside bands such as Electric Six, Toploader, The Darkness, Mike and the Mechanics, The Stranglers, 10CC, Dodgy, We Are Scientists, The Enemy and many more. Taken from their similarly well received third album Claim To Fame of 2013, Innocence (Don’t Walk Away) is the first teaser to and step in a busy year ahead for the band, and with a new line-up in place re-energising their appetite, you suspect a successful one too.

The new single launches at ears with thumping beats and a blaze of easy going but alluring riffs. Their relaxation only moments in, then allows the potent tones of vocalist Alastair Britton to open up the narrative as a resonating dark bassline courts his every syllable. It is a magnetic start with a touch of a southern rock whisper to the brewing enterprise and energy. Taking on a pungent stride thereafter, one constantly guided by the crisp jabs of the drums, the track is an insatiable persuasion on the senses with every blaze of its melodic endeavour and flavoursome vocal call a powerful temptation. It would be fair to say that the song is not venturing too far from established climates in heavy melodic rock but equally expectations are barely fed and imagination given a healthy croon of fiery creativity to run with.

4th Street Traffic is looking towards having a strong and successful year, which if their new songs are anywhere as rampantly convincing and enjoyable as Innocence (Don’t Walk Away), will be a sure thing.

Innocence (Don’t Walk Away) is released February 9th.

Check out upcoming festival dates for 4th Street Traffic:

May 3rd Main Stage – Sound Stock Festival / Essex

May 23rd Main Stage – Exmouth Festival/ Exmouth

May 24th Main Stage – Plymouth VolksFest/ Plymouth

Jul 10th – Main Stage – Volksstock/ Coventry

Jul 12th – Main Stage – Oakwell Festival/ West Yorkshire

Aug 15th – Main Stage – NHSOB festival/ Newport, S Wales

https://www.facebook.com/4thstreettraffic

RingMaster 03/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from http://www.thereputationlabel.today

 

Revelation – Inner Harbor

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    Revelation is a band many have acclaimed as providing the seeds and spark for progressive doom metal and over the years since forming in the mid-eighties, the Baltimore band has richly earned and garnered the respect of fans and bands alike for their doom clothed progressive imagination. Admittedly it is a band which has eluded our focus at The RR more often than not over that time, though occasionally we have dipped into their melancholic familiar yet distinct sound without finding the spark to spending an intensive time with them. The release of new album Inner Harbor via Shadow Kingdom, with a vinyl version through Pariah Child, has changed that. The enthralling six track release is not destined to worry end of year best of selections nor send us diving into their back catalogue more intensively but it has a charm and intrigue which makes it hard to leave it alone.

The trio of guitarist/vocalist John Brenner, bassist Bert Hall Jr., and drummer Steve Branagan, have stepped forth with a new, for arguments sake direction for their songwriting and aural presence, Inner Harbor a mellower and warmer seductive persuasion compared to their expected heavier stance. It still carries heavy enveloping shadows and crawling alluring atmospheres rife with intensity but there is an air of light and playful energy which arguably has not featured in their creativity before. It is a relaxed and laid-back encounter with weaves and calming washes of progressive temptation taking the lead before their darker absorbing doom intent. The presence of seventies Italian progressive rock as an influence to the release has been cited and certainly across the tracks thoughts of Goblin were playing upon the surface of thoughts, but the release has many textures and flavours at work and is wonderfully hard to pin down. It is also a little inconsistent and even after multiple intensive plays the final opinion of it is undecided. It is definitely an enjoyable and as mentioned wholly intriguing album which refuses to let go but it never really lights any fires within for a long enough or truly lasting impact but there is still something which calls one back.

The album opens with the fiery breath of the title track, its stoner blues introduction a cautious but inviting welcome especially with the flame of sonic fire from the guitar. As the vocals join the song drops into a reserved stance and loses that initially grip, though the track still holds a healthy attention. The vocals are fine without inspiring any real reaction, their expressionless style lacking against the sounds and almost pulling them into a similarly less than dynamic voice, and in many ways the track epitomises the album. It does not leave flushes of thrills but there is something to it which magnetises and persistently invites an inquisitive appetite. The climax of the song with its teasing groove and lead laden prowl leaves thoughts in question and emotions feeling equally short-changed but equally hungry for more.

The following Terribilita with its abrasive tone and sonic blaze of craft and invention again opens up a depth of interest like the first and with the following sway of the keys instantly offers something new and compelling. Also like its predecessor the song almost taunts and teases the passions into life but lacks the weaponry to seal the deal, the melodic caresses and vocal arms around the shoulder mellowness verging on soporific. It is a deceptive lure though as again the band save the best moments of the track for its electrifying conclusion, the charged groove and elevated pace still veined by the electro brilliance, a rousing crescendo.

Rebecca at the Well opens with an excellent almost vintage punk groove and intensity, the guitars and bass holding a snarl to their intent which is lacking in the previous songs. The heavily gaited breath of the sound has a L7/Damned like spice whilst the drop into the dark slowly consuming bowels of the track for a moment is a predatory menace soon dispelled by the bright hypnotic groove and mutually lit synths which ushers it away. With more than a post punk whisper to it the track is an enticing piece of invention and the highlight of the album though soon challenged by Eve Separated and the outstanding Jones Falls. The first of the pair offers its own addictive hook and groove combination whilst the vocals again without taking a firm grip bring a strong and eager melodic embrace, especially in the adjoining harmonies. Though finding the same problem as the earlier songs in that it has moments where it brings real excitement in between others which only leave a respectful satisfaction, the track undoubtedly beckons with enough to want to share its presence again. The second of the pair starts off with a feel of The Stranglers soon merging with Sabbath like imposing riffs and a sonic growl. Into its stride the track unveils eighties electro shimmering, its acidic touch an unexpected and exciting contagious co-conspirator with the best vocal performance on the album. The song is a bewitching journey through a landscape of ideas and colourful aural scenery, bright yet as across the album not quite finding the clarity to explosively dazzle. It is a great track though and adds to the allure of Inner Harbor even if not able to force a full adoration for the whole release.

Ending with An Allegory Of Want, an enveloping heady want of oppressive air and lumbering emotive, Inner Harbor is a release that will possibly open up a wider presence for Revelation. It does not leave a burning hunger in its wake but plants seeds of that irresistible intrigue which makes persistent entry into its almost puzzling realm a given.

7.5/10

RingMaster 03/05/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Mike Marlin – Grand Reveal

 Mike Marlin pic

     To be honest initially the new album Grand Reveal from Mike Marlin threw thoughts and expectations into mystified disarray, the artist instantly going against what was presumed for our first encounter with the man. It also did not take long to be deeply enamoured with his enterprise and inventive uniqueness. Marlin creates what can only be described as dark folk, though that also limits the impression of what is on offer across the striking album. The songs making up the release evoke and provoke thoughts and emotions but constantly within its startling and varied breath, there is an underlying virulent infectious lure. It is not always marked and at times no more than a whisper but at all times the barb hooked is available and potently contagious.

Born in London in the sixties, Marlin has had an eventful and dramatic life to simplify things. Losing an eye as a four year old while playing in the garden, the traumatic event and the subsequent cruelty of other children shaped he and his determined fire ahead. Something of an academic child prodigy he won a scholarship to Oxford to study Physics at seventeen. At this point he truly began his musical education constantly attending gigs and seeing the likes of Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Dr Feelgood, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Stranglers, and The Undertones to name just a small few. Playing bass in a band in Oxford came next before Marlin dropped out of education and started working in the small family broking business. The next twenty five years or so saw Marlin go through a family meltdown, start a series of technology based companies, and in 2008 decide to be a novelist Throughout he had also written songs with no intent to unveil them for public consumption but in 2009 he met musician and producer James Durrant and they recorded as a creative experiment the album Nearly Man, which Mike now describes as “the greatest hits of a man who never had any hits”. A recording by him of Staying Alive brought him to the awareness of agent Neil O’Brien and one year later from singing his first song to anyone Marlin found himself supporting The Stranglers at the Hammersmith Apollo on their 2011 UK tour. Later that year debut album Man On The Ground was recorded with producer Catherine Marks, as well as joining another Stranglers UK and European tour.

Entering the studio again last year with Marks for Grand Reveal, what has emerged is an album which reaps depths of emotions Mike Marlin - Grand Revealand striking ingenuity which one assumes have seeded from the journey Marlin needed to make in his life. The album starts with the first single taken from it, Skull Beneath The Skin. An ambient key shaped entrance evokes the imagination at first and though it does not light instant imagery there are shapeless ideas bred from its elegant presence. Soon a lone guitar is stroking the ear whilst Marlin brings his excellent part croon part growling vocals to bear on the lyrical narrative. Into its full stride there is certainly a Psychedelic Furs lilt to the eager stroll of the song and vocals, the refreshing sounds and passion offering a R&B swagger to the almost punkish attitude. It is an excellent start which entraps full focus before handing over to the title track, a song with a slow loping stance within an emerging sweltering air rich in emotive shadows and snarling ambience.

The impressive start continues with War To Begin and Amazing, the first a track with a repetitive persistence coring a fiery embrace which sizzles and burns upon the senses. Like many of the songs on the album its catchy temptation is irresistible with the vocals of Marlin are an appetizing graze within the melodic energy of the confrontation. The second of the pair is a dawdling tension of feeling and atmosphere with an agitated yet hypnotic pulse to add steel to the emotive charge. The beginning of the track is compelling enough but when it flares up with an electric abrasion from the guitar and heightened fire to the vocal attack, a major highlight is bred.

As it progresses The Grand Reveal increases its potent attraction with further pinnacles coming through the outstanding sinister dark folk triumph of The Murderer, the song easily the best on the album with its distorted innocence and sultry intrigue not to mention malevolence, the warm sixties tinged Forgive Me Yet with its vibrant brass shards of colourful sounds and Cajun banjo coaxing, and Doesn’t Care. The last of the three songs picks at the ear with glistening spots of sonic brilliance whilst the guitar picks its moment to precisely play the passions like a siren. It is a kaleidoscope of emotive craft and richly appetising enterprise, something which describes the whole album perfectly.

With every song offering a shadowed tale lyrically and musically to whip up imagination and pleasure with their diverse inventive aural fuels, Grand Reveal is a rare and rewarding feast which no one should pass upon.

http://www.marlinmarlin.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 08/04/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Forever snarling: an interview with Charlie Harper of the UK Subs

Charlie Harper

Charlie Harper

Since its emergence in the latter part of the seventies punk rock has spawn some of the most influential and impacting bands which no one more essential to fans and the genre than the UK Subs. From 1976 the band and its founder Charlie Harper has been a driving force for subsequent bands and the genre itself over the years and as their new album XXIV shows, the band has not lost any of its strength and hunger to stretch themselves and punk, in fact they just get better and more inspiring, an incredible feat for a band well into its fourth decade, though its seeds goes back further. The RingMaster Review had the pleasure of finding out more about how the band, its ability to stay so essential, and about their twenty fourth album XXIV, by having the distinct honour of firing questions at Charlie… and this is what he revealed….

Hello Charlie and a big welcome to the site, many thanks for sparing time to talk with us.

I have to start with the obvious question of how has the band retained its hunger over the past forty years or so and as your new album shows, equally stayed fresh too?

Well…thank you Ring Master…we just have this will to have fun with the music and make it as exciting as we can.

I am aware of keeping it “fresh” but it’s not something that we work on, I suppose it’s because we spend so much time in clubs where I listen to all the other bands on the bill and I listen to what they do wrong, as well as the good stuff. We have done so many LPs  but we are just beginning  to use a studio, we also have a 5th member by the name of producer Pat Collier, we have worked together,  mostly on than off for so long now.

As we mentioned it let us talk about your excellent new album XXIV. I am sure you will not disagree that is your finest work in quite a while but what for you makes it stand out above your other strong releases over the past years?

It has more power than the previous records; I left a clue in the last track of “work in progress” in Robot Age.

There is a rich eclectic flavouring across the album brought with the expected UK Subs passion. Has this use of other musical influences been brewing up in the band and its songwriting for a while now or something you sat down and purposely filtered into XXIV?

No, there is nothing planned. We will write a bunch of songs, say 6 each and just pick the ones we think are best, this time Alvin was the first to come up with a couple of gems and set the bar very high, it was a big challenge.

There are some fine punk bands and releases around right now in the UK but arguably few seem to have the thought or want to explore 4408024and use the resources available through other sounds within rock n roll to vary their sound as you have shown upon XXIV. Do you feel the album could be a catalyst which might get some genre related bands to rethink their musical thoughts?

I don’t think so, among our contemporary’s, were bands like the Damned and Stranglers, it was all about songs. Bands now seem to go for style, same beat same sound same growl but hey…they said that about Elvis.

The album is a twenty six track feast of nothing but impressive and impacting songs. It is hard to think of many albums with such a number of songs where all have such strength and richly rewarding presences, the lack of ‘fillers’ refreshing; at what point did you personally realise how potent the album would be?

Potent is a good word and music is a powerful medium. I learned a few trick with those three chords, the killer is the one, very few people are aware of, because it’s invisible but whether you play live or on record, the first chord on a follow up song, has to be compatible with the last chord of the previous song, if it’s a good match, it will give you a high, if it’s a bad match, it can bring you down. We have to go with this, as our songs are in rapid succession.

 Is there any predominant theme or emotion which has fuelled or shaped the album?

Yes there was. It was the present conflict of the new and ancient world.

The Icon with the machine gun (baby Jesus gone) is a clue

You are a band which obviously writes for your own satisfaction and creative invention, so does it frustrate you when other bands within punk rock especially, create their sound and then almost use it as a uniform across each subsequent release thereafter, or do you only concentrate on the band and its imagination within the genre?

Well…take a band like Crass, they took that ridged uniformity to the limit but they were great. It takes all sorts and yes we just go on our merry way. I do encourage young bands to be different and find their own way

Do you think some bands underestimate their audience’s and their own adventure in taste and need, carry a fear to try new things?

Many do but there is a new batch of young musicians who are a little more brave, and that is pretty key, you have to have a musical bravery

The UK Subs seems to have found a new leash of life in many ways over the past two albums, the new release evolving the first ‘new breath’ found on Work In Progress. Is that a fair comment?

When Jet joined the band and we did the first album (Work in Progress) with him, it really felt like a new beginning and along with our not so ‘secret weapon’ Jamie, who contributed so much and Alvin coming to fruition as a major song writing force, we have the feeling that we are only just starting but that is very true of the acoustic side, we are absolute beginners.

Has this new energy to call it something, with no disrespect to past members, come in some way from the stability of the current line-up of the band since I believe 2005?

Be careful, when anyone talks of stability, things seem to happen. One drummer had a big tattoo across his chest, it said ‘Loyalty’, he left the band soon after but he has been with his present band for ten years now.

uk subs2With the whole band having involvement in the core songwriting of different songs in different combinations, how does the songwriting process generally happen within the band?

Your questions are much too serious and prodding, I’m giving away all our little secrets. Well…it’s a nightmare, I was supposed to write all the lyrics but as I said before, Alvin is doing some major work, which gives me a breather. I tell the guys to keep it simple but they don’t do simple. I told them write one song for the next album, a Jet song and a Jamie song, they will struggle but I will find a way, Jamie is the best singer in the band but he is very shy, Billy Idol was just the same. Jet will sing in Japanese, some of that Japanese hardcore is amazing.

One suspects that there is an open approach within the band to ideas from the other members not involved in the original creation of particular songs as they evolve for recording?

One is right, you should pop down for the next recording your input would be much appreciated. I always look for somewhere to stick some backing vocals (B/Vs)then Jamie goes out to the mike and just does magic, mine are a bit oi.

The album also includes twelve acoustic tracks which I must admit took us by surprise in the best way possible; when did the idea to do this emerge or was it the intent from day one?

The acoustic idea was around a while, we were all writing songs but it was going to be another release but Captain Oi asked if we could put it on this release as an extra. We were not quite ready for that but we did our best. As I said we are just beginners but we write most songs on acoustic guitars, and we did the CD within the day.

Was the acoustic idea something to challenge yourselves or your audience more do you think in hindsight?

Definitely a challenge for us…I’ve played a couple of Subs unplugged, they go down very well but again, Jamie’s songs were a big challenge, Alvin took one and I took on the other, Alvin came out with the very spooky “Confessions…” I had just got back from Oslo where I was at the Puberty exhibition by Edward Munch; that was my inspiration for “Metamorphosis”.

What was the reaction towards the acoustic tracks even before people heard them and now after the release?

So far the reaction has been good, we have always dabbled with acoustics so it’s not so very new, we use the old sea shanty “Drunken Sailor” as an intro, it has a raging fiddle played by Simon Some Dog and the Subs.

Will you be taking this approach and tracks into a live setting at some point?

We were playing “Detox” on the last tour; we hope to add the “Coalition Government Blues” song and hopefully a few more.

Is there any particular moment on XXIV which gives you the strongest tingle of satisfaction?

There are a lot more on this album than most others we’ve done. As I said before, the B/Vs are my babies, as far as I am concerned , Jamie really nails them down, then there is the outro of “Black Power Salute”, the outro of “Implosion”, the noise guitars on “Failed State”, and some intro’s that I don’t remember right now and it’s the wee hours, I can’t play it.

The next day…

And anything you would have changed or tried differently now looking back?

That’s hard to say, we never get enough time in the studio and like it like that. Its nose down to the grind and making sure that we all have their stuff worked out before we walk in that day but the best laid plans… always go tits up. I hate things over produced but the early stuff is pretty horrific, right up to ‘Endangered Species’.

Yourself Charlie, and the band was inspired by The Damned back in 1976 but are there any bands or artists now who have impacted onGroupshot 3-2 Lo-res your new ideas in regard to songwriting or sound?

I’ve always loved the Ramones, that simple back beat, the sound of the distorted Mosrite, Joe’s vocals, perfect.

I’ve always wished to write like Iggy but my style is completely different, it’s easier to write your own than try to work out somebody else’s stuff.

What is on the near horizon live shows wise of the band?

A UK tour in May. We will add more songs from the new album but no less old ones.

Once more very big thanks for sparing time for us. Any last thoughts you would like to share?

Just a big thank you, to all our followers and fans. We really do appreciate the support over so many years.

We have always found time to have a chat over a pint and some have become very close friends.

If there are any budding musicians out there…Go for it! There are ups and downs but it’s worth every mile.

And lastly once the band has released an album for every letter of the alphabet what comes next….

Hey let us get there first but we will still be on the road. I will just be too old to remember new songs.

Read the review of XXIV @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/u-k-subs-xxiv/

Interviewed by Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 20/03/2013

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