We-Are-Z – Walkaway

pic by@AndyWillsher

pic by@AndyWillsher

The song might be about “taking a journey into the recesses of consciousness, exploring perceptions and angles that don’t add up”, but musically Walkaway is just one inescapable funk ‘n’ roll devilment of indie pop come new wave virulence. The song is the new single from We-Are-Z, a UK band which on the evidence of their new release, springs a sound on the senses as agitated and warped as it is infectiously magnetic. It incites body and imagination with tribal like rhythms amidst paranoia kissed sound, each racked with St. Vitus dance like activity within theatrical melodies and mellow washed vocals. The track is pure temptation, like Shriekback meets Late Cambrian in a Two Door Cinema Club embrace, yet different again.

The London based Anglo/French quintet formed in 2012, with its line-up already seasoned musicians bringing experiences of playing with the likes of Beyonce, The Waterboys, and James Morrison into the mix. Debut track Airbrush swiftly drew strong attention and support from media and fans alike, whilst the band since then has lured in diverse comparisons from Vampire Weekend to Devo and Franz Ferdinand to XTC. Inspirations are equally varied within We-Are-Z, the likes of David Bowie, Serge Gainsborough, Talking Heads, Blur, The Clash, and Static cited but as their new single shows, the band ultimately emerges with something yes a little familiar but perfectly peculiar to them.

Walkaway from its first touch is a rampant shuffle of jabbing beats and a dark flirty bass lure from Guillaume Charreau and Marc Arciero respectively. The guitar of Drew Wynen adds a lively temptation to the attention grabbing start also, little but gripping hooks and slithers of melodic spices a flirtatious tempting adding to the instant magnetism. Seductive and quirky keys are colouring the song further next, Clement Leguidcoq bringing a smouldering coaxing seeping around and within all the other tenacious textures at play whilst vocalist Gabriel Cazes has a drama and flirty quality to his insatiably vibrant tones and harmonies. There is no escaping the enslaving effect of the song, the puppeteer like lure of rhythms on limbs and the addictive contagion of everything else on voice and emotions, a proper feel good treat.

According to reliable sources, with an energetic and irrepressible live presence to match the adventure of their new single alone, it is easy to suggest we will all be hearing and devouring a lot more of We-Are-Z from hereon in.

Walkaway is available via Sputnik Records from May 18th

http://we-are-z.com/   https://www.facebook.com/WeAreZmusic

RingMaster 17/05/2015

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Helene Greenwood – Collectable You

HG

Listening to Collectable You, the debut album from British singer/songwriter Helene Greenwood is like staring into a mesmeric pool of sun kissed water, the engaging moment warm and enticing as songs play like reflective ripples upon the surface of an emotive temptation. It is an enchanting encounter which caresses and kisses thoughts and imagination with poetic craft and evocative premises of everyday heart seeded life. Following the impressive EP The Break, the album confirms the promise and expressive grandeur which permeated its predecessor whilst increasing the potent presence of the lady herself.

Hailing from Dover, the Camden, London based Greenwood has taken her studies as a contemporary composer at The Royal Academy into her distinct style of songwriting whilst using inspirations such as Ella Fitzgerald, Björk, Feist and jazz singing itself as a rich spice to what is her individual presence and performance. From studying with internationally acclaimed singers Nia Lynn and Anita Wardell, earning her music degree from Royal Holloway, and songwriting with Gretchen Parlato, Greenwood has built a deeply promising and accomplished reputation through her shows which include regular spots at Proud Galleries in Camden and also the Stanford University Coffee House, and her first release The Break. Now Collectable You looks poised to send her into the attention and emotions of a great many more around the country, the album you suspect such its impressive body the spark to full awareness.

Produced by Calum MacColl, son of folk singers Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl, who also provides guitars and backing vocals to the 1379518_349020325241412_252790883_nalbum, Collectable You sees Greenwood assisted by a fine group of musicians to realise her songs, a line-up on the album including keyboardist James Hallawell of The Waterboys, bassist/cellist Arnulf Lindler (KT Tunstall), and drummer Martyn Barker (Billy Bragg/Beth Gibbons). It is a mix which helps light up the vibrant songwriting which starts with opener Break In Break Out. The song takes little time in smooching with the ears; Greenwood’s smouldering vocals and an excellent melancholic cello embrace instantly an irresistible temptation alongside a classical emotive elegance crafted by the keys. Into its stride there emerges an eruption of a full flight of melodic passion within colour soaked melodic skies whilst a brass coaxing within only elevates a greater rapture in the passions.

It is an excellent introduction soon backed by After the Fire, its piano prompts upon thoughts bringing in the again sultry vocals of Greenwood. Blossoming into a jazz kissed seduction with the throaty emotive sounds produced by Lindler quite delicious, the song merges emotional shadows and dawning lights of hope into an enthralling embrace which again has full attention of body and mind.

So Many Balloons is a similarly gaited song to its predecessor, if less shadowed but as emotionally provocative with its darker reflective perspectives. Gentle rubs of the imagination erupt into hungry but contained melodic flames as a Hammond organ temptation provides a contagious lure within the already compelling rises of intensity and passion within the wonderful track. Impossibly infectious the song makes way for Great Fountain, where again the bass swagger is of the utmost potency to match the voice of Greenwood and richly hued keys. There is a XTC feel to the song, an exotic tease around crescendos of magnificent pop bred beauty which continues the impressive soar of the album.

Passing through the tantalising Timeline and The Shore, a dramatic ballad with rising walls of charm and heated craft, the album brings a cover of the Johnny Mercer and Rube Bloom written Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread). Greenwood makes it a stronger smouldering play on emotions without losing the core irresistibility of the a classic song about love. From its place on the earlier EP where it impressed yet at the time sounded pale against the rest of the songs, the track has emerged over time as a slowly dawning rapture for the emotions and secures its place as one of the favourites upon the album with its rhythmic sculpting and keys clad persuasion.

    Collectable You continues to hold imagination and passions tight with the almost wanton Spindrift Road, the second single from the album preying on thoughts with a mischievous melodic dance and carnival like teasing. Magnetically absorbing, like the album lyrically and musically, it is one of the pinnacles of the release especially in the second of its seemingly two part offering, and an intriguing invite into the joy of the album as a single.

The aural and perceptive fascination stays on course with next up In The Sunshine, the song a melodic drift across reflective horizons, and the tender Focussed. Both songs are delightful temptations but do lack the intense enticement of previous songs, though invention and imagination wise they stand tall whilst making formidable lures for a return to their arms. The same can be said of the potently alluring Get On Board and the closing Utopia with its country/folk whisperings, the closer making a drama fuelled conclusion to a richly pleasing and exciting album, even if one where its greatest strength lies in its first two thirds. Helene Greenwood is an artist we are sure to hear a lot more of through words soaked in acclaim, the Washaway Recordings released Collectable You a potent persuasion to that thought.

http://www.helenegreenwood.com/

8/10

RingMaster 21/10/2013

 

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Helene Greenwood – The Break EP

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Like a fresh breeze across a sultry summer embrace, the vocals and debut EP from Helene Greenwood bring seductive joy on a smouldering emotive landscape. The Break is a five track evocative kiss on senses and thoughts from an artist who enchants and seduces with a craft of songwriting and vocal persuasion which leaves the richest warmth inside as it evokes reflection and imagination.

Hailing from Dover and now Camden, London based, Greenwood initially began her musical career as a contemporary composer studying at The Royal Academy. The birth of her daughter in 2005 led her to exploring her songwriting and more narrative based lyrical music. With a music degree from Royal Holloway under her belt she studied singing with internationally acclaimed singers Nia Lynn and Anita Wardell as well as songwriting with Gretchen Parlato in 2011 at Stanford University. Taking inspiration from the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Björk and Feist as well as jazz singing, Greenwood finally is at the point, ahead of her full-length debut Collectable You, where she is introducing her music to the greater world building on her brewing recognition across venues in London, the lady regularly performing at Proud Galleries in Camden and also at Stanford University Coffee House.

Released on her own label Washaway Records, The Break is a riveting emotional sun of elegance and melodic grandeur brought Screen-Shot-2013-05-22-at-19.14.05in the gentle caress of honest observation lyrically and unfussy beauty musically. Produced by band-member Calum MacColl (son of folk legends Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger) and featuring James Hallawell of The Waterboys on keyboards, as well as Martyn Brabbins (Billy Bragg/Beth Gibbons) on drums and Arnulf Lindler (KT Tunstall) on bass, the five song spark of aural light marks the emergence of a remarkably promising artist.

Opening song Break In Break Out makes a play for the emotions instantly, the vocals of Greenwood a radiating sunspot against a wonderful cello croon from Lindler. It is a melancholic yet vibrant invitation with the keys of Hallawell crafting a classical emotive elegance within the already enthralling hug. Once the song erupts into a full wind of melodic passion the song looks to the skies with colour soaked beauty, the trombone of Jonathan Enright another impacting suasion on thoughts and feelings. It is a wonderful mesmeric start matched more often than not across the rest of the release.

Certainly second song In Between Days stands side by side with its predecessor in potency and glory. A cover of The Cure classic, Greenwood strips down the song to make it her own, so much so that it took more than a few moments to realise what it was. She brings a new strain of melancholia to the songs enthralling glide through the ear with the keys weaving a sensitive and provocative ambience to add to the emotive depth and the guitar of MacColl sculpting its own emotional shelter. The song sways and calls the heart like a courtly temptress but it is the majestic vocals which guides the listener into the richest beauteous climate. The keys are also exceptional as they paint another narrative to share further the heart of the song whilst the drums of Brabbins bring a climatic swell to proceedings as its finale brews in riveting fashion before calming before the last touch of the song, a last gentle brush of its melodic lips.

In The Sunshine and After the Fire continue the aural and perceptive fascination, the first a soulful melodic drift across reflective horizons and equally creative thoughts whilst its successor, an initial duet of vocals and keys, blooms into a jazz lit flame of almost noir shadowed life and inspirational enterprise. It is a stunning song which could soundtrack any life at some point in time, revealing its hope, dark, and reality.

Closing song is another cover, this time of the Johnny Mercer and Rube Bloom written Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread). One of our all-time favourite songs we set high demands on any version and though it is arguably the least successful song on the EP, Greenwood again gives it a new fire and bed of sentiment which is impossible to resist, as is the smouldering melodic wrap of her again mouthwatering voice.

The Break EP is one of the most startling introductions of any artist in a long time and Helene Greenwood at the start of what you can only suspect will be a swift ascent of melodic and creative passion spawned innovation. We suggest all hitch a ride now and stand ready to enjoy the forthcoming rewards of the first album Collectable You; we have a feeling it is going to be something special.

http://www.helenegreenwood.com/

9/10

RingMaster 11/07/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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The Waterboys – An Appointment with Mr Yeats

Approaching the first listen of An Appointment with Mr Yeats the new album from The Waterboys, one was not sure what to expect and a sense of uncertainty was in the air before a note was played. It was not so much the fact of only having a passing knowledge of the work of William Butler Yeats, the Irish poet and playwright whose poetry the album is a musical companion and interaction with (Poe and Yeats’ ‘enemy’ Aleister Crowley being more of a taste for this palate), nor from having a respect for but no particular like for previous Waterboys musical offerings that a doubt about the album rose. It was more would this just be music behind a reading of WB Yeats works which with no matter how much passion and emotion came with the words, was like a cold shower to the anticipation. Really one should have known better. With the love, passion, and intent from Waterboys vocalist Mike Scott to bring, in a twenty year labour of love, the words of Irelands cultural son into a merger with respectful and understanding music of his own composition, it was always going to be something more than a simple rendition.

Scott had already brought Yeats poetry to music, writing a musical accompaniment for the classic poem ‘The Stolen Child’ for 1988 Waterboys album Fisherman’s Blues and five years later another poem ‘Love and Death was set to music to appear on the Dream Harder album. Over the years as well as doing the same with poems by Burns, James Stephens, Kenneth Grahame, and George MacDonald, Scott slowly added ‘collaborations’ with Yeats to create a wealth of material which remained a secret until the songs premiered at a series of  Appointment With Mr Yeats concerts in Ireland and Britain in 2010 and early 2011. Now fourteen tracks unveiled then have been given a love and attention in the studio to result in a release that if nothing else should be investigated.

Scott painstakingly worked with all the respect and musical skill at his disposal to create an engaging collection of songs. He shifted through poems finding those that would work with his musical ideas and rather than simply reciting the poems vocally he adapted the poems, removed some passages, changed out of use words replacing with ones to inspire the same emotion, and with understanding created songs with their own identity. They connect to Yeats poetry emotionally but stand alone with their own pride.

The songs are varied and extremely well composed and presented, each giving something different, whether with a rock beat, a folk flow or emotively soaring all have a satisfying effect. Opening track ‘The Hosting Of The Shee’ and probably the favourite here, flows on a pulsating beat that is as dramatic as the song is melodic. With immediate effect it takes the hand and sways in the ear marking straight off that the albums journey would be an intriguing and agreeable one.

The core of the band, Scott, bassist Marc Arciero, James Hallawell on keyboards, and drummer Ralph Salmins were joined on various tracks by fiddler Steve Wickham, Flook flautist Sarah Allen, multi-instrumentalist Kate St. John, Catalan trombonist Blaise Margail, and the stunning voice of Irish singer Katie Kim, who is a revelation on the album. Kim’s first appearance comes on ‘Song Of Wandering Aengus making a great track into an excellent one, her voice a force of beauty. The track swoops and lingers siren like, an aural sunshine warming the senses. The one thing that was not expected nor unwelcome was the thoughts of how much this song and other moments as the album progressed sounded like US band Wall Of Voodoo and its frontman Stan Ridgway’s solo work. The uniqueness of that band coincidently resurrected here.

The songs on the album play their own delights openly with the likes of the soulful ‘A Full Moon In March’, the memorable ‘Sweet Dancer’, and the atmospheric rock pulse of ‘The Lake Isle Of Innisfree with a distinctive bass potency that resonates beyond the ear, leaving more than smiles inside.

The consistency over the album is as expected high, though it has to be said at times without the wonderful voice of Kim to always keep the engagement with the album a certain one, maybe one would just dip into the album more often than giving complete listens each time. Saying that though the album is thoroughly enjoyable and far beyond the expectations going into it. One might not be rushing to check out The Waterboys back catalogue because of it but definitely revisits to An Appointment with Mr Years are guaranteed as well as watching out for a certain Katie Kim and her own musical journey.

RingMaster 22/09/2011

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