Fertile Reptile – EP

Life’s trials and tribulations can be said to be character building and certainly it is easy to feel that about the Fertile Reptile sound. An acoustic parade of craft, passion, and energy, it is a rousing affair with a definite emotive edge as eagerly shown by the trio’s new EP, cryptically named, EP.

The band is based in Co Cavan Ireland, a place already tattooed on our eager senses through another threesome, The Radioactive Grandma. Large in space, small in populace, the county has a music heart which cannot be ignored, for us that band and now Fertile Reptile stand right at the centre. Both bands have an acoustic rock bred sound and there is no escaping thinking of the sadly demised Radioactive Grandma when listening to the Fertile Reptile EP, that band’s Johno Leader indeed mixed and mastered the quartet of tracks, but it swiftly and firmly proved the latter has its own distinct sound. It is a proposition which also teased with essences sparking thoughts of The Wonderstuff and The Woodentops in varying degrees which equally only added to its rich captivation.

As mentioned the band’s journey to date has not been plain sailing. Formed early 2009, the trio of vocalist/guitarist Peter Denton, bassist Jamie Byrne, and drummer Dwayne Kiernan leapt into the local live scene taking punk, metal, and ska influences into their intimately themed songs. “Due to mental and physical health difficulties” though the outfit disbanded towards the close of the following year but their friendship endured and saw them coming together to jam from time to time and work on other projects. In 2015, Kiernan underwent surgery for a rare spinal disorder but complications left him with brain injury and mobility issues leading him to have to give up playing drums. Music will have its day though and he turned to the bodhrán and in 2018 the three came together with a couple of acoustic tracks in Denton’s pocket and emerged as Fertile Reptile; his electric guitar swapped for an acoustic incitement to join the electric enticement of bass and that, as within their first EP, quickly addictive intimately manipulative bodhrán.

To be honest everything about the band’s EP got under the skin and quickly, its first track, Can’t Feel Anything, invading with a swing no hip or foot could ignore. Denton’s guitar is a smiling enticement, the darker hues of Byrne’s bass the perfect companion as Kiernan’s rhythm on goatskin, or whatever his bodhrán wears, dances. Denton’s vocals equally had ears and thoughts keenly involved as the song eagerly strolled all the time inviting and receiving enthused participation.

Virulently infectious it is a tremendous start to the release and quickly matched in catchiness and enterprise by Forget About It. It was with this magnet of a song that The wonder Stuff spicing more firmly revealed itself and similarly there is a tint of XTC to its gleeful canter. Like a spirited embrace of summer around reflective words, enlivened even more by the violin of Christophe Capewell, the track had body and appetite bouncing before making way for the equally irresistible Abusement Park. The rawer rock heart of the band’s sound fuels and shapes the character and imagination of the song, its emotive dispute and physical boisterousness together rather than at odds in its galvanic shuffle; Kiernan’s zestful backing vocals another alluring texture in the contagion.

There is a calmer pose to closing track, Tubby Lad, though there is no avoiding its instinctive catchiness and inherent spirit. Again lyrics tap into intimate thoughts as melody and harmonies caressed an already greedy appetite for the band’s sound, the song a powerhouse of incitement and vibrancy even in its reposeful gait.

We have had the pleasure to check out some truly enjoyable and thrilling treats this past year and the Fertile Reptile EP stands tall among them.

The EP is out now; available @ https://fertilereptile.bandcamp.com/album/ep

 

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Pete RingMaster 07/11/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Wonder Stuff – 30 Goes Around The Sun

Wonder Stuff_RingMasterReview

We all have particular releases which sparked the beginnings of a lustful affair with music, encounters which provided the ignition and others which more than most re-ignited and kept the fierce flames of emotional involvement burning ever since. For us The Eight Legged Groove Machine was certainly one of the latter; an album which simply gripped ears and spirit and gave a lust for music another mighty booster shot. That was 1988, and now thirty years after taking their first creative steps, The Wonder Stuff unveil their eighth studio album in the magnetic shape of 30 Goes Around The Sun.

Some have said that the band will probably never see a hit single again to match those escaping the likes of Hup and Never Loved Elvis; more than likely not make the same kind of impact as they did in those early successful years. They might be right, time will tell, but listening to 30 Goes Around The Sun, its title a reference to the life span of the band so far, they have the potential of coming damn close. There are moments within the twelve track romp which are prime Wonder Stuff majesty and other moments which captivate like the first touches of the creative sun on a cold rock pop landscape, and fair to say from start to finish the album has ears and the imagination grooving with the band’s finest effort in a while.

30 Goes Around The Sun saw the band return to “revisit it’s old stomping ground of Stourbridge” to record the album for its making and the persuasion of renowned heavy metal and hard rock producer, Simon Efemey (Paradise Lost/Napalm Death/The Wildhearts), to come back home to produce the record too. With a welcoming acoustic Intro to first catch attention, band and album instantly leap into ears with the feisty exploits of Don’t You Ever. Straight away engaging riffs offer a smile with their bait whilst the warm lure of Erica Nockalls’ violin adds emotive suggestiveness as rhythms begin their catchy tempting. Swiftly the song becomes an infectious canter, the guitars of Miles Hunt and Dan Donnelly romping along with sonic enterprise matched in alluring kind by the darker hues of Mark McCarthy’s bass. Once the distinctive and reflective tones and words tones of Hunt join the affair, the robust attraction has commandingly gripped ears and appetite. The track does mellow out a touch as it evolves and maybe loses a spark or two of its initial blaze though that is more than compensated by the melancholic strings and backing vocals of Nockalls as well as the anthemic swing of Tony Arthy’s rhythms.

cover_RingMasterReviewThe following In Clover offers another eagerly catchy and emotionally evocative slice of rock pop with violin and melodies alone, a tapestry of folkish seducing. There is a scent of Construction For The Modern Idiot days to the enthralling song, a fresh echo within something soon revealing its own masterful character before For The Broken Hearted shares its celebratory swing and melodic sunshine with the senses. Again folk and rock pop collude to infest hips and emotions, the track one of a great many within the album which has the listener’s instincts to move and grin firmly in its contagious hands.

Good Deeds And High offers a gentler moment for a breath to be taken though the imagination is busy with its melodic smoulder and sultry temptation. The unity of guitar and violin is certainly impossible to resist with a success more than matched by the pairing of Hunt’s and Nockalls’ vocals. Helped by springy rhythms, the song’s vivacious serenade gets right under the skin with a web of persuasion matched and reshaped by One Day On as it parades its own evocative lyrical and pop prowess for ears and pleasure to indulge in.

A sturdier bulk comes with The Affirmation as bass and riffs cast an imposing incitement from the off, though it still acts as an invitation rather than a demanding proposal. Within it, Hunt as ever provides an emotion seeded lyrical exploration and reflection, another aspect of band and songwriting which has only matured and blossomed over the three decades. It is a potent and increasingly compelling track but one quickly and persistently outshone by the glorious Last Days Of The Feast. Some tracks just hit the sweet spot and this is definitely one. It has all the youthful adventure and mischief which marked early Wonder Stuff songs but equally a modern snarl and imagination that hungrily hooks ears and thoughts. Physical involvement in the track is as swift as an emotional one, its place as a pinnacle of the album certain, but quickly crowded round as tracks like The Kids From The Green treats ears to further infectious proposals, this one with a perky croon with similarly spirited melodies around vocal memories.

Swarthy hues flood the funk coated Weakened next; its mix of textures and flavours another ridiculously magnetic drama and contagiousness whilst Misunderstanding Burton Heel is one of those tracks which seems to know what personal loves in a song are and provides them wholesale with a Wonder Stuff twist. Jaunty shadows cloak rhythms and emotions whilst animated melodies and racy hooks built a kinetic trap for ears and by now a very greedy appetite. The track is superb; a rock ‘n’ roll siren which, if not matched, is potently backed by the album’s title track. The final offering from 30 Goes Around The Sun, it is a slice of English Americana, a last turn in the multi-faceted aspect of the album and a highly enjoyable end to a rousing encounter.

Past successes always means high anticipation and expectation for new propositions, something The Wonder Stuff seem to easily take in their stride and with 30 Goes Around The Sun go on to create new memorable and at times momentous experiences.

30 Goes Around The Sun is released March 19th via IRL Records across most online stores.

http://www.thewonderstuff.co.uk   http://www.thewonderstuff.co.uk   https://twitter.com/thewonder_stuff

Pete RingMaster 17/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Mark Morriss – A Flash of Darkness

Mark Morriss

     The Bluetones was a band which never really grabbed our attention, certainly nudging it numerous times across their thirteen hit singles and three Top Ten albums, but never making that incisive move to enthral as they did so many others. Former band frontman Mark Morriss though has had little problem managing to not only awaken but gripping that focus with his second solo album A Flash of Darkness. Consisting of eleven provocative flights of imaginative indie pop with a folk underbelly and soaked in evocative colour, it is a mesmeric adventure bounding eagerly and vivaciously through reflective and tempering shadows. Released via Acid Jazz Records, A Flash of Darkness is a masterful seduction and for our minds the best thing the singer songwriter has unveiled.

     The album follows Morriss’ debut album Memory Muscle of 2008, a folk-infused encounter featuring string arrangements from the legendary composer David Arnold which never really rustled up major attention. From the splitting up of The Bluetones in 2011, Morriss has engaged in successful solo tours as well as writing and performing with Matt Berry on his recordings and shows as well as creating his own prog outfit The Maypoles and writing music for David Walliams’ award winning Children’s audio books. A Flash of Darkness continues the musician’s solo adventure with a smile and swagger which enlivens the sounds and invention rippling through the release, the latter aspect a subtle coaxing rather than the loud toxicity you feel it might have been in someone else’s hands.

    The title track opens up the proposition, a song one originally written for a short-lived musical project of Morriss and Berry 1656207_635396076509138_2127819875_ncalled The Swedish Twins. A sultry Morricone bred call and ambience wraps the ears first, tower bells and whistles sculpting the scenery before the song falls into a sixties pop tasting embrace with the recognisable tones of Morriss adding their warmth to the climate. That mentioned vaunt soaks the song, a brass jazz temptation teasing greater emotion the way of the track whilst the tango of guitar invention and heated harmonies only intensify the virulently irresistible bait. Visually evocative and tenderly commanding, the opener is a sensational slice of songwriting, an artistic adventure to set things off on a real high.

    Whereas you can almost add a touch of The Wonder Stuff to the first song, its predecessor Consuela with its gentler yet no less infectious presence, has an eighties flavouring which induces thoughts of The Bluebells and occasionally The Lightning Seeds. Keys add further romance to the persuasion alongside that offered by the melodies and excellent vocal expression. Potent in sound and draped in provocative imagination fuelled hues, the track takes the passions by the hands and whisks them around that summer drenched eighties dancefloor with elegance and contagion before making way for the folkier and rhythmically punchy Guilty Again. A piano crafted beauty immediately kisses thoughts as vocals and a rhythmic prodding skirts its elegance but as with all songs it is one facet of evolving and expanding adventures. Like a lingering smooch, the track strolls with a boisterous gait flinging its happy melodies and hooks around with joyous enterprise to invite and ignite the same pleasure in its recipient.

    Both the mesmeric It’s Hard To Be Good All The Time and the enjoyable cover of The Shins’ Pink Bullets engage and treat with resourceful radiance and splendour, though neither can grip the same high level as previous songs. Despite that neither leaves satisfaction empty or provides weak enticement, diversity and ideas persistently leading the imagination into a submissive grin whilst the next infection under the guise of Low Company unveils an enveloping breeze of lyrical and melodic suasion in another sixties/seventies air to seduce from start to finish.

    Life Without F(r)iction  with its country twang is the next to lift feet from the floor, its bouncy heart unfussy and impossibly tempting before the best song on the album, This Is The Lie (and That’s The Truth), steps up to run its addiction coated fingers through the passions. An acoustic croon with Morriss offering a minimalistic lyrical and musical bewitchment, the track is pure aural manna, additional sirenesque harmonies and small bursts of energy bringing a creative virulence upon ears and emotions. It’s tempting borders on molestation but is simply melodic alchemy at play, the same toxin running through the veins of Space Cadet. The song with a wider brush of sounds and invention smothers the ears in a celestial ambience around thick and deeply permeating melodies, the result another exceptional fascination.

    The album closes with firstly another cover, this of Kavinsky’s Nightcall, which without earning the same ardour as the original material still leaves emotions enthralled, and the slow burning Sleep Song, an exceptional track which took time to make its strongest case but over time evolved into another big anthemic highlight. The pair closes up A Flash of Darkness in fine and endearing fashion leaving a return into the release a demanding option, a choice consistently rewarded each and every time by Morriss in one of the early albums of the year. Whether The Bluetones is a lure or not for you, this is one pop album you must not bypass without delving deeply into.

http://www.markmorrissmusic.co.uk/

9/10

RingMaster 24/02/2014

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Passenger Peru- Self Titled

     Passenger Peru

    Startlingly immersive with the craft and ability to turn the listener into a castaway lost in an expansive seduction of suggestive pop majesty within a dreamy soundscape in its rawest breath, the debut album from Passenger Peru is an experience you cannot help licking your lips over before each and every encounter. It is a mouthwatering collection of warm and elegant persuasions bred in an exploration which is bold and bravely adventurous. The self-titled album is as mentioned pop in its rawest most potent form but with an inspiring scourge of creative devilry and melodic mesmerism twisted into a hypnotic and at times wonderfully demonic dance.

    Passenger Peru comes from the creative minds and passions of Justin Stivers (vocals, guitar, bass, synth, drums, drum machines) and Justin Gonzales (vocals, guitar, synth, piano, samples), the former one time bassist with The Antlers for their Hospice album. The seeds for the Brooklyn based project are said to have started four years ago when the two musicians met and evolved into the Stivers led band Pet Ghost Project. A year in preparation, Passenger Peru is mouthwatering sonic scenery composed into something unique from essences of garage rock and shoegaze, psychedelic, alternative rock and more. With plenty of peaks and very minimal lows, if any at all, the lo-fi, hi-quality flight is raucous spellbinding pop brought in its most primal and beauteous magnificence.

     The album immediately takes the listener to a scintillating pinnacle with its opening pair of songs, a height the album never passperucoverquite emulates again though it thrills consistently trying. First song Your Hunger emerges from a cinematic melodic swoon and following studio doodling launches one of the most exciting and impressively tempting starts to a song heard in a long time. Guitar and bass instantly secure the fullest attention as they virtually gnaw on the ears with the latter offering an almost carnivorous tone to its dark enticement. With mutually attractive rhythmic teasing alongside, the rapacious sound conjured by the pair continue to coax and lure in the strongest lustful reaction and hunger, a post punk essence bringing thoughts of Joy Division and Gang Of Four to mind prowling the imagination whilst framing the excellent mellow and soothing vocals. It is delicious mix with sinister spirals of cold sound amid glorious flames of melodic tenderness colliding and uniting for a quite stunning provocation. Complete with an irresistible repetitious gait to bass and rhythms alongside a quite saucy groove which also hardly veers from its prime intent, the song sets the highest plateau for the album to keep up.

    In the Absence of Snow steps up next to stroll that pedestal with ease, its opening acoustically sculpted guitar tantalising and the again snarling throaty bass tempting exceptionally addictive and successful in igniting even greater rapture in the imagination and emotions. Best described as the Jesus and Mary Chain meets House Of Love whilst the revelry of Ok Go! is at play, the bait laid down for the ears and emotions to partake in, is again virulently impossible to refuse or not find a greedy need for. Rock pop at its finest with a fiery solo and another spine of repetition kissed captivation, the track continues the album’s unassailable submission of the passions. With an impressive lyrical craft and insight also at work, which admittedly comes second best to the sound in attention taking over the first couple of plays, Passenger Peru at this point has already ignited an ardour which only a total car crash of a remaining body of songs could deflate.

    Pollen Season takes no time in showing no such disaster is on the cards though as mentioned before, the album never treads the same lofty levels again. To put that into context though the following tracks prey on and build their own benchmark which most bands would swap their grannies for, the third song on the release a beguiling proposition of organic beauty around once more a bass treat you can only enthuse over with a tendency to drool, and a percussive enterprise which does not steal focus but would leave a major whole with its absence. Seriously magnetic, the song departs the now raging appetite for the album for the epidemically engaging pop absorptions of Tiger Lilly and Heavy Drugs to take over. The first of the two has a swagger and melodic grin which teases and charms but an equally solicitous sonic and rhythmic bruising to its latter swing whilst the second is a sultry summer breeze of radiant melodies within an increasingly dark and unsettling premise.

     The second half of the album starts with Weak Numbers, again a track which ensnares thoughts and appreciation but marks a slightly less potent stretch for the album. The front five tracks leave the latter quintet in their shadow though once more in a context where Passenger Peru is on another realm with their artistry at the start of the album and a still immensely impressive level thereafter. A gentle and smouldering embrace, the song is a melancholic incitement with celestial elegance aligned to a tempestuous but contained emotive brawl. It is a transfixing companion immediately supported by the exotically imagined Memory Garden and the enthralling, intensive fascination of Health System, a song which merges heavy and light melodic and intimidating textures into a weave of emotion entangling beauty with XTC like alchemy.

     The new single from the album Dirt Nap comes next, emerging with a slight Celtic lilt to its sonic beckoning before a predominately acoustic caressing ensues with a sense of The Wonder Stuff to its snare. Initially thoughts were not over excited by the song but over time it works its way under the skin to seduce though personally not the right choice as the single to lure people into the outstanding album, a record holding back another major treat for its closing offering. Life and Death of a Band is a rowdy and antagonistic romp but equally a ridiculously endearing and alluring temptress from a maelstrom of invention and creative intrigue and a quite brilliant finale to a breath-taking slab of pop excellence.

    Passenger Peru will be massive at some point with all the evidence resting and burning away in their debut, a journey as unique and awe inspiring as their name hints at.

http://www.passengerperuband.com/

http://passengerperu.bandcamp.com/

9/10

RingMaster 05/02/2014

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Sebastopol: The Hateful Mob

     SebastopolGroupPhoneFINAL

    Taken from their critically acclaimed debut album Hello All Stations, This is Zero, the new single from UK band Sebastopol is an infectious little treat of a song which requires little effort to immerse within its melodic cinematic charms. The Hateful Mob slowly and seductively coaxes the passions into a vibrant stroll of warm temptation and visual evocation to leave a certain energy and lust to further investigate band, and if not an already had meeting, the album.

The 2011 formed London band consists of vocalist and bassist Nick Powell, guitarist Phil Richards, and drummer Tom Standage, a trio who grabbed strong eager attention with the previously mentioned album and first single from it, Send The Boats last year. Released via Warm Fuzz, the independent label run by award winning producer Ian Shaw, The Hateful Mob was recorded like the album at Drop Out Studios in Camberwell and mixed by legendary post punk producer Mick Glossop (Van Morrison, Magazine, Public Image, The Wonder Stuff). The band has been described as a modern, darker reboot of The Police and the new single is evidence to why though just as rightfully you could suggest the likes of XTC, Teardrop Explodes, and The Divine Comedy, certainly in regards to the new single, its enticing strong whispers throughout suggesting these further comparisons.

The single engages the ear immediately with beckoning melodic caresses of guitar soon accompanied by firm inviting basslines, crisp rhythms, and gentle vocal expression. It takes no time in captivating thoughts and senses with a delicious melodic hook linking the temptation of each declaration of passion driven verse and the subsequent chorus of simmering shadows behind shiny sonics and a golden contagion of melodic infection. Between the riveting summer of the chorus the verses smoulder emotively and musically, the bass of Powell especially inciting to the visuals instigated within thoughts by the song. It is an upbeat song which ignites a measured sense of loneliness, regret, and lost joy skilfully despite its continually catchy and bright gait, the songwriting a sculpted treat to inspire the sounds it bears.

If Sebastopol has yet to glow upon your ear than The Hateful Mob is an irresistible gateway to their accomplished and instinctively crafted addictive sound and equally impressive album.

http://sebastopolband.com/

8/10

RingMaster 02/03/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Escape: Chapters EP

The obvious thing about Cheshire band The Escape upon hearing their latest EP Chapters is how accomplished they are as musicians with a sure depth to their songwriting. The four track release is a diverse and enterprising collection of songs that reveals different aspects to the band sound and their ability to evolve each approach in to a deeply satisfying result.

Formed in 2010 The Escape is made up of five members who came together via different roads and carrying varied influences and experiences, the quintet uniting in the purpose of writing songs that are not only very good but distinct on every level . The Chapters EP is the strong proof that they have accomplished their aim and are moving forward towards even greater things.

The EP is a follow up to their self titled debut which initially made the first strong mark on a swelling amount of attentive ears. This concentration of fans rapidly increased as the band shared stages with the likes of, Pegasus Bridge, Turin Breaks, The Bromheads, and Young Rebel Set,  often pushing the headliners to their limit, plus being on the BBC Introducing bill did not exactly do them harm. Though the debut was impressive it is Chapters that sees The Escape moving things up a level with songs that are as emotionally engaging and touching as they are striking. With radio play accompanying the release The Escape are about to take what one imagines will be further and many steps upwards, these fine songs bringing an increased surge in popularity.

The four songs that make up Chapters are all inviting and charismatic but it is Self Self Self that especially stands tall and proud over the others. With a truly infectious chorus that reminds of the heady days when The Wonder Stuff wrote hypnotic tunes, the song sparkle enchantingly from the impulsive and beckoning guitars and a sexy bass sound from Ben Kaye with more wanton tendencies than a teenager in an Anne Summers store. The song is stunning and exposes a band with firm confidence in their sound and loaded with skilled creativity.

The remaining songs on the EP are just as impressive. The emotive James And The Giant Mood is wonderfully expressive and seductive whilst the slower paced but no less touching song Little Yellow Flower wonderfully and caressingly spreads its delightful melodies and almost pained flowing sound around the ear. The final song Needing Change shows another element to the band. Al Lyes crashing guitars and the songs spiked attitude driven by the heartfelt vocals from Matthew Percival delivers a punk edge and impassioned urgency without ever unleashing enough to disturb the harmonics and melodic nature of the track. Another well crafted song finishing a very gratifying EP

The band, with the controlled and sure rhythms of Jake Forrester have taken their skills and indie pop songs to a new level with Chapters. The songs are uncomplicated without falling into the ease of laying simple and cheap candy lures into their music. Instead they write songs that are rounded, well thought out and then realised, music that does have an instant appeal but also has substance and soul, that is why The Escape will move on to greater things.

http://www.the-official-escape.co.uk

RingMaster 22/10/2011

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