Cable Street Collective – The Best of Times

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Back in the day, the UK was once under the spell of the South African kwela song Tom Hark. It was an encounter uncaged by The Piranhas which gripped the feet and bodies of a large chunk of the nation, an infectious scourge impossible to resist. Now the same kind of epidemic has been unleashed to infest the psyche and passions of the country again, only this time in comes in six insatiable devilments from London bred Cable Street Collective. Led by lead single Can’t Take Me Under, it alone an unscrupulous temptation, the band’s recently released debut EP The Best of Times is a decade of summers rolled into one addictive slice of worldly contagion, or as they call it, Carnival Pop.

Cable Street Collective formed in 2012, emerging at the same London open mic night that produced Denai Moore. With two of its members growing up in Swaziland and Malawi, inspirations and musical passions provide a varied weave from which the band’s dramatically compelling songs are bred. The same kwela influences which fuelled the success of the song from the Brighton band we first mentioned, finds an equally welcome home in the music of Cable Street Collective, but also do other rich flavours and styles from that part of the world alongside Latin enticements and more European bred spices from funk to ska, indie pop to swing, and that is still to peel all the layers from their music. Drawing acclaim with their energetic performances at festivals such as Bestival, Secret Garden Party, Boomtown Fair, and the Lake of Stars Festival in Malawi, the band has been laying down a trail of creative revelry since forming, one coming to its first gripping crescendo in The Best of Times.

The opening twenty second Intro is just a searching of a radio dial to find some flavoursome sounds, a success coming with the sultry sway of Wasted Hours which sidles up to ears in a seductive manner. The instantly magnetic vocals of Fiona Jane cast a warm welcome, an invitation matched by the throaty tones of the bass and the holiday flirtation of the guitars. Rhythms and Picture 15beats energetically pop across the bubbly landscape thereafter as a dynamic revelry begins busying itself. Just as you get a handle on things and hips prepare to swing though, a great unpredictable mischief wrong-foots expectations. It is a brief and pleasing detour which returns again from time to time, but mere moments in a track which is soon back into its refreshing and magnetic shuffle as Fiona almost siren like incites the melodic temptation around her.

It only takes that one song, certainly here to be bound and enslaved by band and release, but to make sure escape is not an option, He’s on Fire erupts next with a thick rockabilly snarl of guitar. Rhythms are swiftly adding their tenacious bait, the bass especially virulent alongside just as dramatically alluring vocals. A song to bring the tenants of cemeteries to rigorous festive life, it is a rhythmic maelstrom complete with an addiction breeding melodic hex and vocals which stir up the devilry like a harmonic carnival barker.

Yin & Prang has a tangy ska like rascality to its kwela sculpted merriment whilst the twining of female and male vocals adds another great twist to an already individual romp. The bass once again lays down a delicious dark throated coaxing over which percussive adventure and diversity relishes its freedom, gripping bodies like a puppeteer as melodies and riffs spark with firework intensity across the mouth-watering escapade.

The sultry seventies funk kissed Interlude (Feel It Fall Apart) bridges its predecessor and the following Can’t Take Me Under, the pulsating instrumental a cauldron of feistily simmering magnetism. Seamlessly slipping out of its climactic heat, the new single sways its rhythmic hips under the song’s virulently smiling melodic enterprise. There is also a slight punkish edge to its character, the track coming over like a tasty mix of Sonic Boom Six and Molotov Jukebox whilst entertaining a wealth of other styles and essences in its infectious alchemy.

The EP is brought to a thrilling end by Two Cities, a more indie pop lined offering with a Holly Walker essence to the vocal and lyrical character of the song. Lyrically across the whole release, the band is just as vivacious and colourful, numerous lines and picture-esque word crafted scenes making their own flirtatious and memorable contributions to the breath-taking encounter.

     The Best of Times is a festival in the ears and a party in the emotions, and one of the most riotously thrilling proposals likely to be enjoyed this year. Cable Street Collective is edging to be our new favourite band, more offerings like this and it will be a done deal.

The Best of Times EP is available on iTunes @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/the-best-of-times/id942762566 and as a physical release now @ http://www.cablestreetcollective.co.uk/?product=best-of-times-album whilst new single Can’t Take Me Under is available from February 16th again through iTunes.

https://www.facebook.com/cablestreetcollective/

RingMaster 16/02/2015

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Dogtanion – Japan

Eclectic and unpredictable, Japan the debut album from Dogtanion is a release which permanently intrigues and even with a landscape which is an undulating makes for one striking and ultimately enjoyable journey. It is a release which teases and plays with emotions and sensibilities whilst giving a mischievous glint to its air throughout. It is sharp and at times wicked especially lyrically but has a constant grace and mesmerism to leave one more than satisfied across its relatively brief presence.

     Dogtanion is the musical alter-ego of Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau, a London-based musician and film-maker. Following up the well received single Islam; the album builds upon that first introduction with a gentle stroll full of irresistible twists and feisty asides to offer the unexpected and well crafted invention. A vibrant merge of electronica, acoustic and folk with essences of garage and lo-fi minimalism, the album keeps one captivated from start to finish. Arguably the first half of the album does leave the latter part in the shade somewhat but you can be quite sure it will be the reverse for just as many people and it is doubtful there will be any unable to find plenty of rewards in the release as a whole.

The album opens with Beast And The Boots a song which squeezes and slides along the imagination as firmly and skilfully as the artist manipulates his guitar, each note speaking passion with their sound and squealing caresses. The vocals are just as emotive as the music and all combined makes for a pleasing low key beginning to the release. By its end the piece has the ear and thoughts open for what is to come with brewing anticipation and eagerness.

The aforementioned single Islam comes next and immediately shows why it was so well received upon its release. Wonderfully acerbic in word and full of tantalising sounds and ideas within the warmth of sound, the song is a real treat. Imagine Arctic Monkeys writing words for a musical fusion of Seth Lakeman, Conformist and RKC and you get an idea of its charm and many aspects. Along with the following Fringepot the songs ignite the atmosphere with little blisters of musical light brought with mini intensive bursts of energy. The latter of the two is a meatier feast for the ear but both leave one with an immense smile inside and out for their unique and infectious hearts.

Best song on the album comes in the heated summer of Heavy Talk. A calypso lit fiesta of summer warmth and light headed enterprise the song is sheer excellence which refuses to let the ear and senses take a breath until its departure. Go back in time and think of something like Tom Hark from The Piranhas and you get a real flavour of not only the sound of the song but its energy and contagiousness. It is the biggest highlight of Japan and another fine example of the diversity within its shining walls.

It is from this point the album takes a turn and explores the melodic and impassioned beauty within the songwriting and shimmering sounds of Dogtanion. Bastard Song has a frame of boisterous beats to stir the ambience of the sounds and lyrical breath of the song to make a seamless switch from the upbeat first part of the album into the following heartfelt elegance. Songs like Never Change and Something Beautiful lay down their emotions in a haze of lush acoustic charm and whispered energies to great effect. Seemingly similar in intent the tracks carry their own individual presences to keep things new and though as mentioned for us the album does not retain the impossible to resist carriage from its earlier place in the ear it is never less than compulsive listening.

     Japan is an album with two faces, an A and B side which are distinctly different but obvious companions. It makes for an album from Dogtanion which works in different places for each individual and to varying success but it does work and all should find plenty to smile with inside its striking creativity.

RingMaster 05/08/2012

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