Victoria+Jean – Divine Love

V-J-_RingMasterReview

From the gorgeous artwork by Russian artist Oleg Dou through to the cinematic seducing which escapes each and every song, Divine Love is creative beauty involved with an imagination which simple leaves the listener lost in fascination. The imagination comes from Victoria+Jean, the episodes of aural drama from their debut album, and the brooding romance between listener and artist from instincts that just know when something transcends just ear food.

The band is the artistic and romantic union of Swedish born vocalist Victoria and Belgian guitarist Jean. Brought up in London and moving to Paris where she began her first career as a model, Victoria was a musician at heart and was signed as a solo artist aged 16 by a French major label, though she broke her four-album deal before releasing her debut, unable to make the compromises demanded upon her by the label. Moving to Belgium she met Jean and the couple began a career “motivated by encounters, travels and sound.” We have simplified the background for and leading to the project and union of the pair, with not for the first or indeed last time, Divine Love demanding to be the focus of attention.

art_RingMasterReviewIn creating the album, the duo sent their 12 tracks to their favourite producers with the request of collaboration for the release. The list included the likes of John Parish (PJ Harvey, Goldfrapp), Rob Kirwan (The Horrors, Depeche Mode), Christopher Berg (The Knife), Ian Caple (Tricky, Kate Bush), Joe Hirst (Stone Roses), Alistair Chant (PJ Harvey & John Parish), and Lucas Chauvière (De La Soul). As evidence of things being meant to be, each freely chose the same track Victoria+Jean had intended and hoped for them; a move and success which only adds to the album’s vastly diverse and eclectic character.

Divine Love opens with its title track and the duo’s new single. Within seconds the electronic mystique and ambience of the track has ears and imagination enthralled, the sixties cinematic drama in tone and air providing a great sense of mystery reinforced by the celestial caresses of Victoria’s mesmeric vocals. The gentle and elegant jangle of guitar equally brings rich suggestiveness to the enveloping theatre of dark charm and atmospheric tempting. There is no escaping a Portishead like essence to the bewitching encounter though equally artists like Propaganda and in a small way The Sugarcubes also offer their scent to its evocation.

It is a glorious start followed by the ridiculously irresistible Holly. From an initial lure of fuzzy guitar and mischievous beats, the song soon swings along with a virulent infectiousness which barely needs a handful of seconds to have hips swaying and spirit smiling. Victoria’s voice dances upon the compelling strands of sound, mixing composed moments with soaring harmonics as rhythms dance with addictive tenacity. As provocative in word as it is in sound, the track is sensational; growing with each twist of its musical theatre and lust inspiring alchemy.

Big Billie comes next, coaxing ears with raw blues guitar before thumping rhythms surround the tangy expressive tones of Victoria. Jean’s imagination continues to weave a sultry web of sound and enterprise to surround the tribal beats and descriptive vocals; a provocative blend playing like a mix of The Creatures and My Baby. Enthralling and igniting the senses it makes way for Until It Breaks and its brooding climate of sinister shadows and electronic espionage. As all songs, it has the imagination casting its own adventures to align with that of the song itself, sparking closer involvement between ears and song which is echoed again by Why Won’t You and its delta blues laced tango.

Across the fiery sonic and rhythmic trespass of Your Baby Don’t Know Me and Firecracker, things only get more boldly flirtatious and grouchily confrontational. The first is a prowling beast of a track with a touch of De Staat to its predacious noise rock infested waltz whilst its successor, while employing a similar dark rhythmic throb, courts techno fuelled ingenuity. It is a collusion which just gets more dynamic, agitated, and schizophrenic across its three body involving minutes, like its predecessor inciting a greedier appetite for Divine Love before a haunting beauty cast with a vibrant calm hugs ears through Härligt Sverige. Tantalising harmonies float around the poetic tones of Victoria, they skirted by resonating beats and the low key repetitive niggle of guitars. Winy tendrils vein the piece too; Jean creating an increasingly climactic drama matched by the vocal emotion equally gripping attention.

Ears and pleasure become engrossed in more blues bred invention through Takes You Like A Rose and Where We Belong next, the latter tempering the flavour with a bewitching folk seeded hug of melody and harmony before creating a tempestuous showdown of sound and emotive theatre. It is a glorious slice of aural cinema, again visual interpretation quickly inspired by the song and indeed Pull The Trigger which follows. Rhythms and percussive enterprise tease and play with ears before hitting an imposing stride entangled in sonic and vocal imagination. Anthemic and intimate within every writhing twist and turn of its excellent proposal, the track is like a hex on body and thought.

Closing with the epic spatial and atmospheric romancing of Define Love, an immersion into electronic and vocally harmonic reflection, Divine Love is one of the most enthralling and in turn invigorating releases heard in a long time. Every song provides an individual and compelling exploration still revealing fresh rewards after numerous listens. The album has plenty for fans of blues and rock ‘n’ roll, ambience and electronica, pop and dance and with a host of videos also accompanying each song, Divine Love is nothing less than essential listening and viewing.

Divine Love is released April 29th via FY Records at https://itunes.apple.com/be/album/divine-love/id1089239770?app=itune and across most online stores.

http://www.victoriaplusjean.com   https://www.facebook.com/victoriaplusjean

Pete RingMaster 26/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Follow The Lion – The Candy and Gravity Motel

Follow The lion_RingMaster Review

UK alternative rock band Follow the Lion has a sound which immediately feels so right on ears whilst offering something seemingly already familiar. The latter aspect though is deceptive and arises primarily from the fact that once infected by the band’s new EP, there is very little likely you will be putting it aside just as a passing fascination. Our experience is that the band and release becomes a heavily devoured incitement from first contact, becoming an old friend in no time at all and casting that suggestion of being something recognisable simply from constant play. Bottom-line though is that consisting of three provocatively bewitching tracks, the EP is a compelling and highly seductive slice of emotionally and skilfully tenacious rock ‘n’ roll from a band surely destined for big things.

Follow The Lion began in 2013 taking diverse influences from the likes of Pixies, Massive Attack, The Beatles, Nirvana, Tricky, and King Crimson into their emerging invention and sound. The Leeds band was soon lighting up the local live scene, subsequently venues across the north west of England, and this summer festivals like Live at Leeds and Long Division. Now the Steve Whitfield (The Cure, Bill Bruford) produced and Celt Islam mastered The Candy and Gravity Motel EP is poised to work on ears and appetites nationwide and from our findings there is little chance of escaping its or band’s lure.

cover_RingMaster Review   The release opens with its title track, making a gentle entrance through a sparkling weave of guitar and keys within which a firm rhythmic coaxing from bassist Mase and drummer Danny Jay Barnett steps forward. It does not take long for a whisper of Black to nudge thoughts whilst the sonic shimmer of the track carries hints of bands like Bernaccia and Soundgarden. They are mere essences though, the song as it further opens up its contagious theatre of melodies and smouldering sonic temptation, evolving into a unique and sultry serenade but one with a snarl to its emotions and unstoppable virulence to its character. As rhythms get bolder and the sonic enterprise spicier, the glorious roar is a blaze of temptation and enthralment merging various strains of rock and creative expression.

Down By The River comes next and within its first breath offers a catchy welcoming of riffs with a low key jangle. It is swiftly in control of ears and attention, especially once the initially reserved beats link up with a brooding bassline. They spark a fiery embrace of guitar which in turn elevates the energy and vivacity of those rhythms. It is a captivating start given fresh energy and magnetism by the distinct tones of Daniel Francis, his voice expressive and evocative with potent variety to his delivery. His own guitar prowess provides a firm and enticing canvas for the rich and colourful enterprise of lead guitarist Richard Swann to further spark an already gripped imagination, his spicy tendrils captivating within the flowing caresses of Paul Smith’s keys and the darker rhythmic frame. The song is irresistible, feisty and infectious but with a thick weave of emotive drama to leave no stone unturned in thrilling the listener.

The voice of Francis, superbly backed by Smith, is like the music around it, a perpetual source of riveting incitement. He never bellows and forces the strong lyrical side of the songs upon the senses, yet seduces and provocatively roars with undiluted persuasion across every song, as shown by Low. Carrying a definite eighties air to its melodic and catchy stroll, like Colin Vearncombe meets Spandau Ballet in many ways, the closing song washes over the senses with poetic radiance though again there is a raw and dark edge to it which adds to the fullness and weight of the enthralling encounter.

There have already been many good things said about Follow The Lion and their debut EP, from Tom Robinson for one, and now lost in the arms of the spellbinding release it is easy to see why and say you too should make a reservation with The Candy and Gravity Motel.

The Candy and Gravity Motel is available from June 29th @ http://followthelion.bandcamp.com/album/the-candy-gravity-motel-ep

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RingMaster 29/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Jona Overground – On The Outside

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A persistent caress on the ears, the soulful acoustic pop of Jona Overground as vibrantly presented on their debut album On The Outside, is a proposition to warm up any thought, emotion, or day. Presenting ten easy going yet elegantly crafted and persuasive songs, the release makes no demands yet provides a tender persuasion of memorable and lingering propositions which melt the senses.

Formed in 2011, Jona Overground is the creation of vocalist Ann-Marie Gilkes, who has worked with the likes of Erasure, Kylie Minogue, Lionel Richie, and Tricky, and guitarist/keyboardist Jon Griffin. Meeting whilst studying music at Goldsmiths College, the pair began writing together after discovering a mutual love of classic pop, with the creation of the band coming soon after. Establishing a potent reputation on the live scene around London and the South East, the duo linked up with producer Alexander Mayor to work on their debut release, the impressive IRL Records released On the Outside.

Opener If You Were Free sets the tone of the album right away, warmly coaxing chords of guitar courted by firm if unadventurous beats styling a canvas to which Gilkes paints intimate narratives with her potent tones and delightful 0003691228_350expression. There is much more to this and the other songs of course but it is a magnetic undercoat which leads to brighter enchantment. With the leaner backing vocals of Griffin skirting his tantalising guitar prowess whilst seducing harmonies break free throughout, the song swings and sway with a gentle but forceful enticement, making for an attention awakening and ear pleasing start to the release.

The following Spin Cycle sidles up to the senses with a sultry climate and dark seduction next; its majestic melodic curves from the start reminding of Burt Bacharach composed musical shadows, and more specifically at times the song Walk On By. With a glowing shimmer of keys leading to evocative flames of melodies around the emotive lyrical expression, the song continues the impressive beginnings of the album before moving on to be replaced by the intimacy of Last Time I Saw You. Though the song does not grip as its predecessors, ears and thoughts are still captivated by the enticing melody seeping from the guitar and the glorious heat of classically bred stringed suasion which immerses the imagination. A track which impresses further with time, it adds another potent hue to the body of the release, as does the next up title track. A song which from a powerful first meeting also increases its lure which each involvement, it parades a joyful stride and vibrant energy in creating an increasing infectiousness whilst keys add their individual colour to meet the ever agreeable vocals and harmonies of Gilkes. It marks the pinnacle of the album, a plateau which embraces its successor too. Caught In A Line is a ballad which lies close to ears and emotions, its repetitive harmonies and evocative incitement of keys mesmeric whilst Gilkes smothers the senses in her intimate vocal beauty. That alone is enough to delight an already contented appetite but it is the rub of strings and keyboard additives which add unpredictable intrigue to the tale to turn a great song into something which sticks in thoughts long term.

Both the smiling gait of Let’s Pretend and the darker throatier breath of When Sorrows End keep the highs coming, the first a slice of reined in pop revelry which is still allowed to swish its melodic skirt in seductive fashion and the second a glorious embrace of deeper toned sounds and encroaching shadows which flirt with and kiss the senses from start to finish. The best track on the release, the song is an imposing beauty and quite irresistible.

My Word, Your World is a provocative call for feet and emotions next, its again heavier emotive premise still an easy bait to dance floors before the similarly flavoursome revelry of Time For Games parades its summery festivity. Employing a duet between the melodious temptation of Gilkes and the down to earth tones of Griffin, it is a song which takes a little time to acclimatise to but soon has body and soul locked into its flirty waltz of sound.

The album is brought to a close by the more than decent Fallout, though its balladry lacks the spark of certainly the previous track. It still makes for a satisfying close to a thoroughly enjoyable romance of melodic pop in its most relaxed and refreshing state. On The Outside leaves contentment and a hunger for more in its wake, and that is more than enough to light up dark days and uncertain nights.

On The Outside is available now via IRL Records through all digital stores

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jona-Overground/134394776704542

8/10

RingMaster 19/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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