Calling All Astronauts – Influences EP

Repetitiously providing some truly striking times with their own songs, UK trio Calling All Astronauts do it again by giving an insight into the sounds and artists which have lit their individual fires through their new release, the Influences EP. Offering four tracks simply echoing the EP title, the threesome of vocalist/programmer David B, guitarist J, and bassist Paul McCrudden take on four highly familiar, indeed legendary songs with their instinctive imagination and sound. The result is a hell of a lot of fun and a release which pays enterprising homage in unique style.

West London based, Calling All Astronauts create a fiery mix of alternative rock, electro punk and numerous other flavours in a sound which is truly individual to the band. The question for us when news of their new release broke was would it transfer to songs which pretty much everyone knows and so many idolise and more so could they give them a new character rather than just replicate like so many bands do with covers. The answer was soon escaping the speakers with pretty much a loud vocal yes. Certainly the band has not dissected and reassembled the songs in their own ‘image’ but each has been given a deep makeover which sparks the imagination.

Described as more of a quadruple A-side single, Influences opens up with a glorious version of Tubeway Army’s  Are ‘Friends’ Electric?. From its first breath there is a sense of urgency to the track if one initially restrained. When it does free its shackles, it brings a drum and bass meets metal contagion to its zealous stroll, though keys still shimmer with the original’s elegant yet melancholic gait; the contrasting attacks perfectly merged by CAA in one delicious encounter. You cannot say that the band has eclipsed Gary Numan’s creation but they have certainly given it a new energy and breath which deserves to be pushed as a full standalone single.

Following it is a take on the T-Rex classic Metal Guru. Here CAA has taken the essences of the song and immersed them in their own atmospheric invention. Whereas they pumped up the first, its successor has been slowed to allow its shadows and dark shades to dance with the imagination. We will admit that at first the song did not quite catch with ears but over time it has made a compelling persuasion and will surely emerge as a favourite for a great many within the release.

With a song like Scary Monsters it is hard to redesign what is an almost perfect template so CAA don’t but they do inject Bowie’s gem with their own dark intent and electro instincts to elevate its raw captivation and rock rabidity resulting in another thumping slice of rock ‘n’ roll with a fresh tang and organic energy where shadows seem even more alive.

Finally the release sees CAA give an electro/post punk work out for Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water. To be honest this is a song which never lit our fires but CAA have more then made it far more palatable with the flames of J’s guitar searing the growl of McCrudden’s bass and the electronic infused punk ‘n’ roll both court.

We always love to hear influences taken on by artists, a treat which seemed to grace many a B-side back in the day, just a shame so many do not try to bring something of themselves to them just as Calling All Astronauts have magnetically done.

The Influences EP is released March 30th via Supersonic Media.

http://www.callingallastronauts.com/    https://www.facebook.com/callingallastronauts   https://twitter.com/CAA_Official

Pete RingMaster 28/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Mr. Strange – The Bible of Electric Pornography

Mr. Strange 2015 pic 5_RingMaster Review

For a long time Mr. Strange has been one of the British music scene’s most imaginative and unique songwriters and artists, and one of its biggest unrecognised talents. Whether as the frontman of the brilliant circus rock steampunks, The Shanklin Freak Show or in solo adventures, he has teased and stoked the imagination whilst exciting ears with perpetual regularity. Potent spotlights have always seemed to fall elsewhere though, but that might be about to change, in fact expectations are sure it will as new album The Bible of Electric Pornography spreads its electronic seeded sermon.

The persona and sound of Mr. Strange has undergone a rebirth, a major evolution in all aspects in the time between acclaimed previous album Wonderful World Of Weird and the new slab of alchemy from his deviant creativity. Embracing fresh industrial and electronic temptation whilst weaving in numerous other rich flavours, Mr. Strange has opened up all sides of psyche and imagination whilst wrapping new songs in the so-called deviancy that others claim is pestilence. Thematically The Bible of Electric Pornography is defiance and a middle thing to the oppressive ‘normal’, an anthem for the supposedly grotesque, for the freaks and the like-minded unique; an encounter which also happens to rock like a thousand orgies to stand in the words surrounding the album, as a “sacrilegious assault of electro-influenced filth!”

Mr. Strange EP album cover NEW_RingMaster Review   The album opens with Born Again, and the birth of they, of Mr. Strange. Upon arrival electro pulses and shimmering melodies crowd around the creative cot, his vocals providing the commentary as synths strengthen their drama and the atmosphere becomes shadowy. There is a portentous air to the track but one breaking into the dawning of climactic sounds and the heralding of Mr. Strange’s new realm of invention, which in turn sparks the stomp of Deviant Ritual. Making a sort of bridge between past triumphs, the song sharing open essences of The Shanklin Freak Show and previous solo album, keys swing and vocals entice as beats grip with potent temptation. In no time the track has the body acting like its puppet, limbs and energies flung around to the wicked swagger and infectious seduction of the outstanding protagonist.

Disco Bitch is on an immediate prowl next, though its gait has a more boisterous than predatory energy and design to it. Quickly into its robust stroll with compelling walls of electronic tenacity and enterprise, the track resonates with Being Boiled era Human League potency and colouring, a scent dirtied and fuzzed up by the craft of Mr. Strange as electro squirts lure and bassy rhythms dance with the passions. As its predecessor, the track is a blaze of dance-floor devilment and raucous sonic eroticism, incitements to get the defiant and proud party started before the album begins setting its sights on prosecutors, Electric Pornography continuing the festivity whilst flirting with the devil and its breed like a seductive pout of devilment. Amongst inspirations for the album, Mr. Strange offered Electric Six recently and definitely the track shares their kind of dance/rock devilry.

A thicker air of intensive energy soaks the following Tension, its emotive breath crafted and accentuated by darkly enticing rubs of guitar and moody bass tones as synths cradle the warmer hues of voice and melodies. It all unites in provocative electro rock persuasion which again has ears, hips, and thoughts emotionally and psychically involved.

A tirade of sample pieces spouting religious and social bigotry fattens God Hates Me next, keys initially a misting of melancholic elegance eventually brewing into more dramatic smog, though still with despair rather than outrage as its hue. The piece leads into the remarkable Jonathan, easily one of the pinnacles amongst a constant range of peaks within The Bible of Electric Pornography. It is a narrative for and growing support of the track’s oppressed champion which as the character, grows into its mesmeric creative skin as simple melodies align to weaves of electronic and industrial resourcefulness. Ebbing and flowing in intensity as the voice of Mr. Strange reveals all, the song is simply glorious, as lyrically impacting in its croon as it is invigorating musically, and easily one of the best things heard this year.

Do It Like… is another exhilarating whipping up of body and soul, a song inspired by Pete Burns and his life/attitude whilst musically drawing on the contagious invention of Dead Or Alive and indeed Nightmares In Wax which evolved into the former, and merging it with Celldweller like steeliness . Every element of the song has the body, inside and out, bouncing and swinging whilst again nudging thoughts with its lyrical potency.

The bubbly punch of I Like Girls & Boys is the next to take over, sculpting rousing crescendos of skittish beats and scuzzy electronics along its magnetic body, expulsions conducted by the ever Mr. Strange 2015 pic 7_RingMaster Reviewalluring tones of its creator. Though not in an obvious way, there is a definite feel of Fad Gadget to the song, to its theatre and emotive richness whilst My Addiction gets down and funky offering up hints of a Heaven 17 and Blancmange in varying degrees. By now it is not unusual to leave a song without a smile on the face and appetite, this of course no exception with its warmly stimulating hug.

The noir jazziness of Sodom Nights brings yet another eclectic shade to the album, its melodic waltz and electronic seduction a sultry fondling of the senses and inciter of lusty contemplations, that dark romance followed by the rapacious sinister sizzle of D/s, a fuzzball of temptation featuring Global Citizen. The crawling magnetism of the track is just sonic addiction matched by the bold lure of Stormtrooper In Drag, a striking cover of a solo song released in the eighties by Tubeway Army guitarist Paul Gardiner and featuring Gary Numan who co-composed, sang lead vocals, and played on it. It is one of those ‘lost’ gems now given new life, re-vitalised by Mr. Strange’s innovative touch.

Closing up the album is firstly Fag, a leviathan of rhythmic tempting with a Manson-esque snarl providing the most irritable proposal upon The Bible of Electric Pornography and in turn one of its numerous slices of ear slavery and lastly The Last Song. Providing a bewitching serenade with a message for those who hate change, and might argue about the new direction Mr. Strange has taken, its defiance to any complaints openly and mischievously argued by the strong and highly enjoyable Kraftwerk influence, the track is pure captivation bringing the album to a thrilling close.

Familiarity and uniqueness collude within The Bible of Electric Pornography, with the latter the overriding substance, the album leading the second coming of Mr. Strange and easily eclipsing previous solo offerings, as impressive and they were and still are. We are looking at a release boldly challenging offerings from the supposed electronic big boys and girls, challenging and surpassing.

Mr. Strange is dead. Long live Mr. Strange!” Time for all to join the resurrection.

The Bible of Electric Pornography will be released November 16th, pre-ordering available now @ http://mrstrange.bigcartel.com/product/electric-pornography-cd-album-pre-order

http://www.mrstrangemedia.com https://www.facebook.com/Official.Mr.Strange https://twitter.com/MrStrangeMedia

Pete RingMaster 05/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Funeral Suits : Lily Of The Valley

Sometimes an album comes along to elevate anticipation and expectations nurtured through previous releases far beyond what was imagined. Such is the case with Lily Of The Valley from Irish indie band Funeral Suits. Based on a trio of singles there was a keen belief that an album would match and please as much but there was no real indication of the unsettling mesmeric aural swarm that was coming. Individually the songs contained within the album are not strikingly better or worse than the already unveiled songs which also find a place on Lily Of The Valley, but as a whole there is a much deeper and absorbing experience going on than from songs taken alone.

    Funeral Suits has created an album with on the surface an underwhelming diversity but with a deeply expressive breath, each track playing like a limb or organ within a vibrant emotive body. They have an intelligent and warming similarity across them but taken one away and there is a hole the others cannot fill, and given the fullest of focus one does find a beautifully crafted and imagined individuality to the songs.

From North Country Dublin the quartet of Brian James, Mik McKeogh, Greg McCarthy and Dar Grant has spent two years creating the album and that attention and time spent pours from each carefully and thoughtfully placed note, word, and passion. Released June 4th through Model Citizen Records and produced by Stephen Street (The Smiths, Blur), the album is a stunning enveloping heart borne piece of composing. It does not arguably ignite the fiercest of fires at any point but rather wraps itself around and within mind and senses for a further reaching and fuller impact. From their 2011 debut single Colour Fade the band has gained an ever growing mass of devotees and acclaim. The further singles as well as shared stages with the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Passion Pit, The Maccabees, and Local Natives plus appearances at SXSW, Great Escape and Reading/Leeds Festival the same year have only reinforced their increasing stature, something the album will surely explode in dramatic style.

The album opens with Mary’s Revenge and takes no time in capturing the ear with vocals harmonies and electronic waves of sound. The deep Tubeway Army like electronic melody is an instant beckoning as guitars scramble the air with their discord and impressive voice. The track is an exceptional electro pop song but with a bite and intent which brings deeper intrigue and an unsettling energy to its pulsating mass. By its end the track has overwhelmed the ear with a heavy whisper to elevate it wonderfully from just mere pop.

   Colour Fade and Health, two of the previous singles come next, the first an immersive enchantment of simple heart and mesmeric beauty from vocals and music. The crystalline melodies sparkle against the thumping rhythms and niggling guitars for an undemanding but attention seeking piece of music. Health is very different, from its awakening atmosphere and flexing electro muscles the song stamps its authority across the senses with punchy rhythms and lingering acidic guitars. Both songs are the perfect entry point to the band alone but within the album gain an even fuller resonance and height.

Tracks like the newest single All Those Friendly People with its shadowed anthemic undertow, the emotive enchantment that is We Only Attack Ourselves with its wonderful dark stringed vein, and Stars and Spaceships are further highlights, though there is not a weakness or lull in the sweltering invention and consuming ingenuity anywhere. The third of these three is a mesmeric and equally disarming track which encapsulates the band and its impressive creativity alone.

Ending on the haunting and sinister I Still Love The High, a song of emotive grandeur seemingly disentangled from the sounds around it, the album is truly impressive and impossible to leave without at least one more swim within its warm beauty and darkened depths. Funeral Suits unveiled their promise with the singles, Lily of the Valley realises it and more for the most gratifying experience you could wish for.

Ringmaster 31/05/2012

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Days Of Our Decay: Electric Twilight

Days Of Our Decay is a Canadian goth/black/industrial metal band which carries many more additional flavours to its music. Theirs is a distinct and imposing sound which is sure to lure a reaction whether in the positive or negative, a band one cannot ignore or easily pass by without their incisive tentacles of inventive sound instilling itself in at least some part of you.

The Ontario band was formed in 2002 by Darvius Noctem and is a keyboard and synthesizer led dark and imposing musical project. Though originally meant as a full band the project remained as a solo entity for Noctem though alongside him there are the hypnotic talents of Demonika Demise who brings backing vocals and choir voices to the compositions. The music Noctem brings forth is a deep and expansive mix which carries the rich spices of the likes of Rammstein, Deathstars, Dimmu Borgir, and Cradle Of Filth as well as the even darker gothic flavours of Type O Negative, Sisters Of Mercy, and Fields Of The Nephilim. With an additional symphonic metal atmosphere the music wraps around the senses to chill and instigate a mesmeric rapture with its darkened poetic intrusions.

Electric Twilight is the latest album from the band and It is fair to say that though it may not find a welcoming canvas to spread out upon with everyone if imaginative and expressive blackened sounds find a place at your table this album is a full and satisfying meal for consumption. Given time and allowed to unveil its musical glory and for the initially slow to warm to vocals of Noctem to state their case as to why they should find room in your ear, the rewards are very strong and pleasing.

The title track opens up the album with a glorious deep rumbling bass sound as the keys swoop and prey upon the ear with grace and instant appeal. The vocals of Noctem stalk in almost at once, his deep resonance bouncing off the walls within the ear to be nicely balance by the warmth of the melodies and the golden backing of Demise. The music is all gothic frills, ruffles and grandeur and with the continuing predatory bass line adding a menace it all easily absorbs attention.

As the equally enjoyable Aristocratic Blood and Let’s Grow Cold Together with another hypnotic bass beckoning, spread their wings and flourishes across the ear the album begins to take a firm grip though it does offer up one element that you can see putting some off. The vocals of Noctem are great, deep and wickedly imposing like an old hypnotic evil waiting to corrupt and consume, they also are relatively singular in their delivery, though rich and dramatic they are often an overpowering distraction to the fine composing and engaging sounds surrounding them. Given time to allow they and the music to show how they combine and it is a working pleasure but one can imagine others with less endeavour to explore his creations looking for an early exit, though it is their loss admittedly. The combination and contrast of the vocals from Noctem and Demise works impressively throughout with songs like Hopeless In This Hopeless World with its emotive key work and Shallow Diving showing their enterprising and successful mix. The vocals of Demise are not just backing sounds but an instrument and essence of the music which is powerful and as expansive as the synth soars alongside her.

The best songs on the album are Only In A Place Like This with its distinct Gary Numan like melodic manipulations which sound like they were inspired by his Tubeway Army album Replicas, and the excellent Anemia. This track is easily the standout one, its vibrant and pulsating heart leading one by the hand into the wealth of inventive and impactful creativity. The song teases and invites thoughts into making their own images and visions, the atmospheric and dark shadows with the song the lead characters.

Electric Twilight is a great album which deserves a slice of attention from all with a dark and expressive heart to their music choices. If you have an emotion for any of the artists mentioned above than take some time and effort to go and introduce yourselves to Days Of Our Decay. They may not become your new favourites but certainly they and the album will become firm friends.

http://daysofourdecay.yolasite.com/

RingMaster 30/04/2012

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