Frau Pouch – All Hail Space Chicken EP

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When we were first introduced to UK post punk meddlers Frau Pouch via their excellent split release with fellow Medway band Houdini, we called them ‘the bastard evil offspring  of an illicit intrusion between The Fall and The Victorian English Gentlemens Club with some fingering from The Cramps and Turbogeist.’ Their new EP, All Hail Space Chicken or it seems also just called the Space Chicken EP, shows that that description does not truly frame their distinctive sound so now we declare the trio to be the bastard evil offspring of a mutated alliance between The Fall, Swell Maps, and The Mekons with The Victorian English Gentlemens Club and The Cramps not forgetting Gang Of Four adding their dirty little digits into the mix.

The All Hail Space Chicken EP and band will not be for everyone but if those references mentioned play with your curiosity than Frau Pouch will tease out a lifelong passion for their unique presence. Consisting of Joe Wise (guitar/vocals), Ollie Crook (bass), and Suzanne Freeman (drums), the band has continued to impress and garner a fervent fanbase through their live performances around the middle of England spreading outward but the new release places them into another spotlight of individuality which deserves to find a corner in every punk and post punk lovers psyche.

Recorded and produced by Ben Sammon alongside the band, the release soon sets free its six track psychotic dance upon the ear with opener Krakthulhu. Immediately a carnivorous bass temptress snarls at the senses with delicious rabidity in its breath whilst beats punch the ear into shape ready for the expressively quarrelsome vocals and discord scowling riffs of Wise to play within. There is a Mark E. Smith lilt to his delivery at times which only adds to the drama of the attack whilst musically the song rampages with rhythms clamping their jaws tight and a raucous sonic distrust firing an encounter which is vintage like in flavour but equally driven by current day antagonism.

The production is as caustically raw as the sound and though it at first makes you stop and assess its merits certainly against previous releases with doubt, it does compliment the brashness of the release ultimately and the great start soon expanded by the gnarly presence of Podling Party. Again the bass of Crook is irresistible, it’s growling belligerence a mighty weapon in the sound and a defences splitting barb for the passions as it forms an irrepressible spine for the guitar to throw its acrid waltz around. That Swell Maps feel is ripe here whilst at times a further Nikki Sudden hint breaks through.

Both Don and Idiocracy reap the seeds set by the earlier songs to ignite even greater rapture for their disorientating infection, the first a rhythmic donkey punch on the ear leaving an unprotected canvas for its bruising grazes of sonic caressing and the concussive consumption from Freeman to defile the senses. It is another welcome riling but everything before is left in the shade of its successor. With a certain Gang Of Four bass framework being crafted from the off and the guitar of Wise adding a flesh which also recalls the Leeds post punk giants whether intentionally or by chance, the song is the biggest highlight of the release, the track marking Frau Pouch further as one of the brightest sparks in emerging music whilst emphasising the evolution in imagination and songwriting which is grips the release. There is also a very early Killing Joke call to the track which only adds to the incendiary power of the song and its carnally propelled stroll.

The track Space Chicken lurches its quick step of bedlamic energy and psychotic dance next, guitars and bass a scurrilous blur of riffs and movement across the drum puncturing punk plain of the song. The Fall in its heart and Joy Division in its unhinged mentality, the track is another limb disjointing joy which even Ian Curtis would find dancing to problematic.

The closing predatory Aqueducts provides the perfect uncompromising wiry and discomfort forging challenge to end and sum up this fine release. The track simply sweeps you away in its accomplished and technically sculpted hypnotic whirl leaving only sheer unbridled pleasure and hunger for more behind. With only the production to bear a little with as slight labour, Chicken Space EP is a post punk/noise rock treat and one genre fans ignore at their loss.

https://www.facebook.com/FrauPouch

8.5/10

RingMaster 29/07/2013

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Turbogeist: Ancient Secrets EP

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    Having fallen in love with an Alien Girl…the first single and song from UK punk rockers Turbogeist which mischievously teased these ears two years ago, anticipation going into the Ancient Secrets EP was on full alert with arguably already preconceived  reactions ready to pounce. The five track release certainly did not let down or disappoint expectations and though it did not quite light those same fervour lit fires as did the single, the EP is a thrilling and richly satisfying piece of devilment.

The London based quartet take their influences from seventies punk and eighties hardcore with particular inspiration from the likes of The Replacements, The Damned and The Misfits. Their sound though is more open than that suggests, with loud whispers of garage punk and feisty rock n roll adding their devious temptation to the energetic and raucous flavours the band taunts and pleases with. Lyrically the songs of the band and on the EP are just as cunning, the mix of sci-fi tongue in cheek pestering wrapped around  thoughts on the ‘stuttering evolution’ of man as aggressive and devilish as the infectious musical  brawling around them. Co-produced by the band and Chris Sheldon (Pixies, Radiohead, Foo Fighters), the digital and numbered coloured vinyl 10” releases of Ancient Secrets should be the first key to a deserved wide recognition for the band, which the released of a debut album later in the year will undoubtedly feed upon.

Mermaid’s Revenge winds itself in to view with sonic flames of guitar coaxing the ear whilst rhythms and bass shuffle into TURBO_CVR2position. With all things in place the track swaggers with confidence and mischief as the vocals begin the tale of man’s ill-fated attempts to conquer nature and the siren lure of the deep blue. Aided by strong group backing shouts and a muscular prowl to the gait of the song, things become more contagious and riveting by the sinewy second with the elevated energy and scorching breath of the song now a stirring punk and rock anthem for the ear. As across the release, the song fails to find that irresistible lure of the previously mentioned single but undoubtedly holds sway over the passions with accomplished intent and antagonising presence.

The following Zero Friends stands eye to ear with the listener and makes its statement on social networking and its effect, something which always feels ironic considering the unavoidable need bands today have for the medium, but Turbogeist is a band not fearing nipping on the hand that feeds. It is a brief punch of a punk song which again lifts emotions and satisfaction to pleasing heights soon equalled by Black Hole. Immediately forging through the ear with thumping rhythms and apocalyptic declarations, the track is the band at its heaviest and vigorously potent, a classic metal wind guiding its hardcore soaked concentrated aggression. Already across the EP there is diversity to the sound within the distinct umbrella sound of Turbogeist which excites and fires up expectations for the impending album.

The opening to Up Front instantly feeds the inner fervour with uncompromising bone splitting drum beats and a gravelly primal bass grind which seduces with predatory persuasion, soon joined by taunting vocals adding a tease through repetitive announcements. It is an inciting entrance which explodes into a prime punk abrasion to spark further greed in the passions for its uncomplicated yet insightful sonic and rhythmic hooks and barbed company. Ending as the favourite track on Ancient Secrets, it seals any doubts, which were barely audible, into a lost cause.

Closing song Rats is a final riot for an ardour seeping fever to devour, the stormy union of classic rock and garage punk a last infectious entrapment on the EP. Released via Spinefarm Records, Ancient Secrets confirms that our earlier set in infatuation was well placed and probably set to find deeper lust ahead with the debut album. Cross Every Time I Die, Red Tape, The Cramps, and Hagfish and you do not get Turbogeist but you come closer to their individual sound.

http://turbogeist.com/

8/10

RingMaster 21/03/2013

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Always The Quiet Ones: Drought / Ghost In The Filament

Though only in August, our list of certain singles of the year has meant shoes and socks have had to be removed to keep a tally of our claims so far. Obviously it is too early to really make declarations though here we have a single which possibly leaves all in the shade. It comes from UK rock band Always The Quiet Ones and is formed of two tracks, Drought and Ghost In The Filament. Quite simply it is one of the most exciting and exhilarating things to come along in recent months and though we will keep a rein on claims it is hard to think to date of many singles which rival it.

Always The Quiet Ones first drew a wave of feverish attention with their debut EP Freakshow from not only us but from media and fans countrywide. It was a release which once it took hold led to a deep connection and near adoration of their sound though the new songs have ignited things to an even  higher intensity. Formed in 2010, the Liverpool quintet of vocalist Blas Barragan Jr., guitarists Joe Danher and Adam Lucas, bassist Chris Nicholls, and drummer James Lorenzo, took no time in owning audiences through their live performances which saw them sharing stages with the likes of Deaf Havana, Mojo Fury, The Safety Fire Axis Of, Turbogeist and Fighting With Wire. As mentioned their EP drew strong responses upon its release earlier this year with the band seeing heavy play on Total Rock Radio, XFM and Kerrang! Radio, as well as extensive press coverage. Already the new single has been eagerly featured on The Reputation Radio Show and upon its release August 20th is sure to fire a real acceleration of acclaim upon the band.

The promo for the release opens with the line ‘Pounding on your front door like the bastard love child of Tool and early Biffy Clyro…’, and you can definitely apply that to the song Drought though the swapping of Biffy Clyro for The Manic Street Preachers would be more accurate. The track opens with slapping beats on the senses from Lorenzo brought with the eagerness of kids playing the old classic prank though there is no running away involved. Group shouts bring the hairs on the back of the neck to attention as they scorch ears with tribal intensity, before things erupt in to a storm of feisty riffs and melodic incision to further rile up the passions. Things take a breath as the band settle into an emotive vein, the bass of Nicholls throbbing with a deep resonance amidst the sharp enticing play of Danher and Lucas. The vocals of Barragan Jr. are immense continuing on from their strong showing on Peepshow but with even greater expansive expression and control.  There is a definite James Dean Bradfield feel to his tone and delivery, the emotive feel and expressive power he brings to the songs immensely striking and impressive.  The track expands with angular strides in sound and energy as it explores its limits, its muscles and invention sprawling over the senses. The track ends as it begins to leave one breathless and fully agitated in the very best way.

Ghost In The Filament makes its introduction in a less dramatic way but with just as much infectious force with the guitars twisting and immersing the ear in sonic imagination. Again it takes a step back in intensity to let the bass stomp with its hungry breath whilst the vocals hungrily prowl and growl over the senses. Distinctly different from its companion but equally as mighty the track is a fiery captivation, its flames of imagination and intelligence igniting the deepest satisfaction. There is great rock music and there is the place where Always The Quiet Ones goes where the word brilliance seems the only appropriate one. The song as does Drought , leaves one on the edge of exhaustion and urgently eager to hear more.

Both songs show a band improving at a gallop and set to explode UK rock music into places it has not graced in a long time. Always The Quiet Ones really are that good and getting better all the time.

www.facebook.com/alwaysthequietones

Listen to Always The Quiet Ones on The Bone Orchard podcast from The Reputation Radio Show .

RingMaster 16/08/2012

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Houdini/Frau Pouch: Split EP

Houdini

May 28th sees the return of an irresistible friend and the reason for a new bout of infatuated stalking. Let us elaborate. That date is when the simply stunning new split EP from UK bands Houdini and Frau Pouch is unleashed upon the world and it is destined to leave ears and hearts blistered and awash in salacious wanting. Houdini is a trio which are no strangers to RR and a band who without fail always ignites the hottest fires with their scuzz punk creations. Frau Pouch though are completely new in name and sound here and easily the sexiest and most essential conjurors of sadistic dirty post punk scratchings heard in a very long time, and the instigators of energies and wicked desires that we never knew existed.

To say the EP is impressive is an understatement, alone the duo of songs from each band would bring excitement and heaps of enthused attention but together it creates a release which shows the deep quality within UK indie music if you go beneath the artificial surface.

Houdini set a flurry of ears and emotions blazing with their brilliant second single Smokers Cough though their first release What A Fire, and its more singular punk sound was not exactly slow in announcing the promise of the band. Smokers Cough was stunning, an instant contagious pull into their inventive and addictive garage punk scuzz rock sound which still has the same magnetic power two years on. The following Deadlines EP only confirmed the acclaim their debut release deservedly earned but with the two songs on the new EP the band has brewed all their invention and ability into a blitz of garage/punk rock triumph. Don’t Look Down leaps upon the ear with vindictive riffs and intimidating rhythms, guitarist Greg Webster, drummer Tom Bonner, and bassist Giles Barrett all taunting with energy and intent whilst crafty melodies wind themselves around the senses from underneath the powerful and muscular attack. Once more the band find a chorus and line of hooks as infectious as any germ to make a mockery of what most pop punk bands come up with.

The siren pull of that song is replaced with a bristling cloud of electrified scuzz in Your Dog Is Not A Horse. With a meaner heart and darker intensity the song mugs the senses with heavy riffs and smog like energy to outstanding effect. Imagine Reuben, The Fall and first generation Faith No More and you get an idea, it is immense.

Frau Pouch is a different beast entirely though from the same overall stable as their partners in crime. Another trio in the irrepressible shape of Joe Wise (guitar/vocals), James Thompson (bass), and Suzanne Freeman (drums), the band incite all the wrong feelings and mischievous intent, and it is wonderful. The best way to describe them is as the bastard evil offspring from an illicit intrusion between The Fall and The Victorian English Gentlemens Club with some fingering from The Cramps and Turbogeist. The band thump and bruise the senses with highly charged melodies and belligerent riffs all soaked in vintage discord and infected defilement, the result pure magic. Their first song Sexy Architecture quizzes and attacks synapses with unbridled choppy serpentine riffs and insane melodic scrapings lighting them up like fireworks whilst the  vocals come over like an over exited Mark E Smith as they tease and twist the words through the ear.

Second track Sexy Mittens is even better as the band add some psyche punk to the mixture. The song prowls and sways with hypnotic posture, its energy a wanton violation upon the ear with tempestuous acidic ingenuity. Still reminding of the previously mentioned bands you can add some mesmeric noise tease from the likes of The Gaa Gaas and Engerica to the frenetic bedlam of discord. With both songs barely seeing two minutes in their binoculars it offers up the only gripe as one could listen to this for hours and not find a lull in the pleasure.

If there is only two bands you check out over the weeks ahead make it these two. Houdini and Frau Pouch have combined for one of the most stirring and invigorating, not to mention brilliant releases so far this year and most likely for the months and months ahead

http://houdinisaur.bandcamp.com/

http://www.facebook.com/FrauPouch

RingMaster 25/05/2012

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Always The Quiet Ones: Freak Show

If there was ever a release to epitomise the term a grower than it is the new EP from Liverpool rock band Always The Quiet Ones. The first couple of listens to Freak Show and one hears a strong and well crafted trio of songs which engage instantly if not distinctly. What it does not immediately reveal is how infectious that same music is and how once one gives it more attention it will return to mind often and far away from the disc itself. Though not a perfect release subsequent plays place Freak Show deeper and firmer into the heart with especially two of the songs within its expressive walls, lifting the spirit and emotions to lofty levels.

Formed in the later part of 2010, the quintet of Blas Barragan Jr. (vocals), Joe Danher (guitar), Adam Lucas (guitar), Chris Nicholls (bass) and James Lorenzo (drums), hit the ground running with lively and ear catching live shows supporting the likes of Deaf Havana, Mojo Fury, Axis Of and Turbogeist. With a show as impressive and unforgettable as their sounds the band soon gained strong attention from fans and undergrounds media alike. With the release of Freak Show the band are surely about to stir up the UK and accelerate the enthusiasm already gaining momentum to an even greater height.

The EP opens with Sign Of The Times and no reticence in spicing up the ear with commanding rhythms, wanton riffs and melodies to tease and mesmerise. The track twists and turns with great imagination and diversity. The inventive beats of Lorenzo lead the track up and down distinct avenues whilst the bass lines of Nicholls cajole the ear to jump on board the heartily driven express train of sound. Whilst the guitars of Lucas and Danher rage and intrigue to equal measure and often at the same time vocalist Barragan Jr. rides the sound with an expressive hard rock type delivery which grabs and sets off the imagination. The song sets a stunning start to the release which leaves a formidable challenge for the next track to follow.

Valentina sadly fails to rise up to the question. The song is actually very good but with the band taking a more straight forward approach with it there is not the inspirational and originality to it as so apparent on the opener. The melodies within it are graceful and the vocals once more dripping emotive skill. Musically the band is impressive and really there is not anything wrong with the song at all, but there is something missing from it which lit up Sign Of The Times and returns with full force in the closing song on the EP. With a chorus that digs deep and guitars which scorch the senses the song is certainly one that is not easily forgotten once it lays down its last note though.

Title track Freak Show completes the trio and is the best song offered. From a momentously striking mouth watering melodic crawl the song evolves into a muscular beast that ripples attitude and might within a chorus and crescendo of sound that envelopes the ear like a tempest. Switching back to the mellower tone and intent it feels like one is in the eye of the storm soon to be buffeted again by the delicious intrusion of heavy riffs, caustic melodies and driving rhythms. The song growls and snarls at times and in others offers a mischievous but inviting smile, all intended to lead you into the maelstrom of creativity, madness, and wonderfully unpredictable sounds within.

Many seem to cite early Biffy Clyro and the likes of A Perfect Circle and Tool as influences in the sound of Always The Quiet Ones and one can see that especially with the darker elements of the latter but the one band that seems to lurk within the songs, especially the addictive and expressive side was Manic Street Preachers, throughout the way the melodies and songs attached themselves with an eager and irresistible grip echoed the Welsh band.

Freak Show is quite simply excellent and a sure doorway into the heart and vast invention of Always The Quiet Ones. With already a double-A sided single planned for just a mere few weeks ahead, 2012 could and should be the year the band twists us all to their way of thinking.

RingMaster 02/03/2012

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