Hello Bear – I Don’t Know… It’s Fun Though, Isn’t It?

hello-bear-promo-shot_RingMasterReview

A trap waiting to grab your imagination and energy, I Don’t Know… It’s Fun Though, Isn’t It? more than lives up to its title with its bouncy persona and rousing spirit. The new EP from British quartet Hello Bear, the four-track stomp is a sparkling burst of power/punk pop which may not carry major surprises but is as fresh and vibrant as anything escaping the year so far.

Formed in 2010, the Norwich bred band take inspiration found in the likes of Weezer, Pavement, Los Campesinos!, Refused, The Bronx, Presidents of the USA, McFly, Johnny Foreigner, and Dananananaykroyd into their own highly flavoursome exploits. Invigorating as a live presence which has seen Hello Bear play with bands such as Los Campesinos, Coasts, Darwin Deez, The Futureheads, and The King Blues, their sound is an ear grabber which now refuses to be ignored within the band’s new offering. The press release accompanying the EP suggests it carries “their most exciting material to date.” Being our introduction to Hello Bear it is hard to confirm or argue, but exciting the Lee Batiuk (Deaf Havana, Trash Boat, Hopeless Records) produced release is and relentlessly enjoyable.

I Don’t Know… It’s Fun Though, Isn’t It? opens up with new single We Held Hands Once, But Then She Got Embarrassed, the collective energy and enterprise of Luke Bear (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Mary Bear (guitar), Tom Bear (bass), and Daryl Bear (drums) hitting the floor running. A lone strum entices first being quickly joined by the potent tones of Luke before the song jumps on ears with eager riffs and canny rhythms. In no time it is into an infectious stroll with hooks and melodies uniting to charm attention before brewing and finally expelling a virulent contagion through its irresistible chorus. There is no escaping joining those offering Blink 182 meets Weezer as a reference for the tenaciously lively sound of song and band; add a touch of Super Happy Fun Club and The All-American Rejects though and the mix is even closer to the rousing incitement.

hello-bear-cover-artwork_RingMasterReviewThe following Mmm Cheque Please! makes a just as striking entrance, another single strain of guitar bait making the first lure, rampant beats and Luke’s inviting vocals the next  before it all blooms into another infectious canter. Daryl’s beats resonate as they land and Tom’s basslines grumble as much as they seduce while Mary and Luke share a tapestry of hooks and melodic endeavour which only leads to a greater appetite for song and release. Admittedly the track lacks the final spark which ignites its predecessor but leaves pleasure bubbling eagerly as does Dirty Weekend with its more restrained but wholly magnetic presence. Repeating a prowess which confirms Hello Bear masterful at creating big choruses and ripe hooks which simply infest the psyche, the song lays lustfully upon the senses.

The EP ends as its starts with a track which just whips up the passions. Attack Hug Influences is addiction for the ears, a slice of rock pop which seizes hold of body and spirit in a breathless romp complete with spicy hooks, tenacious rhythms, and a vocal coaxing which virtually forces listener involvement.

It is a boisterous end to a release which demands a party is woven around its presence each and every time. No moments of major uniqueness, all irresistible fun fuelled ingenuity; that is I Don’t Know… It’s Fun Though, Isn’t It?, one of the most enjoyable adventures this year.

I Don’t Know… It’s Fun Though, Isn’t It? is released November 11th

http://www.hellobear.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/hellobear/    https://twitter.com/hellobearband

Pete RingMaster 08/11/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Asylums – Killer Brain Waves

Photo by the Cool Thing Records sparkplug Kana Waiwaiku

Photo by the Cool Thing Records sparkplug Kana Waiwaiku

Amongst the most highly anticipated releases this year here in the office, maybe the most eagerly awaited was the debut album from UK sonic punksters Asylums. Having been hooked on the Southend-on-Sea hailing quartet’s frenetic and devilish jangle since being infested by Wet Dream Fanzine EP within the first throes of 2015, a more than keen and impatient appetite has been brewing and now we can say it has been well worth the hours pacing the floor waiting for Killer Brain Waves.

Taking a snap at any and everything with a mischievous smile on their creative faces, band and release is the kind of sonic devilment ears and music were evolved for. Offering twelve tracks which flirt and bite, tease and seduce, with an imagination and eccentricity found in Bedlam, Killer Brain Waves announces Asylums as one of music’s most essential and even more so irresistibly thrilling propositions. It is a collection of songs within which sarcasm and discontent are frequent visitors as too a virulent dose of humour and fun driven imagination. Musically, Asylums recall in heart and enterprise the likes of Swell Maps, The Dickies, and Supergrass. At times essences also remind of bands such as Weezer and We Are The Physics but as shown a dozen times over, all are hues in a devilry uniquely Asylums.

art_RingMasterReviewMixing a handful of treats from their previous EPs/singles with new slices of angular revelry, the foursome of vocalist/guitarist Luke Branch, guitarist Jazz Miell, drummer Henry Tyler, and bassist Michael Webster open up Killer Brain Waves with the mighty Second Class Sex. Its first breath brings a senses swamping tide of meaty rhythms and nagging riffs engaged in a toxicity of sound which simply infests the psyche. Though its spreads its body into a more expansive tempting, that energy never diminishes. Webster’s bass groans and growls in ears; a great lure matched by the swinging intent of Tyler as the swirling sonic seduction of the guitars lay their trap. With vocals just as potent and a touch of White Noise era XTC to the mix, it is a stunning start to the release, and one not losing a beat as I’ve Seen Your Face In a Music Magazine steps up next.

The second track is just as eager to invade body and thoughts, using a lower gear energy wise as a spicy wiry groove entangles ears and rhythms cast in another rousing and pulsating enticement. Melody and discord court the outstanding tone and delivery of Branch, each adding to the glorious trespass with a tangy hook just icing on the cake. New wave meets pop punk to give some clue to its ingenuity, the song departs so Joy In a Small Wage can share its ‘mellower’ charms. The track almost floats over the listener, keys washing its path though equally there is a darker edge in tone and another beguiling bassline to keep song and ears on their toes. That Weezer reference is arguably at its most potent here but again the result is, within a near perfect pop song, something belonging only to one band.

Bad Influence rumbles as it croons next, plaintive vocals and dirty riffs aligning with a heavy bass enticing to create another epidemic of swinging enterprise before the even more magnificent Wet Dream Fanzine leaps in. It is impossible not to join in with every Asylums song, and especially with this gem. Hips and instincts are grabbed straight away by the opening hook and swinging rhythms, vocal chords soon after as Branch leads a jangle of rhythmic agitation and funk infested bouncing clad in another fiercely tantalising weave of Miell’s sonic invention. A favourite since its appearance on that same named EP last year, the song continues to ignite tingles; as too the following The Death of Television. A nest of sonic vipers and stabbing beats, all with rebellious intent in their hearts, the song is one minute and twenty six seconds of creative agitation demanding similarly off kilter movement and involvement in return for its rare incitement.

The heavy punk ‘n’ roll of Monosyllabic Saliva comes next, its body a prowling beast tempered perfectly by the harmonic quality of Branch’s voice. Fuzzy with a thick feel to its atmosphere, the track is a brooding slice of pop rock veined by the ever insistent grooves and sonic tendrils escaping the guitars. Its dark tone is contrasted by the pop punk saunter of Born To Not Belong, a song which feels like it’s an already known friend as it makes its first proposal but simultaneously adds another string to the albums creative harp.

Necessary Appliances soon has ears greedy, the song twisting and turning with a more conservative sound compared to its companions but still unveiling a tapestry of imagination fuelled endeavour before Sunday Commuters and Missing Persons keep the thrills going. The first of the pair is another more controlled slice of pop rock with great sixties inspired harmonies taking the listener on a stroll of excitable rhythms and fuzz lined tempting while the second seduces with its Weezer/Supergrass hued canter around another commanding bassline and crisply landed beats.

The album closes with the outstanding punk raw challenge of Slacker Shopper, a grouchy and thickly aired proposal which as so many just hits the spot. The band’s most aggressive and irritable offering yet, it is a brilliant end to Killer Brain Waves providing a final new shade to their sound and invention, one we hope to hear more of. There is also a hidden track which we will call Butterfly just because the word is repeated most often. It too shows a fresh side to the Asylums sound; imagine the Beach Boys or Walker Brothers doing shoegaze and you get a hint of the great extra gift within the album.

We expected good things from Asylums with Killer Brain Waves but the album simply out does any expectations with ease. For fans and newcomers, Asylums and their first full-length are simply a must.

Killer Brain Waves is our now via Cool Thing Records @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/killer-brain-waves/id1105949093 and other stores.

http://www.asylumsband.com   https://www.facebook.com/asylumsuk   https://twitter.com/Asylumsband

Pete RingMaster 24/08/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Astral Cloud Ashes – Too Close to the Noise Floor

Album Art_RingMasterReview

With three attention grabbing and imagination sparking singles under the belt, Astral Cloud Ashes unveil debut album Too Close to the Noise Floor. It is a collection of songs which arouse and serenade the senses, often simultaneously as the project’s mesmeric songwriting and emotive melodic elegance seduces.

Astral Cloud Ashes is the new project of Jersey bred songwriter/musician Antony Walker, previously better known as one half of the Channel Islands hailing Select All Delete Save As. Having already created music under the name ALPA, amongst other monikers, Walker quickly sparked attention to his latest project last year with first single Too Close To The Noise Floor, the now title track to the new album. Primarily a solo project but with backing vocalist Jason Neil a permanent fixture in the band, Astral Cloud Ashes draws on inspirations ranging from The Cure, Bloc Party, Interpol, At the Drive In, Mars Volta, and Say Anything as well as flavours bred in indie and alternative rock/pop. Equally though, the album shows bold ventures into more progressive and post rock pastures without losing the instinctive catchiness and melodic romancing found in those earlier propositions.

Mixed across its tracks by Gareth [The Fold], Edd HartwellPaul Miles, Daniel Szanto,  and Walker himself, with the mastering undertaken by Tim Turan, Too Close to the Noise Floor opens with The Man I Had To Become. Instantly a temptation of bubbling guitar captures ears, the coaxing quickly joined by a wave of rhythmic jabbing and a thicker weave of melodic guitar and harmonious vocals. It is a gentle yet boisterous affair easily whipping up the imagination and spirit with Walker’s distinctive tones the mellow flame within a more combustible web of enterprise. It is a great mix which marked those early singles but already seems to have blossomed within the album into a more adventurous and confident entangling of the listener.

The great start is followed by the album’s title track, Too Close to the Noise Floor showing a rawer, more imposing energy as it takes the imagination into the intimacy and adventure of cosmonautics but equally involves “family values and unwanted first-world paranoia” in its energetically hugged theme. Punching its rhythmic and contagious essences home, it also carries a hazy climate to its atmosphere with the bass a deliciously throaty lure amongst nothing but virulent temptation. Embracing a XTC feel and Melvins like revelry, the track has body and appetite eagerly involved in swift time.

Grateful for the Ghost In Our House steps forward next and as the last track showed a more formidable presence to its predecessor, this song reveals a fiercer predation to its opening and subsequent invention within another wash of suggestive melodies and smouldering dynamics. Though not in the actual sound, it is easy to see where an influence of The Cure comes into play, Walker creating an emotional and musical drama which has the senses riding a roller coaster.

Recent single Get Real follows, strolling along with the ever present catchiness which Walker conjures with seeming ease across every track. Guitars pop and bubble throughout the song as rhythmic tenacity creating an anthemic frame to the vocal and melodic ingenuity before Flashback takes over. A calmer and mellower engagement but even more emotively forceful, the song caresses ears with a lone guitar melody before being joined by a heavily shadowed bassline aligned to a broader floating melodic enterprise. Vocally, Walker provides an introspective narrative as provocative as the poetic almost volcanic fuzziness of his guitar. Adding another individual shade and hue to the album, the track shows the broader landscape of Walker’s songwriting and an intimacy, whether personal or observational, which fuels his words.

With drummer Max Saidi guesting, Avant Blah! strolls boldly in next, its lo-fi pop ‘n’ roll blending Weezer infection with Pavement-esque invention while its successor Lites almost lumbers into view in comparison with the brooding bass and irritable riffs to the fore. In all songs there is a great repetitious quality brewed by Walker, here almost coming over drone like to great effect around the solemn melody and the similarly melancholic vocals. As it expands though, a wave of rich textures and rousing energies flood the song, returning throughout the low-key yet thickly enjoyable, almost imposing encounter.

The excellent This Once Great Place has an air of The Cure again with its atmospheric landscape, reminding of the A Forest/Pornography era of the trio across its own captivating journey before the equally impressive Housing in a Bubble makes a grab for best track with its more punkish/grungy roar of sound. Everything about it has a snarl not heard on the album previously; revealing more of the diversity the release carries whilst stirring up a fresh greed in ears and pleasure.

Our Holiday brings Too Close to the Noise Floor to a sombre and enthralling close, the track initially a dark sigh but soon building its own catchy canter loaded with spiky hooks and spicy melodies around another slightly foreboding and compelling bassline. Once more thoughts of Robert Smith and co are sparked but again as a flavour in something individual to Astral Cloud Ashes. It is a riveting end to a striking and increasingly impressive first album from Walker.

The clues to the project’s potential were there in its first trio of singles, and now confirmed and partly realised by Too Close to the Noise Floor. The feeling is that there is plenty more to come and to be explored within that promise, and going by the strength of this thoroughly enjoyable offering, we are all in for many treats ahead.

Too Close to the Noise Floor is released July 11th @ http://apple.co/1RFvoL8

https://www.facebook.com/astralcloudashes   https://astralcloudashes.bandcamp.com/   https://twitter.com/AstralCloudAsh

Pete RingMaster 08/07/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Unbridled arousals and stomps: exploring The Conniption Fits.

The Conniption Fits_RingMasterReview

Formed in 2004, The Conniption Fits create their own ear catching mix of alternative, progressive, and indie pop; rock ‘n’ roll which rouses the senses and imagination and has so across a host of releases. Drawing comparisons to the likes of Jimmy Eat World, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Silversun Pickups, U2, The Police, and David Bowie and having shared stages with artists such as Weezer, Panic at the Disco, Kings Of Leon, Train, 3 Doors Down, Fastball, Mighty Bosstones, 7 Mary Three, Blue Oyster Cult, Mountain, Warrant, and Cinderella among many over time, the New Hampshire hailing trio make a noise which easily sparks the appetite. Grabbing the chance to learn more about the band, we had the pleasure of chatting with member and The Conniption Fits co-founder Stevens.

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started and what brought you all together?

That’s a long story.  I’m Stevens Blanchard, lead singer guitar player for The Conniption Fits.  The drummer, Shawn Snyder and I met back when we were kids.  My current band needed a drummer and he was a friend of a friend, not to mention a fantastic drummer with tons of attitude.  When that band broke up, we founded The Conniption Fits.  Jamie Hosley, or bass player, came along when we were looking for a new bassist.  Again, he had a reputation as being “the man” when it comes to bass, naturally we had to have him.

So The Conniption Fits is not the first band for you? Has previous projects had any impact on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?

I think I just answered that above, but yes.  We had a previous band, Motorplant, which did quite well for about 8 years.  You can still find all of the music that Motorplant produced all over the web including iTunes and Spotify.  When Motorplant disbanded, we wanted to head in a slightly more alternative direction.

What inspired the band name?

If the conniption fits, wear it.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

Far from it…We just enjoy playing and entertaining.  As far as the sound goes, I just want to create ear candy.  Songs with depth sonically and lyrically that are accessible and a bit unpredictable at the same time.

Do the same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?

Always evolving…You can tell album to album.  Every record seems to represent where our minds were at musically at that period of time.  I’m always hearing new bands that are doing really cool things that we want to incorporate into our own stuff.  I’d say we listen as much, or more, than we play.

TCF2Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

We deliberately try new things.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  On our second album, A Heaping Helping of Perspective the guys thought it would be cool if we recorded live without a click track.  I hated the idea, being a stickler for tempo.  It led to a different album and different songs for sure.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

Too many to mention, from Jazz to Metal…Speaking for myself I’d say bands like Nothing But Thieves, The Shins, Bear Hands, Coldplay, Eve6, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Kongos…  I love creative rock/pop/alternative songs that still have a hook, but avoid the same four chords and progressions that are so typical.

Is there a particular process to the band’s songwriting?

I am usually the idea man then we flush it out as a group.  Sometimes I’ll record the whole song then we will replace the drums and bass later. I’m into results; I don’t care how we get there.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

Life; I’ll sing lyric variations to a demo while I’m out for a run.  I usually find cool ideas that way.  I also hear the parts that suck and need to be changed.

Can you give us some background to your latest release?

I Need You (Ay-O) is an old relate that became new again when it started treating on-line. We’ve always loved the song and are happy to have it finally breaking through the “clutter”.

Give us some insight to its theme.

I need you is about wanting to leave a relationship, but continuing to be drawn back in; then dealing with the fact that needing somebody can be for very different reasons.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

I own the studio we record in.  It’s an amazing luxury because we are not “on the clock” burning money.  So we just show up with nothing and play.  Often I’ll have scraps of ideas ready to jump off from.

Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?

Yeah, live is where we bring it.  We entertain.  We always have a great time and that usually transfers to the audience.  It’s also the only real way we’ve made any money.  So we play live to survive, and we love it.

It is not easy for any band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?TCF_RingMasterReview

Not easy, but work hard and offer something great.  It doesn’t even have to be unique, just great.  Make people say “holy shit!”, and you’ll do fine.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date?

The internet grants everyone access, even the garbage.  I think we handle it well, but there is that constant drive needed to stand out in all the noise.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Check out our website, http://www.conniptionfits.com/ to listen to all of our songs for free and look for our new EP this summer!

https://www.facebook.com/conniptionfits/  https://twitter.com/conniption_fits

Pete RingMaster

The Ringmaster Review 01/07/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Gavin Chappell-Bates – We Are The Ones

GCB_RingMasterReview

The beginning of the year saw British singer songwriter/guitarist, Gavin Chappell-Bates unveil the video for new track Refugees. It was an ear catching offering also providing a teaser for the Cambridge musician’s forthcoming debut album. Now the release of We Are The Ones is upon us and fair to say if that earlier proposition spiced up the tastes buds there is plenty more highly flavoursome goodness to be found and feasted upon in the thoroughly enjoyable album.

The musical desire and devotion of Chappell-Bates is said to go back to the age of eleven and being inspired by Sgt. Pepper, an ‘awakening’ backed by “ his musical friends and a few early lessons by Ezio’s Booga.” Learning his craft playing in various local bands  which included Bokaata, The Deadlines, We Are Godzilla, and Up & Atom , Chappell-Bates decided to pursue a solo career in 2014, drawing on influences listed as The Beatles, Feeder, Aerosmith, Buddy Holly, The Bee Gees, Smashing Pumpkins, Our Lady Peace, and majorly Manic Street Preachers for his own creative adventures. The following year saw first EP, Black Holes released. Its attention provoking presence was followed by the singles 95 and We Are The Ones, each luring more eager ears the way of his emergence. Equally live he has been sparking strong praise and support around the UK, playing venues such as Bury St. Edmunds’ The Hunter Club, The Rescue Rooms in Nottingham, and in London the likes of Hoxton Bar and Sebright Arms.

Already earning strong radios play on BBC Introducing, BBC 6 Music, and XFM among many others and being was nominated for Best Male Solo Artist in the 2015 NMG Awards, Chappell-Bates is looking to now spark national awareness, something We Are The Ones certainly has the potential to give a potent nudge to. Produced by James Coppolaro, who with drummer Rob Gibiaqui (Sergey Lazarev, The Pinker Tones) plays alongside Chappell-Bates on the release, the album swiftly has ears keenly attentive with opener Church Of Rock ‘N’ Roll. A rousing and contagious slice of sound boisterously living up to its title, the song springs punk riffs and spicy hooks on ears as Chappell-Bates’ vocals lead its lively anthemic pull. It is a punchy and infectious start setting up an eagerness to hear more which the following All Ways more than satisfies.

Art_RingMasterReviewThe second song equally has an infectious swing to its presence whilst pursuing a more melodic/alternative rock imagination in its energetic persuasion. As with many songs there is a familiarity to the sound and nature of the song but equally a fresh essence that highlights Chappell-Bates’ own invention, the following 95 another example. It carries an air of the decade of rock spawning its title yet casts a vibrant pop ‘n’ roll flavouring which has the catchiness of modern rock pop flirtation. Its pleasing presence is matched in success by Refugee next, its initial gentle melodic caress growing in weight and intensity as keys shimmer in the background. Soon that brewing intent erupts in a fiery crescendo and chorus before repeating the cycle to engaging effect with Chappell-Bates’ vocals again a potent hue to his songwriting and its colourful realisation. A more subtle but increasingly provocative texture is provided by guest violinist Prue Ward and cellist Anna Scott, their evocative and here melancholic imagination a great spicing colouring a handful of tracks hereon in.

The album’s title track is another; its melodically reflective balladry evolving into a warm and inescapably catchy rock pop canter framed and steered by a robust and tenacious web of beats before making way for the acoustic tempting of Writing In The Sand and in turn the delicious spirit sparking incitement of Black Holes. The first of the songs has a sunny air to its infectious gait and a smouldering intimacy to its vocal and lyrical embrace whilst the second immediately has ears and imagination gripped with its opening throaty bassline and subsequent tone. A Nirvana-esque feel coats the beginning of the song whilst its emerging virulent stroll lies somewhere between Weezer and The Presidents of the United States of America, all essences combining to colour an encounter whipping hips and voice into eager involvement as it takes favourite song accolades on the album.

Dead End Disco Streets brings a great electronic spicing to its magnetic and physically buoyant temptation, indie and electro pop flavours uniting to embrace and dance with the equally spirited vocals before Follow The Light unveils its own animated serenade which dances with ears rather than laying sentimentally upon them though it is certainly emotively shaped and fuelled. As if any more proof was needed, the song is further evidence that Chappell-Bates knows how to write pop and rock songs which simply stir attention, proof swiftly backed by The Finest Hour and its Big Country like landscape of melodic and folkish hues.

The album concludes with firstly Last Angel, an emotionally intense country spiced ballad featuring the guest vocals of Kathryn James and keys of Jamie Brooks, and finally the acoustic/folk pop sparkle of Starlight. Both songs have brightness to their sentiment loaded proposals, especially the last which with a hug of strings is edgy and provocative as the best pop ballads always are.

Certainly some songs ignited more lusty reactions than others, but from its first note to last syllable, We Are The Ones is a proposition that can only be enjoyed from an artist with the potential to made big strides in the UK rock/pop scene.

We Are The Ones is released April 8th through R*E*P*E*A*T Records and @ https://gavinchappellbates.bandcamp.com/album/we-are-the-ones

http://gavinchappellbates.com/   https://www.facebook.com/GavinChappellBates   https://twitter.com/GChappellBates

Pete RingMaster 07/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Eureka California – Versus

EC _RingMasterReview

With songs as sonically dysfunctional as the lives in their themes, flavours and attitude at times bordering on dissonant, Versus is one of those albums which nags and pesters until it has attention involved in its mischievous challenge. The release is the new and third album from US garage rock/pop duo Eureka California, a band from Athens, Georgia who over the past three years or so has increasingly stirred up eager fuss for their sonic psychosis around an intimate and self-referential lyrical devilry.

Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Jake Ward and drummer Marie A. Uhler, Eureka California made its first mark with the Modern Times EP in 2011, the band at that point a trio. The following year saw the release of debut album Big Cats Can Swim; its awareness stoking success then potently built on by firstly a 7” split with Good Grief in 2013 but more so by well-received second album Crunch a year later. The pair of encounters also saw the band as the duo now luring fresh spotlights with Versus, their first offering recorded in a studio.

It opens with Eureka California’s Night In, a pop jangle with thumping beats and a hungry horde of riffs around the expressive tones of Ward. There is a seventies power pop/punk feel to the track and a raucous feistiness which sets the theme and tone for the album. Like The Undertones/Only Ones meets The Hives whilst spaced out on toxic pizza, the song is a rousing start to the album swiftly backed up by the just as addictive Sign My Name With An X. It too has rebellion in its creative belly and belligerence in its touch as it engineers another slice of bracing garage punk pop. Imagining Melvins and The Replacements colluding with The Super Happy Fun Club gives a hint at the spirit raising, imagination inciting exploit. As all tracks bar two, the song is a swift, psyche infesting shot of creative adrenaline barely touching two let alone three minutes; just diving in, rushing out, and leaving greed loaded exhaustion in its wake.

The fuzzy pop ‘n’ roll of Another Song About TV strolls in next, its initial lure a scuzzy blaze which settles down for a hook stocked flirtation of guitar and voice. Uhler’s rhythms have a less imposing nature to their swings this time around but certainly have meat to their jabs and devilment in their invention across the brief and contagiously sweet incitement before it disappears in an instant to be replaced by the dirtier and more sonically irritable Sober Sister. The track soon has ears bristling in pleasure and thoughts grabbing the lyrical prowess and tenacity which swings through digs and humour at the turn of a syllable whilst spotlighting moments and experiences seemingly twisted from the listener’s own.

art _RingMasterReviewThrough the grouchy bounce of Ghosts, growling sounds and vibrant vocals uniting to seriously captivate, and the acoustic off-kilter charm of Fear and Loathing in the Classic City, band and album just tighten their grip on ears and appetite. The following Cobwebs on the Wind then sees them uncage more rapacious riffs and chords within a muggy and forcibly enticing invitation to body and spirit before Caffeine lays its raw balladry on ears with initially melancholic causticity which brews up into a raucous tempest of noise and emotion.

Surf rock meets post punk is one aspect of the compelling Realizing Your Actuality which steps up next, its early sultry coaxing over steely rhythms irresistible and only reinforced by the corrosive crescendos which erupt then fall before taking over the track’s thick and inescapable persuasion for extended periods. Weezer-esque in its calm, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club toned in its predacious exploits, the track adds another big peak to the successes of Versus.

Another acoustic incitement in the reflective shape of Everybody Had a Hard Year steers eager ears the way of album closer I Will Write Mine Over Potomac and its own melodic caress leading to ravenous sonic and rhythmic ferocity. A song about “loneliness and fraying nerves”; the track ebbs and flows in intensity with thoughtful calms and a raw agitation which almost grinds on the senses. Though finding it a slow burner compared to others within Versus, it is an enthralling proposal which just gets under the skin as deeply as the album succeeds as a whole.

It might be pushing it to say that Versus is going to be the most unique album you hear this year yet everything about it is fresh and seeps Eureka California distinctiveness. Plus it rocks like a bitch and that is more than good enough for us.

Versus is out now via HHBTM Records and @ https://eurekacalifornia.bandcamp.com/album/versus

http://eurekacaliforniaband.com/   https://www.facebook.com/eurekacalifornia   https://twitter.com/eurekacalifone

Pete RingMaster 06/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Mellor – Damage/ Joy

Mellor_RingMasterReview

Formed in 2011, British quartet Mellor has earned some high praise and interest from fans and media alike, and there are plenty of reasons to expect things to continue and get busier around the band with the release of new EP Damage/ Joy. Four tracks which leap and bound into the imagination, the EP is a rousing slice of kinetic indie pop easy to get a healthy taste for.

The band itself calls their sound “Pop Smack”, but it can be best described as raucous Brit pop with an arsenal of twists. On the EP, it is like a galvanic stomp woven from the indie adventure of The Jackals, the punkishness of a Top Buzzer, the eighties fervour of a Purple Hearts or Secret Affair, and the transatlantic mischief of Weezer. It is a sound which has already lured potent attention through a trio of singles and a debut EP to date as well as a highly praised live presence which has seen the band share stages with bands such as The Milk, Carl Barat, and The Kooks. Now it is the turn of the Mo Hausler (Babyshambles, Everything Everything) produced Damage/ Joy to whip up fresh ears and appetites the way of Reading quartet Gary, Josh, Evert, and Sam.

The release gets straight down to it too with opener Win Me Over. Punchy rhythms and a fine clash of guitar swiftly springs a hook lined swagger which soon has hips and ears locked into it’s a seriously catchy and flirtatious stroll. Bursts of feisty energy and aggression add to the spicy drama on offer whilst its melodic infectiousness and rhythmic shuffle is not too far removed from sixties beat bands like Herman’s Hermits.

logo_RingMasterReviewIt is a gripping and eventful proposal entangling a host of flavours across the decades into its bouncing body; a treat of imagination emulated again in Dolly Daydream. A slower but no less enticing proposal which gets increasingly compelling with every minute, the song is a serenade of emotive keys and vocal prowess within rhythmic shadows and an underlying but restrained urgency. It is an energy which gets more of an escape in the riveting Going Nowhere, a track which from its delicious opening groan of bass has ears and appetite on board. Sultry caresses of guitar and melodic seducing need little time to captivate the listener either whilst fiery grooves and the ever potent vocals, as well as that persistent dark lure of rhythms, ensures enjoyment is full to the rim.

The EP closes with Schadenfreude; a rip-roaring romp of indie rock ‘n’ roll with again a breeding in each of the past five decades via various strains of galvanic sound. If reading all the references to times and flavours past triggers thoughts that the band may have missed their time in musical history, be rest assured that Mellor, certainly going by Damage/Joy, is very much a band of the now and one of those with the potential to eventually steer the adventure of the British indie rock ‘n’ pop scene.

Damage/Joy is available from 11th March 2016 via iTunes and other stores.

http://www.mellorsounds.com   https://www.facebook.com/melloruk   https://www.twitter.com/melloruk

Upcoming Live Dates:

Saturday 12th March – Oakford Social Club – Reading (READING EP RELEASE SHOW)

Friday 25th March – The Railway – Winchester

Friday 8th April – Sebright Arms – London

Pete RingMaster 10/03/2016

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