The Strays – Drop Out Zone

With a description of “No Doubt meets Imelda May”, it was hard to deny an urge to go explore those it has been applied to. The fact that the protagonists in question’s debut album has caught the imagination of and been released by Western Star Records only added to that instinct. What we found was one rousing stomp of a release in the shape of Drop Out Zone from a band in The Strays which had us bouncing from start to finish with a highly appetising mix of rockabilly, garage rock, and fifties inspired rock ‘n’ roll with plenty more involved.

Cheltenham based, The Strays have already been teasing proper attention with the release of their first EP, Wham Bam, Thank You Ma’am, in 2017. It was an introduction of sound and potential potently reaffirmed by its successor Brand New Day the following year while the two records union together as Brand New Ma’am! earlier this year provided an ear grabbing tease for the upcoming adventure of Drop Out Zone. Of course some of us are only coming to the British quartet through the album but a look back shows The Strays an already captivating proposition with a sound to match but their new release sees the band at their most imaginative, adventurous, and striking yet.

With songs inspired by the band’s decision to quit their full-time jobs and focus on music and the struggles it brought and they conquered, Drop Out Zone quickly, hungrily had ears on board with the opening canter of first track, Hey Little Lady. Straight away the throaty lure of Kris Jakab-Hall’s bass colludes with the crisply landing swings of drummer Gary Chamberlain; their collusion instantly firing up attention and physical response before the spicy threads of Sam Cordery’s guitar added to the animated bait. The song’s subsequent potent stroll sees the magnetic tones of Stella Sonic complete the temptation, the spring in its step and grin on its face across as good as four and a half minutes setting the tone for the fun and enterprise fuelling the release.

Things only grow more compelling and contagious as 2Fives and Twos sets its creative trap, it too another song which needs mere seconds to grip ears and appetite as Cordery winds addictive melodic wires around both. Punk and rockabilly soon converge on the rock ‘n’ roll instincts of the song, its tenacious gait and contagiousness a quick infestation of body with the Pauline Murray-esque tint to Sonic’s voice icing on the delicious cake.

Night Time Is The Right Time grabs its portion of ardour next. Again the guitar casts a highly tempting lure to gets things boiling before, with matching flavours to those entangling within its predecessor, the track weaves its own individual boisterous romp. Sharp hooks and alluring harmonies go to highlight the inventive come-on before Oh Baby No opens up its jazzy arms to a seductive surf lined midnight stroll through rock ‘n’ pop drama. It is one of those tracks where it is easy to see where those No Doubt, Imelda May and for us Wanda Jackson references are bred.

The Strays certainly know how to kick a song off, each sparked by imaginative and irresistible leads and no more potently than that springing Get Out Of This Town into life. Guitar and rhythms surround ears with intrigue and salacious intent, nagging rhythms and a hooked loaded guitar groove taunting and dancing with attention before the song opens up into its swing-a-billy saunter, dragging the body easily along for the ride.

The album’s title track allows a breath to be taken though it too is a buddle of energy and infectiousness with its pop toned amble refusing to be ignored; Drop Out Zone proving increasingly manipulative by the second and chorus. It’s easy to ride contagion is soon eclipsed though as the psychobilly wired Can’t Get Through To You preys on ears with its Hillybilly Moon Explosion like predation and feral catchiness though it too is slightly outshone by its successor. Fire and Ice is a glorious fusion of hooked swamped rock ‘n’ roll flavours, a real temptress of a song soon ripping favourite track honours from any of its companions hands.

The intoxicating fifties country blues soaked nurtured rockabilly of Twelve Bar Booze, thoughts of Wanda Jackson again sparked by the great addition to the pleasure, and the heavy hard rock spiced rumble of Break Me Down effortlessly keep the album roaring in body and spirit, This Life following suit with its deviously persuasive foot stomping fusion of swing, garage punk, and rock ‘n’ roll, a full pleasure sounding something akin to The BeauBowBelles meets No Doubt meets The Creepshow.

Just Another Day completes the album, its fiery rock breath and instinctive rhythmic pulse swagger an unapologetically tempting canvas for the ever tasty tones of Sonic and the virulent craft and endeavours of the band. It is a fine end to an album which just got under the skin in swift time and devilishly nestled there thereon in; The Strays providing another of the year’s real pleasures.

Drop Out Zone is out now through Western Star Records.

https://thestraysmusic.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/TheStraysLive/   https://twitter.com/TheStraysMusic

Pete RingMaster 20/08/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Norm And The Nightmarez – Psychobilly D.N.A.

N&TN_RingMasterReview

After the stomping triumph of their debut album two years ago, anticipation here for a successor from Norm And The Nightmarez was always heading towards the lustful side. Psychobilly Infection was a devilish treat of the trio’s distinctive multi-flavoured psychobilly; a rousingly virulent bout of “wickedly contagious and warped rock ‘n’ roll” which Psychobilly D.N.A. has now only gone and eclipsed.

The Norm And The Nightmarez sound is a magnetic blend of old school psychobilly drawing on and infusing the heart and creative blood of early day and beyond rockabilly and rock ‘n’ roll. Formed by guitarist/vocalist Norm Elliott (Mickey & The Mutants/ Phantom Zone/ The Bionic Krugerrands), the Birmingham based band’s line-up is a fluid proposition around the core of Norm and his lively and imaginative songwriting, as further evidenced by his solo single She last year. For Psychobilly D.N.A., Norm has enticed the striking craft and enterprise of drummer Paul Mummery and double bassist Nile ‘The Rev’ Robbins; a threesome which just feels like they were meant to be as the album sparks the instincts from start to finish.

Inspirations to Norm include the likes of The Meteors, The Cramps, Johnny and Dorsey Burnette, and plenty of artists making up the Sun Records catalogue as well as various rockabilly and psychobilly offerings over the decades. They are essences which proudly and uniquely spice up Psychobilly D.N.A. from start to finish, immediately teasing ears within opener Thank You Very Much. A tribute to Elvis, the track is a contagion of anthemic beats and spicy grooves around Norm’s vocal homage. Within seconds hips are swinging and feet a blur to the lively temptation pouring from the speakers, vocal chords swiftly engaged too as the rockabilly nurtured track provides a collage of stirring enterprise bred by the trio.

The following Misery is just as forcibly infectious, its psychobilly instincts colluding with tangy melodies while being driven by the pulsating slaps of The Rev on darkly taut strings. Vocally Norm is as inviting and potent as his flair with grooves and hooks; it all matched by the eagerly landing beats of Mummery as smile sparking humour fuels the lyrical heart of the encounter. As its predecessor, the song quickly enslaves attention and enjoyment before Bury Me With My Guitar reinforces the album’s already firm hold with swinging rhythms and nagging riffs. A web of inescapable and inventive hooks invading body and imagination like a mix of The Polecats and Tiger Army infested by the spirit of Johnny Burnette, the track is a glorious trespass dictating movement and pleasure with ease.

cover_RingMasterReviewThe album’s title track steps up next, providing its own invasive catchiness and irresistible demand on the senses and limbs. The vocal backing of The Rev and Mummery is as sinisterly flavoursome as Norm’s lead as darkly toxic groves and niggly riffs all add with instinct rousing rhythms to psychobilly manna for ears and appetite.

That hunger for the album’s body and spirit ailment is instantly nourished again by the opening of The Sun Burned Down, The Rev’s shadow soaked bass line pure temptation soon joined by just as flavoursome crisp beats and the toxic beauty of guitar melody. Narrating the demise of planet earth, they combine like a final sultry sunset, seducing with portentous beauty as Norm’s vocals echo their apocalyptic radiance.

It Made Me Lose My Mind surrounds the listener next, its rhythmic palpitation alone a delicious infestation infused with the psychotic grooves of Norm while the following and irrepressible Wild Wild Woman carries a great Gene Vincent / The Shakin’ Pyramids groove before the band spice up Voodoo Street with some early Stray Cats sultriness. All three show the variety honed within and shaping the album and its creatively energetic character, a success nailed down once more in the unquenchable flirtation of the sci-fi bred Timeslip where hooks and grooves command as rhythms control whilst throughout Norm takes the imagination on a time defusing romance for yet another impossible to resist defeat of inhibitions.

Old school textures wind around psychobilly seducing for The Devil’s Gate next, its smouldering atmosphere as blood red as the dark moon shining upon is toxic tale. The track is sheer captivation, maybe not quite holding all the sparks of songs before it and certainly of successor Bad Evil Woman, but another treat to devour greedily. It is fair to say that an even lustier response was nurtured by the second of the two, a song offering another chorus which simply demands participation whilst its grooves and rhythmic enticement take swift control of body and intent with not for the first time within Psychobilly D.N.A., a touch of Leiber and Stoller like spicing colouring the songwriting.

As shown by previous releases Norm also has a handy knack at composing instrumentals which grip the imagination with their suggestive characters and melodic endeavours, Lynch Mob another fine example with it’s on the run intrigue and creative espionage. With The Rev and Mummery simply compelling too, it is an easy to get lost in adventure passing keen attention over to the fifties spawned Love You Little Baby, a scintillating track anyone like Eddie Cochran, Sweet Gene, and Link Wray would embrace in their discography.

The rhythmic voodoo of Night Fever is enough alone to send the passions into ecstasy next; the song blossoming into a boisterous bout of mouth-watering fiercely enterprising psychobilly equipped with feverish grooves and passion ensnaring hooks as rhythms cast a relentless tapestry of temptation. The track is superb but still overshadowed by the album’s outstanding closer.

To Victory is a canvas of battle strewn valour and destruction; a bold romance of bravery treated with honesty and reality as basslines eagerly prowl and beats scythe across the sonic and vocal dexterity of Norm. It is a glorious end to an album which infests every aspect of the body and emotions to leave instinctive and unbridled pleasure in its wake.

Norm And The Nightmarez might by primarily tagged as psychobilly but trust us, their sound and certainly Psychobilly D.N.A. is something any heart for rock ‘n’ roll in its various broad flavours over the decades will beat excitedly to.

Psychobilly D.N.A. is out now via Western Star Records on CD @ https://western-star.tmstor.es/cart/product.php?id=30216

and through https://www.raucousrecords.com/norm-nightmarez-psychobilly-dna-cd.html

https://www.facebook.com/Normandthenightmarez/

Pete RingMaster 03/11/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Kings Of Outer Space – How To Fly A Rocket

KoOS

There is not a great deal we can tell you about UK rockabillies The Kings Of Outer Space, but one thing we can declare with loud confidence is that their new album How To Fly A Rocket is one exhilarating trip you will just want to climb on board with. Hailing from Bristol, the quintet has earned a fine reputation for their live performances, invigorating sound, and their impressive debut album Cosmic Debris. Released via Western Star Records, as its predecessor, the new album offers thirteen riotous dances of irrepressible and addiction causing temptation, rockabilly brought with passionate mischief and riveting enterprise. There is no pretence to be what it is not; the album and its tantalising contents just honest fun driven rock ‘n’ roll at its exciting best.

Themed from the likes of science fiction sexual teasing through to shadow draped mysteries with numerous energetic exploits in WSRC073_300between, How To Fly A Rocket takes barely seconds to have ear, senses, feet not forgetting emotions engaged and belted up for the soaring journey of opener P.G.I.T.U. Introduced with a galactic announcement, the song instantly cups the ear with a delicious melodic tease of guitar with swipes of muscular rhythms drawing in the excellent upright bass croon brought by Greggsy and the great vocals of Giggsy. Straight away you know what you are going to get from song and album, the uncluttered and precise devilry of the guitars and their irresistible hooks matched by a rhythmic seduction. Feet and voice is the song’s plaything pretty much from its opening and chords too, whilst the track impressively manages to have a familiarity to it but also a fresh originality. Not for the first time on the album the band offers essences of other genres with a subtle craft, punk and country just two spices which add ingenious individuality to tracks and release.

The next up 44 opens with an accordion dance provided by guest Ian Norrys, a Parisian breath toying with the opening romp of beats and guitar coaxing from Mickey and Matt. Straight away it offers a distinctively different treat, the variation continuing across the album with each song having its own character and personal toxicity for the heart. From the canter of the second track the album next steps into the menacing mystique of Fall From Grace, the shadowed romance of danger embellished with an excellent harmonica flame from another guest musician in Paul Lynch. Paced by equally heated guitar craft and the rhythmic stepping of drummer Steve, the union makes for a countryesque slightly Cajun invitation which only stokes the fires all the more.

The following Daggertrap twists around the senses with a psychobilly and surf rock mix, the instrumental one of those pieces which has feet hoofing across the floor and emotions in close attention as it lingers welcomingly long after departure, the same which can be said of the excellent Monkey Alarm. Impossibly contagious the track is an old school rockabilly cored slice of rapacious recruitment of the emotions. With an impossible to resist joining chorus and a rampant energy to its stomp, the track is another infection drenched pinnacle with the diablerie of King Salami & The Cumberland Three and the punk grit of Guan Batz.

Both Watch Me Burn and Creepy Crawl keep the release on the highest plateau, the first with a more antagonistic attitude to vocals and its darker but still magnetic sound whilst its successor is a tantalising prowl of sinisterly goings on brought to the imagination upon a gliding shadow and brooding almost taunting seductive tones. There is no decline in thrills with the easy going Cochran like Haunted Man or the smouldering Smilin’ Eyes either whilst the brilliant Cosmic Thrust just climbs up another rung with its rhythmic shuffling and melodic fascination embroiled in more rockabilly enslavement. The warning groove which erupts halfway through sends the track into the deepest reaches of rapture, its Buzzcocks like toxin pure discord touching manna.

From the enticing country twanging Long Dry Summer the album bows out with the space dwelling glories of     Moon Buggy Baby and Rocket Ride, the first a planetary crossing love affair with Gene Vincent guile, and a touch of cheesiness   which just works, and the final song a simple but energised contagion again merging vintage rockabilly and surf rock into a potent fascination. How To Fly A Rocket is nothing less than pure joy, a release which also touches thoughts of band such as The Stargazers, Mickey & The Mutants, The Ghastly Ones, and The Phenomenauts but stands distinctly as The Kings Of Outer Space at the end of the day…a great album for good times.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kings-Of-Outer-Space/110452709023793

9.5/10

RingMaster 10/09/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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