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

Thirteen Shots – Black Smiles

Thirteen Shots - Promo Picture_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

With every release since they emerged in 2011 and unleashed the instantly captivating track Danzig, UK rockers Thirteen Shots has evolved their sound, each encounter seeing the Birmingham quartet infuse richer and broader flavours and styles into their core tempest of horror bred rock ‘n’ roll. Each step has also come with an increasing amount of acclaim but fair to say that Thirteen Shots have easily outdone themselves with new album Black Smiles. It is a dramatically eclectic mix of songs and genres honed into one increasingly captivating and addictive proposition, and what it might lack a touch in consistency it more than makes up in riotous contagion.

Since whipping up attention with the horror punk sculpted Danzig, Thirteen Shots has been on a creative and attention grabbing roll. Shows with the likes of Demented are Go, The Peacocks, Rezurex, Howling Wolfmen, and Graveyard Johnnys helped establish the band as one of the UK’s most exciting horror/garage punk newcomers and now a band whose shows and releases are constantly highly anticipated. Previous albums Vaudeville and Tales That Start With A Whisper certainly pushed the band’s sound and presence forward but it was last year’s White Noise which made the biggest step in bold adventure and diversity. Hindsight though shows its potent success and contents were just an early hint for bigger and more ambitious things now ripening within Black Smiles.

Recorded with Paul Hughes, Black Smiles is based on the old school movie experience of double features with each song playing part in a cinematic experience. It all starts with Cobradeer, which acts like a promotional trailer to the other tracks which are like serial episodes within the main feature of the album. The opener is an immediate rush of fiercely slapping rhythms and ferocious riffs, the song blasting ears into keen attention before relaxing into a more tempered stroll as the distinct vocals of Johnny Rose open up the narrative. The chorus kicks the adrenaline switch again with the song swinging between both attacks as it provides an increasingly spicy musical/lyrical introduction to the album.

Thirteen Shots - Black Smiles- Cover_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review   It is a strong and enjoyable beginning quickly surpassed by the following Run and Hide. From the great initial throaty bassline cast by George Chick and the quickly joining equally predatory beats of drummer Tom Fenn, the track has imagination and appetite hooked. The surf shimmer of guitar and controlled tones of Rose only increase the potency as drama and sinister seduction blossom their tempting too. Subsequently a more hard rock enterprise is spun by guitarist Lewis Machip as the encounter’s chorus roars, contrasts swapping moments in the lengthening landscape of the excellent song. With its weave also knitted with garage and melodic rock as well as punk and blues tenacity, it is a swift unveiling of the variety and diversity destined to continue through sound and album.

Next Cupid´s Dead romps through fresh scenery too, its punk/garage rock devilry seemingly bred from a mix of The Clash and Blitzkid. At not much more than a brain munch past a minute in length, the track is a punk stomp to breed an addiction for and quickly matched in its individual way by the dirty rock ‘n’ roll revelry of Warewolf Party. A spicy groove is the first infection with the song’s raw air and fiery sound the second, it all united in a riveting and easy persuasion lorded over by the honest tones of Rose before it then makes way for the anthemic rampage of Garage Crew. Chick once again is the kindling to a feisty blaze with his opening dark bass prowl, every note a resonating treat leading ears into the brawling surge of riffs and rabid rhythms fuelling the song. That bass becomes even more bestial in tone as the song lurches from one explosive assault to another premeditated predatory stroll and back; punk, horror, and subsequently blues rock entwining in its anthemic contagion.

Night of Sin doses itself up with a big shot of blues guitar and rock ‘n’ roll next, Machips’s enterprise tangy liquor in the heavy intimidating embrace of the rhythms. The ever unpolished punk delivery of Rose ensures an alluring earthy feel is always present o the album, even here where strings reveal their most accomplished and intoxicating beauty. It is a constantly rewarding mix again in evidence, after the tantalising refreshment of the melodic and acoustic croon that is Interlude, in the psychotic Skitzo. A delta blues tang coats the guitar’s endeavour bringing the incoming stomp into view, the flavouring a persistent tempting as the song erupts and blazes with persistent blues punk tenacity.

A enticing swagger comes with Black Eyed Girl next, the song like a moonlit seductress swinging its melodic hips as the more restrained and continually impressive voice of Rose introduces the moment’s protagonist. It is a gripping danger and intrigue which retains its potency as the song expels another bluesy flame of raw energy and sound. The entwining continues until the song can contain itself no more and reveals itself as a dirty raucous rocker for a bellow of a persuasion.

The swinging hips of Punk Betty flirts in a similar vein to its predecessor, its saunter a punk infused hard rock bait but with the same catchy resourcefulness. It does not admittedly have the same spark as previous songs, that inescapable lure but with one delicious bassline and the anthemic mischief of the vocals, it only keeps appetite and satisfaction eager before passing attention over to the album’s title track. It too is missing something to set, as earlier tracks, personal tastes ablaze, a particular uniqueness to spark their lust but once more its dark hearted rock ‘n roll and lyrical enterprise, not forgetting predation bass and sonic veining, is nothing less than rousing.

Lost Soul is soon a full seduction though. Its surf and horror rock romance is a sultry incitement of ears and imagination, undiluted persuasion caressed by a garage rock smoulder and flirted with by a ska seeded tempting. To be honest there is an even richer tapestry of flavours in easily the best song on the album, plenty to be discovered as the track alone sparks real excitement and anticipation for the continual and increasing potential and growth of Thirteen Shots.

There is a final raw explosion of punk and garage hostility in the shape of Friday 13, a bracing and unpolished finale to another thoroughly enjoyable and riveting adventure with Thirteen Shots. As always with a record from the band there is a dramatic potential of even bigger and major things ahead, the foursome getting closer to their pinnacle each time but equally raising that bar with every offering too. They have a classic within them for sure and it will have its day but right now we all have the opportunity to go on a rigorously enjoyable romp in great exploits like Black Smiles.

Black Smiles is released on June 29th and can be pre-ordered via https://thirteenshots.bandcamp.com/ and https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/black-smiles/id994668019 in various options.

Http://www.thirteenshots.co.uk/     https://www.facebook.com/thirteenshotsband

RingMaster 10/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Cross Wires – Your History Defaced EP

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If you were caught in the ridiculously captivating web that UK band Cross Wires spun with their Assembly EP earlier this year, or indeed the releases before it, be prepared for a new rapture with the band’s recently released Your History Defaced EP. For all those new to the invigorating brew of post punk, new wave, and garage rock which the quartet potently brew, the release is quite simply a devilish treat just waiting to infest your senses. Consisting of five eclectically and creatively warped slices of sound which is simultaneously nostalgic and refreshingly new, the EP reinforces and pushes on the riveting emergence of this severely tantalising band.

Hailing from the creative depths of Bethnal Green and Romford, Cross Wires who take their name from a track on the XTC debut album White Noise, took little time from forming in breeding an impressive reputation locally through their live performances and sound. It was a presence soon spreading with their first pair of releases in the tasty shape of the Forward/Repeat and Animal Heat EPs in 2011 helping spark that growing awareness which the Dark Water EP a year later, soon drove to even wider recognition and attention. Assembly saw the band take another step in sound, songwriting, and success which Your History Defaced looks like not only emulating but surpassing as it seduces fans old and new, as well as the underground media alike.

Opener Modern Art is an instant irresistible offering, slithers of acidic guitar crossing a bulging bassline and feisty beats for an irrepressible coaxing of ears and imagination. Instantly thoughts of bands like Fire Engines and Wire come to mind but just as swiftly the song shows a more rounded and fuller sound from the band than ever before but one still draped in open originality. Right away the vocals of Jonathan Chapman romp with the same mischievous potency as that spicing the sonic intrigue of Peter Muller’s guitar and the rhythmic bait cast by drummer Ian Clarke and bassist Pete Letch. It is arguably the most pop friendly song from Cross Wires to date but one swinging with a rhythmic swagger and melodic flirtation which is virulently infectious and unpredictable. Think Franz Ferdinand meets The Freshies and you get a good hint of the impressive romp.

   Shades Of Light And Dark comes next and soon has a jangle of angular guitar temptation teasing ears as vocals dance with resourceful frivolity over the feverish agitation of beats. There is also a chunkiness to the riffs which ignites the passions as easily as the sonic persistence and repetitious ingenuity flourishing within the thrilling weave of enterprise. The song continues the EPs strong start but is soon surpassed by the thumping and imposing devilry of Tab Clear, everything about the song heavier and more intensive yet equipped with the same contagious weight of hooks and spicy grooves as those before it. The bass of Letch is especially a throaty treat whilst the vocals straddle the whole encounter with a lustful energy and expressive magnetism which seemingly inflames the scintillating tempest of sonic and discord washed endeavour around them.

The thumping rhythmic entrance of Last Stand is all that is needed to ignite the passions, an immediate ardour which is enhanced by the layers of scything riffs and pulsating bass persuasion which underpins the again impressive vocal adventure of Chapman and band. There is a Buzzcocks like flavour to the imagination binding grooves and hooks whilst the song’s overall unconventional catchiness reminds of fellow emerging UK band Houdini. The result is another addiction sparking encounter which in turn is surpassed by the closing punk spawned storm of Vultures, a deliciously raw and rapacious stomp of Swell Maps like causticity and dour infectiousness courtesy of bands like The Lurkers. It is a pungent and thrilling end to an outstanding release from a band hard not to take a lustful shine to.

If new wave and postpunk with a modern mischief excites the ears than Cross Wires and the Your History Defaced EP is a must.

Your History Defaced is available now @ http://crosswires.bandcamp.com/album/your-history-defaced

https://www.facebook.com/CrossWires

RingMaster 02/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Cross Wires – Assembly EP

Cross Wires

     Hankering for a slice of post punk infused new wave with that irrepressible eighties originality? Then a healthy purchase of the exploration of the new Cross Wires EP is your next mission in life.  Assembly is a riotous stomp of energetic imagination and deliciously niggling invention, a quartet of songs bred in the birth of those genres but equally ripe with a modern psyche stirring mischief. It teases, taunts, and romps with the senses like a discord draped devil child to quite easily and unrelentingly stir up the passions.

     Hailing from Bethnal Green and Romford in the UK, the foursome of vocalist Jonathan Chapman, guitarist Peter Muller, bassist Pete Letch, and drummer Ian Clarke has been sculpting an impressive reputation for their sound and live performances since their debut at The Others in Stoke Newington in late 2010; subsequently playing across the capital and home county Essex at notable venues including the Camden Barfly, Sebright Arms, Queen of Hoxton, 93 Feet East, The Half Moon, and Hoxton Underbelly. Two EPs, Forward/Repeat and Animal Heat announced the band to a wider audience in 2011 whilst a third, Dark Water, the following year only helped cement and accelerate their emerging presence which the outstanding Assembly will surely add another enthusiastic gear to.

    Cross Wires bring inspirations from the likes of Buzzcocks, The Clash, The Cure, Gang Of Four, and Wire into their own coverinventive devilry as well as that of XTC whose song on the White Noise album, the band named themselves after. To be honest anyone reaping the influences of one of our eternally favourite bands is given a head start with us though their music obviously has to do the talking, which on Assembly it loudly does. From the beginning of the opener Stranger’s Bed, the band lays an infectious hand on the imagination and passions as they cavort with the relish of a maniacal puppeteer. Thumping anthemic drums seize instant attention, setting things up for the jangle of guitars to add their own bait around the expressive vocals of Chapman. Into its infectious stride soon after the track stomps with a rhythmic vivacity and range of hooks which the Buzzcocks would be proud of, indeed the overall sound has a rich essence of the Mancunian band as well as the discordant enterprise of Medway band Houdini. It is an undemanding and thoroughly giving slab of post punk pop with a fuzzy breath to increase the appeal.

     Acid Bath, like the first, makes the strongest entrance possible. This time it is the bass stroking the ears with a riff certainly Gang Of Four inspired, its carnivorous voice and suasion an irresistible lure which only increases with the scythes of guitar and unpolished enticing vocals. The chorus of the song loses some of that initial potency as the thrust of the track softens but replaces it with a virulent causticity which touches on The Fall. Once more band and song has feet lurching around with eagerness whilst voice and energy is seduced into action with ease, the same results achieved by the brilliant I Want To Be Your Man (Again). The best track on the EP swaggers in with a slow swerving of its hips and a persistent flexing of its sonic audacity, the track a hybrid of all the good things already gracing the release, taking those qualities and invention into a loftier frisking of the passions. It is an exhilarating exploit raising a lustful greed once thought lost to those times in the eighties.

   Final song White Dress makes a less dramatic entrance than previous songs but is soon, through a precise hook within thumping rhythms, unleashing another Shelly and co styled persuasion with the Cross Wires imprint. It traps satisfaction in a lustful romp of angular enterprise and refreshing adventure and though the weakest of the four songs, in that it does not unleash the demon inside as certainly the previous pair of tracks do, White Dress still provides a magnetic proposal to sell your dignity for and a delicious end to a thrilling release.

     If any of the bands mentioned or just simply punk, new wave, and post punk in general lifts your temperature then Cross Wires is a band to set a fire in your thoughts and emotions, though as Assembly shows, expect the unpredictable and something which is certainly seeded in those glorious older times but takes you on a new adventure. With the Assembly EP free at http://crosswires.bandcamp.com/album/assembly-ep there is little reason not to be part of this extremely promising and exciting band.

https://www.facebook.com/CrossWires

9/10

RingMaster 21/02/2014

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