The Birdman Rallies – Wild Sisters

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If you can resist the opening resonance of beats which opens up Wild Sisters, the new single from the UK’s The Birdman Rallies, then you have formidable resistance as alone it is a seriously irresistible temptation. It is only the first of a fluid weave of instinctive seductions which makes up the fascinating offering from the North Yorkshire quartet though, just one lure in a melodic bewitchment.

The song is the second single taken from the Harrogate band’s recently released and acclaimed album Real River. It is a transfixing album putting the band finally on the radar of a great many, though The Birdman Rallies has been recruiting eager attention and hearts to their highly flavoursome sounds since 2009 across a host of releases. Their self-titled album in 2008 made the first temptation, followed by the You And I EP a year later, but it was second album Moons which in 2012 sparked keener awareness and following of the band. Their sounds still eluded many though, including us, with Real River providing the remedy to that issue, now reinforced by Wild Sisters, the successor to the first single from the album, Telescope Katie. Vocalist/guitarist Daniel Webster recently described the new single as, “a poem written on a night out in Cork, Ireland, where the women are made differently to where I grew up. I observed these three sisters, dancing wildly, letting it go on a weekend in a strangely old-fashioned way. There was nothing cool or try-hard about it. The song wrote itself, with requisite yearning.”

As mentioned at the start, Wild Sisters has its infectious hooks in from its first breath with the rhythms and electronic beats of drummer David Armstrong alongside the multi-instrumental skills of Adam Westerman (guitar, vocals, keyboards, drums, glockenspiel). It is not a single strain of bait for long though as the equally delicious and earthy tones of bass from Ash Johnson are soon adding their irresistible throaty charms to the enticing. Magnetism does not come much stronger or persuasive and both aspects continue to almost tauntingly seduce across the length of the song. Around them melodies and harmonies soon bloom within the contagion, Webster and Westerman creating warm harmonies to match the emotive caress of strings provided by Angellina Bjerregard and Nicky Woods, and the reflective character of guitar and keys. Thoughts of XTC come to the fore as the song explores even greater enterprise and creative emotion; an essence soon confirmed when reading after listening to the song that the Swindon band is a favourite of The Birdman Rallies alongside others like Field Music.

Wild Sisters continues to enthral and delight right up to when it takes its leave on the same magnetism it entered upon, leaving ears glowing and appetite hungry for more. It is a reaction sure to be felt by most immersing in its summer embrace, with an exploration of its source, Real River, the only subsequent option, apart from diving back into the song one more time first.

Wild Sisters is out now with the album Real River available @ http://thebirdmanrallies.bandcamp.com/album/real-river

https://www.facebook.com/thebirdmanrallies

RingMaster 30/03/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

 

Passenger Peru – Light Places

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The acclaimed self-titled debut album from US duo Passenger Peru was quite simply inventive pop in its rawest and most compelling form. Released at the dawn of 2014, it instantly pushed the Brooklyn band if not into a category of its own, certainly on to a loftier perch than most other pieces of melodic exploration. Now the pair of Justin Stivers and Justin Gonzales returns with its successor Light Places, venturing into arguably even less polished but increasingly fascinating realms of invention and sonic weaving across its enthralling majesty. The album peers into new and at times darker places in the creativity of the band and the emotions of the listener, but never moving too far away from the melodic imagination and psyche seducing mesmerising which marked so impressively their debut.

Shadows have been a constant flirtation and temper in the music of Passenger Peru, but upon Light Places there seems a stronger contrasting of light and dark elements musically and emotionally. From the emotive lyrics through to the unpredictable tapestry of sounds, the release embraces the intimate warmth and cold of life, colouring them with a maze of inventiveness which at times almost borders on the warped and constantly leaves ears and imagination yearning for more. It is a gripping persuasion which starts from opening track House Squares and never relents across an ever twisting range of sounds and expressive atmospheres until the last sigh of the album’s final note. The opener immediately flirts with ears through a vibrant rhythmic dance which is soon courted by sober yet bright melodies from guitar and bass alike. There is haziness to the song too, but only a thin veil over the imaginative warm weave of melodic colour, concentrating more on the effect wrapped vocals. The song never deviates from its compelling repetitious stroll, simply adding new sounds and colours to the mesmeric tempting ensuring a fascinating start to the album.

It is a constant intrigue which is given more to ponder and explore with the charming Friends Don’t Call, a song which from a gentle soothing touch, boils and grows into a tempestuous vocal and musical climax. It has ears engrossed and imagination bewitched, each especially seduced by the dark throated bassline which grouchily pulsates through the song’s increasingly bedlamic climate. Already the album is showing darker tendencies in its nature and exploration compared to the last album, but also a ridiculously addictive invention which erupts in full ingenuity for The passengerperuBest Way To Drown. The first track revealed from the album just before its release, the imperious incitement is an instant dance of rhythmic devilry and tenacious strumming, elements forging together the pathway to powerful and climactic crescendos throughout the song’s landscape. Alongside vocals croon with a seductive sway whilst the nimble fingers behind guitars and bass sculpt a potent drama for the picturesque acoustic scenery, the latter showing a breeze of XTC and Slug Comparison in its radiance. The song is quite gripping, forging a new pinnacle in the album which is matched occasionally and worried constantly by the remaining encounters within Light Places.

Placeholder engrosses thoughts next, its Beatles-esque simplicity a rich lure which is at times buffeted and swallowed by a bedlamic tempest of noise and intensity; further contrasts strikingly conflicting with and complimenting each other. The pleasing flame of the song is surpassed by another major album peak in the fuzzy shape of One Time Daisy Fee. A touch of Melvins flirts from within its scuffed up invention, but also moments of folkish mischief and punky irreverence, all transforming a great adventure into a moment of brilliance.

Both the angular pop tantalising that is Break My Neck and the transfixing Failing Art School leave ears smiling and appetite greedy. The first manages to be a little clunky and simultaneously velvety in sound and touch whilst the second, which is predominantly an instrumental stroll through a visually melodic landscape of possibilities and emotional mysteries, simply sends the imagination off on its own poetic adventures with new evolutions in the script with every listen. The pair of songs are spellbinding, the latter especially engrossing before the outstanding Better Than The Movies parades its own inspirational ingenuity. Seemingly worldly in its influences and cosmopolitan in its flavour, the track is creative voodoo casting an inescapable spell with rhythmic minimalism within an electronic paint box.

Impossible Mathematics brings a calm back to the festivities; initially at least before its own raw textures and voracious ideation breaks out in varying degrees alongside juicy grooves and corrosive riffs as appetising and frequent as comforting vocals and sparkling melodies. It is another fresh twist to the flight of the album; its variety unrelenting as the dirtily lined sounds of Crimson Area Rug brings new dark emotions and exploits, and a character which is summed up by a word repeated in the song “paranoid”.

Light Places is brought to a close by firstly the soft and docile yet creatively lively On Company Time and lastly the delicate Pretty Lil’ Paintin’ with its balmy vocals. Neither track has a fire in its belly but both leave a warm glow around the listener which pleasingly relaxes emotions after the rigorous textures of other tracks before them; those contrasts again working beautifully.

Passenger Peru conjures unique embraces and experiences with their music; something already established with their debut album. Now though Light Places takes it to new and in some places intrusive depths; the result being another essential release from the band and a new exciting escapade for the listener.

Light Places is out digitally and as a Ltd Ed cassette via Fleeting Youth Records on February 24th @ http://fleetingyouthrecords.bandcamp.com/album/light-places

http://www.passengerperuband.com/

RingMaster 24/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://reputationradio.yooco.org/

 

The Permanent Smilers – One Real Big Identity Crisis

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One Real Big Identity Crisis, the new album from UK band The Permanent Smilers, is a release with no apparent direction or framework to its intent and enterprise; a release which basically lives up to its title but boy is it a slab of irresistible fun. Through thirteen songs, band and album take on a torrent of different styles and nostalgic flavours which really should not work alongside each other as coherently as they do, and all come with a humour and mischief which adds to rather than overrides the adventure of the individual characters. It is slightly deranged but not chaotic and thoroughly unpredictable yet not messy considering the vast sounds employed from song to song. Most of all though it is simply a compelling proposition which comes from left-field, keeps its heart there, and leaves the most enjoyable experience in its wake.

There is little we can tell you about the band itself, though The Permanent Smilers is fronted by Richard Lemongrower who was the songwriter behind Norwich band The Lemongrowers, a band releasing two albums on Noisebox at some point in time. Produced with Jonny Cole and mixed by David Pye, One Real Big Identity Crisis takes little time in lighting ears and imagination, though it opens with maybe its weakest song. That is a little misleading as it takes a song to get a handle, or try to, on the release anyway but certainly Identity Crisis did not really grip attention as much as elsewhere and left thoughts with a slight wondering of what have we got ourselves into. Strongly swung rhythms and similarly intensive riffs clasp ears within the first breath of the song, their bait a jabbing lure against the unpolished yet engaging tones of Richard. It is an easily flowing and energetic slice of rock ‘n’ roll with the bass of Jonny Cole pungent bait at the centre of the stomp. Truthfully there is little wrong with the song but it lacks a spark in its presence which evades the reaction it probably deserves and is easy to imagine being found with others.

The good if unsure start is soon a thing of the past as Uh-Oh takes over with its festive folk swagger and emerging carnival like devilment. Sporting a splash of Tankus The Henge to its relaxed but vibrant stroll, the song is a constant swing of melodic hips as it moves towards an unexpected and mouth-watering slip into a Dukes of Stratosphear like ethereal psychedelic charm and climate, returning back into festive mood soon after as if it had just emerged from a dip in the sea. The song is fascinating and bewitching, and just the first of numerous adventures into different landscapes, as shown next by the punk pop devilry of You Know Where To Go. Bred from seventies power pop and carrying a mix of The Flys and The Lurkers to its hookery, the song just hits the sweet spot with its insatiable energy and mischief, before making way for the more relaxed melodic embrace of Elastic. The keys and guitars of Richard weave another enthralling web of sound here, this time with a sniff of sixties pop to it which is punctuated by the crisp beats of drummer Pete Fraser and dark bass lures of Cole. By its close, the song somehow becomes a thumping anthem without losing any of its melodic and gentle elegance, a potent feat for any song to offer.

Both Just No Good and It Doesn’t Work Anymore keep album and ears bouncing with energy and pleasure, the first using a garage rock spicing again teased by a sixties almost Doors like toxicity, whilst the second again spawning from the same kind of seeding brings a rawer punk grouchiness with its presence. Each has feet and emotions joining their rigorous coaxing before Ghosts allows a breather for the body if not the imagination with its Simon and Garfunkel meets Burt Bacharach like embrace. The brass persuasion of Dave Land seductively flames over similarly captivating keys and vocal caresses through the song but as always there is a scent of devilment to the song with thoughts wondering at times if they should be enjoying this as much as they are. There is no escaping its thick charm though.

The next pair of songs brings a rich sense of XTC to their enterprise and persuasion, Rebel broadening that over time with a seventies kissed soar of progressive fuelled psyche rock whilst its successor, Voodoo has the stamp of Andy Partridge to its flirtatious pop and virulent enterprise. The pair leaves nostalgia glazed lips licked and, through the latter especially, ears basking in psyche pop of the most delicious kind complete with jazzy brass and funk spirited unpredictability.

You Know When To Go dives straight back into punk infused rock ‘n’ roll for its brief but sparkling instrumental before Unforseen manages to conjure an encounter which recalls the quirky indie pop of The Monochrome Set and the plainer but no less tasty essence of Tom Robinson. The song alternatively stomps and swirls around ears, every passing hook and melody it conjures an intriguing and quaint yet voracious tease before it moves off into the distance allowing the outstanding See Through You to make its lingering mark. Acoustically shaped with an avalanche of panzer gun delivered rhythms, the song initially is a smouldering and majestic sway of sound. It subsequently explodes though into a tempest of energy and revelry which only lifts a great song to a heady plateau. Imagine the volatile energy of De Staat at their most devilish with the epidemic hunger of eighties punk/power pop and you get a sense of the glorious treat.

One Real Big Identity Crisis closes with the acoustic lullaby of Sleepyhead, the album ending as it started with a track which does not catch the ardour triggered elsewhere but certainly graces ears with tantalising propositions. This album is one unexpected and seriously enjoyable adventure; not breaking down boundaries or venturing into the unknown but never providing a moment when you are not surprised or wrapped up in its refreshing simplicity woven by skill and invention. There is only time left to lick lips all over again as we close off and dive straight back into The Permanent Smilers’ irresistible arms, something we suggest you do too upon release.

One Real Big Identity Crisis is released in April via IRL Records with new single Identity Crisis out in March.

http://www.thepermanentsmilers.com/   https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Permanent-Smilers/1539697962929725

RingMaster 23/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from http://www.thereputationlabel.today

Bobgoblin – Sinistar

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Music can be so frustrating at times especially when you cannot understand how a band with a song as dynamically addictive as Sinistar can escape attention for so long. Such is the case with US power pop/new wave band Bobgoblin. Formed in 1994, it has taken two decades for us to catch up and on to what their fans have known for so long, that this is one rigorously infectious and exciting band.

Of course one song does not paint a history but a swift backward search confirms the suggestion of the band’s brand new single, though now the band is on a new and even more exhilarating plateau. Formed as mentioned over twenty years ago by vocalist/keyboardist Hop Litzwire and drummer Rob Avsharian, who met whilst at University of North Texas, Bobgoblin was soon in full swing with its initial line-up completed by bassist Hech MaHech and guitarist Lech Vogner, before they were replaced by Tony Jannotta who took on both roles. Line-up additions and departures followed but the trio remained the stable heart of the band as their live stature grew and releases like Jet and The 12 Point Master Plan increasingly impressed and recruited fans. Also creating another project called AOJ (or Adventures of Jet in reference to the group’s first independent release) which took up a fair chunk of the time between their start and now, the trio has kept the years and ears busy, though yet to make that break through beyond their homeland it might be fair to say.

The band’s sound is seeded in the likes of punk, post-punk, and new wave, but equally has an adventure which embraces everything from 70s glam-rock, prog rock, orchestral music, and anything which catches the band’s imagination, as proven by their AOJ releases and their return as Bobgoblin and acclaimed album Love Lost For Blood Lust. Leaping back to the now and new single Sinistar, Bobgoblin are ready to nudge the broadest spotlight on their sound yet, an aim which if the track seduces the rest like us, cannot fail.

From the first strains of the bulging bassline, Sinistar has ears and attention licking lips; even more rigorously as riffs and vocals add their vivacious energies to the proposal. Hooks and grooves bound up as the song progresses, each adding their dose of infectiousness and irresistible pop toxicity. The best way to describe the song is early XTC meets We Are The Physics, though at any time there is additional flirtation which can spark a hint of bands like Devo, Baddies, Department S, Oingo Boingo, Tonight… Do not mistake this as assuming the song is predictable though, as it romps with a freshness and adventure which sets it firmly in its own spotlight.

The bass of Jannotta especially seduces; it’s grizzled throaty tones a delicious lure within the contagious revelry romping around it. Just as magnetic though are the devilish keys and flavoursome vocals of Litzwire whilst Avsharian simply slaps the skins of the drums and senses into eager submission.

Accompanying the track is Robotron, a similarly catchy and energetic slice of pop devilment which embeds an early Squeeze like mischief in its vibrant body of energy and inescapably infectious sound.

If like us Bobgoblin is only now infecting ears and the passions then just remember better late than never as you lose your lust to Sinistar.

Sinistar is available now @ http://www.bobgoblin.com/music

RingMaster 03/02/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from http://www.thereputationlabel.today

 

Alex Highton – Nobody Knows Anything

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Whether it is charm or simply mischief which fuels the songs of UK singer songwriter Alex Highton, probably both to be honest, it makes for a thoroughly engaging proposition and his new album one captivating treat. Nobody Knows Anything is a collection of intimate yet easily connectable songs for the imagination and emotions to greedily embrace. The successor to his folk seeded debut album Woodditton Wives Club, the Liverpool hailing Highton has pushed into more jazz and at times dare one say eccentric explorations within Nobody Knows Anything, resulting in a fascinating and almost devilish proposition.

Naming prime inspirations as Sufjan Steven, Here We Go Magic, and Joni Mitchell for his new Gare du Nord released album, Highton has called on an array of musical talent to explore his new songs, long time musical companions double-bass-player Jonny Bridgwood (Morrissey, Kathryn Williams, The Leisure Society) and drummer Howard Monk (Billy Mahonie, The Clientele) joined by the likes of Nancy Wallace (of The Memory Band and The Owl Service), Laura J Martin, and Robert Rotifer (of Rotifer) across the David Dobson produced release.

As soon as the melodic caress of opener You Don’t Own This Life cradles ears, there is open vivacity to the song, especially in the relish which Highton’s distinctive tones seem to have casting every syllable. The track entices even more potently as keys and sultry flames of trombone and clarinet join the narrative, ending on a jazz drenched shuffle which simply ignites ears and an anticipation for what is to come. It is an appetite given a flavoursome dose of fun through It Falls Together, a mischievous canter of melodic revelry and vocal adventure. Instantly there is a potent scent of 12 Stone Toddler to the imagination and revelry of the track whilst the discord spiced keys provide an early XTC flavouring, all very welcome and thrilling in the inventiveness of Highton’s verging on avant-garde creativity in the song. It is an early pinnacle of the album, joyful harmonies and tenacious revelry all adding their colour to the dance before the following mellow reflection of Panic takes over. In a synth cast celestial climate veined by blues kissed and seventies spiced melodies, the song floats and resonates over the senses. It swiftly awakens the imagination, its visual tones magnetic scenery to which electro and rhythmic enterprise add their creative fun.

Through both the gentle croon of Sunlight Burns Your Skin and She Had This Sister, Highton offers varied and enthralling melodic proposals, the first a simultaneously melancholic and vibrant weave of twilight lit jazz infused temptation and the second, a folky acoustically bred kiss on ears with a seductive swing and tangy groove to its smoulder. Though neither matches the romp of previous and the more experimentally infused songs for personal wants, each leaves a lingering hug and easy to accept invitation to soar their elegant landscapes again.

   The rich hazy atmosphere and emotive enticement of Kills is next and again offers plenty to warrant a constant return to its warm seduction, the vocal union of Highton and Nancy Wallace pure magnetism, a lure matched by the melodic aesthetics and emotion of The Evil That Men Do, where this time the cello of Claire Hollocks and additional vocals of Bonnie Dobson add a riveting glamour to the song’s mournful countenance. The pair has ears and thoughts tightly embraced in their reflective beguiling, but soon have to give sway to the bubbly provocative pop of Fear and its pulsating magnetism.

I Only Asked You to Try and Somebody Must Know Something each add individual drama and forlorn intimacy to the expressive depth and uniqueness of the album before the instrumental majesty of the album’s title track takes ears and imagination on a provocative fall through emotive structures and melodically flirtatious adventure. It is a trigger for thoughts and feelings to play and invent before relaxing into the welcoming humid embrace of the outstanding Mephisto, another merger of folk and jazz filtered through a resourceful vat of discord mystique.

Nobody Knows Anything is completed by the glowing tempting of It’s, a bewitching end to a powerfully engaging release. Certainly some songs leap out over others for personal tastes but every moment upon Alex Highton’s album is an exciting opening into the adventure driven heart of its author and a tonic for ears and emotions.

Nobody Knows Anything is available now via Gare Du Nord @ http://alexhighton.bandcamp.com/album/nobody-knows-anything

http://www.alexhighton.co.uk/

RingMaster 09/12/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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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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James Cook – Adventures In Ausland

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There has always been an inescapable magnetism to the creativity and songs of UK singer/songwriter/producer James Cook, and the release of second solo album Adventures In Ausland certainly does not lose any of that imagination sparking prowess. In fact it takes it to new levels with tracks which are bred from even greater maturity and inventive expression in sound and lyrical enterprise. The new release reaps the masterful essences of its predecessor Arts & Sciences, evolving them into richer and more intricate textures and arrangements. The expected pop heart of Cook’s songs is still as infectious as ever but with no disrespect to what came before, it has grown up to offer even more compelling and invigorating explorations of his distinct English chamber rock.

First drawing attention with the band Nemo, which released a trio of well-received albums between 2004 and 2008, Cook has made a bigger impression matched by equally potent acclaim through his solo work. Between Nemo and Arts & Sciences, he also appeared in and wrote songs for numerous Mighty Boosh episodes, collaborated with Imogen Heap, and released the baroque pop album The Dollhouse with violinist/string arranger Anne Marie Kirby, who once again links up with Cook for the new release. The time between his outstanding 2012 solo debut and Adventures In Ausland, saw Reverse Engineering, Vol. One unveiled, a covers release revealing rich inspirations to the life and music of the musician with classic tracks interpreted and regenerated in his own inventive image. It was a thrilling insight into the man as well as simply an exciting encounter but it is his own work which gets the fires flaming brightly as proven again by the new album.

Two years in the making, with songs written in the likes of Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Genova whilst its recordings took place in Vienna, Prague, Berlin and London, Adventures In Ausland (Ausland the German word for abroad or elsewhere) brings in many ways an international breath to its still distinctly English sound. Certainly lyrically the album sizes up the world and its light and dark aspects whilst wrapped in an evolving invention which you feel can only come from the imagination of an Englishman. The release opens with the delicious Bees In November; its opening sigh of strings arranged by Cook and Kirby, an immediately evocative caress. They soon make way for a warm electronic and guitar enticing subsequently followed by a soft blaze of vibrant brass, all infesting ears and imagination with a sultry glow and vivacious temptation. The beats conjured by Tom Marsh add potent bait to the mix but it is the distinct voice of Cook and the continuing masterful call of the strings which steals the passions most forcibly. Both bring emotive intrigue and unpredictability to their invitations, lures sparking excitingly in thoughts and emotions, as well as the captivating body of the pop fuelled song.

The opener is swiftly matched by the following Lilly (A Lover’s Dream), a song which glides resourcefully through ears with melodic elegance and passionate reflection coloured by the mouth-watering weave of strings. There is an a3495452677_2element of The Divine Comedy and The Bluebells to the song, a spicing which flavours the light footed melodic waltz of the song. As mesmeric in charm and sound as it is sultry in ambience, the song is a glorious embrace with an air which transports thoughts into unique scenery as does the next up Financial Tango. There is a Morricone flame to the opening climate of the track, though soon making way for the punchy stride of the song and its thought jabbing narrative. That scorched flame of brass does reoccur across the pungent premise and body of the track frequently, stirring up senses and imagination as potently as the striking enterprise around it.

Both Dog Arms & Dilemmas and Art Deco, keep the flight of the album boldly varied and gripping, the first with its gentle wash of vocals and melodic enterprise soaked in a provocative heat of brass. Vocals layers lie slightly misaligned to each other at times for a pleasing ingenious and addictive tempting whilst the entanglement of strings and brass powerfully ignites air and ears with voracious passion. It is a smouldering treat of a proposition but one admittedly soon left looking a little pale by its successor. The fifth track feels the closest to the last album, its dance of sawing strings and quirky synth adventure within agitated rhythms and another great vocal call from Cook, a bridge between the two albums whilst pushing its smart pop sound to new levels. Broad hints of Thomas Dolby and XTC tease at thoughts as well as essences of David Bowie as the song flirts and seduces the imagination and emotions. It is a riveting and scintillating encounter which leaves an already greedy appetite hungrier.

   Bring Back The Boom offers a keys led stroll with a landscape of brass and lyrical incitement next, its atmospherically musty tone and shadowed premise an enthralling encounter, if lacking the spark of earlier songs slightly. It still leaves album and pleasure high as does the absorbing melancholic presence of The Blackout and the mischievous romp of Jamie with its swipe at misguided dreams and modern pop attitudes. The pair of songs again easily pushes thoughts into action whilst leaving ears basking in weaves of strings, brass, and melodies bred with a grandeur that only pure adult pop can conjure.

The wonderful call of Tideland with Cook at his most vocally potent on the album within a suggestive net of coaxing hooks and emotionally shadowed keys, comes next to bewitch senses and feelings. The rhythmic allurement of Marsh and the commanding strumming of Cook only accentuate the power of the majestic and increasingly towering track but it is the strings and vocals which drives the lingering tapestry of sound and imagination most potently. The impressive lure of the song is continued through closing track Ausland/Outside, a piece of beauty which envelopes and seduces ears with a thrilling maze of strings and vocals. It borders on disorientating at times but only to ignite the encounter and emotions to greater potency.

Adventures In Ausland is a very different album to its predecessor creating an even more striking and masterful proposition of pop fuelled, imagination driven drama. If James Cook is still a secret to be discovered for you, than this release is an introduction which can only lead to lustful pleasure.

Adventures In Ausland is available now @ http://jamescook.bandcamp.com/album/adventures-in-ausland

jamescookmusic.com

9/10

RingMaster 30/07/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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