Hey Colossus – The Guillotine

As proven time and time again with UK outfit Hey Colossus, the only thing expectations can assume is that any encounter with them will be thickly compelling and singularly distinct in theirs and the surrounding musical landscape. And so it is with new album The Guillotine, a release taking the sextet’s sound to a new terrain of adventure and unpredictability whilst bewitching body and imagination like never before.

Formed in 2013, Hey Colossus have persistently nurtured and evolved their sound and its exploration; from the earlier lo-fi sourced, psychedelic and heavy noise rock bred triumphs of Radio Static High and In Black And Gold, the two albums which really drew thick attention the way of the band through the more hi-fi live causticity of Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo, nothing has ever stood still or relaxed into one realm of imagination. Within those albums, there was an open quest to push things further and further.  The Guillotine is no different, a creative emprise of brooding tones and dark atmospheres woven into trespasses of the imagination and physical arousing of body and spirit. Using hindsight, there has been hints to this new vein of fertility within previous releases, especially those just mentioned but glimpses of something startling and vigorously thrilling which trespasses us now.

The Guillotine sees the controlled and new mesmeric tones of Paul Sykes to the fore, his presence almost like a storyteller and as boldly alluring as the sounds and voices found within the collective ingenuity of Rhys Llewellyn, Roo Farthing, Robert Davis, Joe Thompson, and Timothy Farthing alongside. The album begins with the tantalising dark psych rock of Honest To God, a track which is pure alchemy. Its initial wiry psych shimmer breeds a post punk lined meander as a slowly strolling guitar and bass grooves saunter across the awakening web of temptation. Every aspect is a rich lure, accentuated by Sykes’ gentle but dark vocal swing. Like a nostalgia kissed mix of Spizz Energi, Zanti Misfitz, and The Three Johns, the song teases the psyche with its seductive fingers while brewing up a raw energy which erupts with scuzzy zeal. Revolving through each stage of its perpetual metamorphosis, the song is pure manna for noise/post/psych punk hungry ears and appetite.

The exceptional start is swiftly followed by the fuzzier venture of Back In The Room, a track rolling on hypnotic rhythms and fizzing upon the senses with its three guitar pronged shuffle. The dual attack of vocals is just as magnetic, a collusion resourcefully driving the volatile proposition with a hint of The Birthday Party adding to its arousing shadows and increasingly rabid head. The song is part nagging dirge and part raw but multi-textured seduction united in a thorough captivation which eventually makes way for the gentler climate of Calenture Boy which smuggles its increasing delirium through ears while a smouldering climate is equally blessed with a sonic psychosis which sizzles with increasing heat second by second.

Its raw croon is followed by the mercurial enterprise of Experts Toll where beats dance with flirtatious trespass as the bass throws its own captivating dark steps into a jungle of craft and skittish imagination. The song’s relatively calm opening and agitated dexterity is subsequently given to more forceful inclinations, the track twisting into a heavily stomping, dirtily intensive brawl of enticing sound cored again by those unruffled vocals before Potions casts its own somnolent charms around ears like a melodic narcotic shaped with stout rhythms and veined with willowy psychedelic tendrils. As its creative elixir thickens so does its intensity but moving through the stages of evocative density with a calm and fluid ingenuity.

Though every track within The Guillotine had us locked into its snare, certain moments simply steal the passions; Englishman the stealthiest, glorious one of all. A stroll of senses clipping beats, broody basslines, and teasing riffs, the song simply bewitches. Scything melodies and infection loaded vocals only add to the irresistible bait enslaving ears and imagination which though not necessarily in matching sound, creates a tapestry rich in the attributes of XTC, Melvins, Talking Heads, and Fugazi; all twisted and reenergised by the unique imagination of Hey Colossus for total bliss.

The album concludes with firstly In A Collision, another brooding trap of sound and creative cunning as shadowy as it is instinctively catchy, even when its once darkly mellow body and atmosphere ignites with dirty raptorial virility. Raw beauty from start to finish, the song is succeeded by the album’s title track, an even more predatory proposal drenched in melancholy, antipathy, and sonic mesmerism with the bass at its earthiest, carnivorous best. With the guitars as potent in elegance or being abrasively bracing, the song is a final captivation to get hooked on and lost in.

The Guillotine is simply magnificent, leaping to the frontline of favourite releases of the year so far with its manipulation of body and imagination while proving Hey Colossus as one of, if not the, most exciting thing in the weaving of noise around.

The Guillotine is out June 2nd through Rocket Recordings and available @ https://heycolossus.bandcamp.com/album/the-guillotine

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Pete RingMaster 02/06/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Bottle Next – Bad Horses

Bottle Next is a hard folk band from the French music scene. It is a tag which is maybe unique to the band not having come across it before but only partially touches on their sound. Weaving seriously engaging songs from the imaginative threads of everything from indie and pop, through progressive blues and hard rock to folk and indeed any mischievous form of rock ‘n’ roll you wish to suggest, Bottle Next make for a tantalising proposition which within debut album, Bad Horses, persistently encroaches upon rich fascination and aural seduction.

There is a real sense of fun within and with the duo of guitarist/vocalist/saxophonist Pierre Rettien and drummer/vocalist Martin Ecuer; a feistiness and devilment which openly fuels their music. From the release of their first single in 2011, the pair has drawn increasing attention and support with a pair of EPs surrounded by other individual tracks and videos as well as an energetic live presence which has seen them play across France and further into Europe; sharing stages with the likes of Triggerfingers, Lofofora, Zebda, Mass Hysteria, Didier Wampas, and No One Is Innocent as well as appearing at festivals such as Rock’n’Poche Festival, The Festival du Chien à Plûmes, Musikmesse in Germany), Belgium’s Mannrock (Belgium) and the Swiss Zikamart Festival.

Released a few weeks back, Bad Horses is an announcement for a wider range of ears and spotlights of the presence of Bottle Next; the Daniel Bergstrand (Meshuggah, Soilwork, In Flames) mixed release swiftly making the most of the opportunity with its opener Break Down the Door. The initial twang twisted strums of Rettien have an instinctive striking swing to their nature, a zeal matched in the senses rapping beats of Ecuer. That energy is equally as frantic in the delivery and character of the former’s vocals; together the duo creating a body inciting, spirit dancing slice of tenacious melodic rock as garage raw as it is hungrily infectious.

It is a thickly enticing start matched in memorable heights by next up Choices, the song a swagger loaded stroll of blues tinged rock ‘n’ roll sharing a Queens Of The Stone Age meets In The Whale like adventure. There is a rapacious essence to the grooves winding around ears and an atmospheric suggestiveness to the keys which interrupts the urgency of the canter whilst emerging folkish revelry has a funk seeded grin encapsulated by the earthily sultry lures of sax.

From one mouth-watering escapade to another as next up, Running Herd, takes ears in its grips with stabby riffs and agitated beats, both entangled in a volatile web of melody and vocal dexterity. As with its predecessors, involvement in its tenacious shuffle is instinctive; voice and hips giving quick submission to its imaginative multi-flavoured dance before Revolution shows the grittier hard rock side of the band’s sound. It too though weaves in a lure of melody and pop scented indie enterprise topped by a chorus wearing sixties/seventies pop rock catchiness.

A slightly calmer air drifts over Age of beauty; the song tempting and vivaciously crooning like a mix of XTC and Be Bop Deluxe though like all songs it never settles for one idea or style for much longer than it takes the imagination to adopt one of the moments of creative chicanery.  At times it is an almost punchy encounter, the next a floating caress and consistently a captivating proposal before the outstanding Overthere grabs an already keen appetite for the release’s romp with its heavier touch and spikier climate. Again a grunge seeded essence runs alongside the song’s heavier rock instincts, colluding in a slimline, impulsively addictive temptation smoking in its shadows with a wealth of additional flavoursome scents.

The album’s title track is a more kinetic and wiry caper, guitars and drums magnetically nagging and popping as the track’s rock heart and vocals roar; pure rock ‘n’ roll its creative mantra while Machines courts a matching breeding in its mellower, blues rock tinged pop ‘n’ roll. Both offerings make swift deals with ears and imagination, More Humane matching their success with its folk/indie rock enticement brewing up from within initial suggestive smog of melodically nurtured atmospherics; funk and progressive keys born revelry growing across its enthralling body sparking canter.

The melody woven infection of The Lift off straight after is no less an inducement of physical participation, its warm and boisterous invitation a fest of inventive festivity for limbs and energy. The same equally comes with closing song The Woody Man where its folkish colour and melodic charm takes the track’s kinetic nature in hand, giving it a great layer of restraint without defusing its multi-style embracing devilry and impact on body and spirit. It is a great end to a rather fine album which it is fair to say had us leaping and grinning from start to finish, no track anything less than an imaginative galvanic romp. Bad Horses offers something really fresh in its familiar flavours and boundless enterprise in its bold and playful quest to simply rock ‘n’ roll. The best album you will hear this year, maybe or maybe not; destined to be one of the most enjoyable, without question.

Bad Horses is out now @ https://bottlenext.bandcamp.com/album/bad-horses

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Pete RingMaster 30/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Bastards Of Fate – Suck The Light Out

 

If Bethlem Royal Hospital had a house band at the time of its notoriously infamous period when it was better named as Bedlam, Bastards Of Fate would have fitted the role like a glove. The Roanoke, Virginia hailing outfit create a sound and incitement to which a description of lunacy is inevitable and inescapable yet, as evidenced in their new album Suck The Light Out, it is a skilfully woven and creatively deceptive aberration which borders on genius; a dementia ridden habitude obviously.

There are few bands which truly offer an adventure for mind and ears but Bastards Of Fate go even further; challenging and testing the listener, almost examining their tolerance and their psyche for unsettling creative behaviour but with something which is rich unrelenting fun. Though our introduction to the band thanks to our bud Mike at Crashing Through, the well-received releases of their previous two albums suggests the quintet has been sharing striking and daring proposals for a while, most likely from the first emerging breath in 2012 as a solo project for frontman Doug Cheatwood. Without experiencing either 2012’s Who’s A Fuzzy Buddy? or Vampires are Real and Palpable two years later, it is still easy to say that Bastards Of Fate have hit a new plateau in sound and imagination, as well as mania such the might of Suck The Light Out.

From its first breath the album has claws in the imagination, opener Freemasons heralding its arrival with the ringing of bells recorded at a Cardiff church during a UK tour. Swiftly their call is smothered in darker off-kilter hues; a breeze evolving into a quirky theatre of sound with an air of hallucination and as suggestively clockwork as it is nursery. Vocals led by Cheatwood are just as eclectic settling into a controlled incitement with a scent of Bill Nelson’s Red Noise to it, Cheatwood indeed not for the last time with a touch of that band’s founder to his delivery. Across its tempestuous flank, the song shows irritability in it rock ‘n roll, the guitar of Benji Pugh mischievously colluding with the keys of Camellia Delk for cheerier temptation while the constant nagging of bass from Jason Wellz and Doug Shelor’s swinging beats drive the raw aggressive drama boiling up in it all, an agitation ebbing and flowing with mercurial energy as 12 Stone Toddler like dynamics further colour the fevered affair.

The following Portal to Hell is creative mayhem from the first second, rhythms jabbing with relish as Cheatwood announces his throaty demon. Soon a muggy start, it subsequently clears as a melody sizzles, it in turn relaxing as madness boldly simmers before infesting the song’s eruption with a legion of styles and flavours at its merciless fingertips. Fondling the senses and thoughts with pleasure igniting insanity and psychosis loaded unpredictability, like Pere Ubu on LSD, the track is unfathomable glory. Again the former Be Bop Deluxe frontman in his latter solo era is reminded of at times but only in something so unique to Bastards Of Fate it too is hard to believe.

To be honest numerous artists are nudged into suggestion across Suck The Light Out but none are truly accurate clues to the beautiful absurdness and imagination bursting fun on offer, next up Dark Matter pushing XTC and The Residents as possible references yet neither really fitting the maze of metal and heavy rock growling upon the song’s indie and pop sculpted landscape, a pasture in a constant flux of broken normality.

Through the relatively stable stroll of Book of Lies, though a romp with volatility in every element from tenacious rhythms and synth spun poetic webbing to melodic suggestion and vocal paranoia laced reflection, and the vocal lamentation of Misanthropy, bewitchment and confusion collude in a lustful embrace of the continuing diversity and irrational lure of Suck The Light Out. All releases need numerous listens to truly get to grips with thoughts and emotions on what they offer and there is no doubt that this album needs it more than most with the pair of songs alone showing the increasing rewards to be gained.

From the captivation of Girlfren with its crystalline melodies and screwy charm to the slow funk swing of the rhythmically tribal and vocally weird Caligula, ears and pleasure are only further inflamed, the latter and our favourite track, a salaciously deranged waltz. Its majestic prowess and mental manipulation is matched by that of Supercollider, a frenzy of sound and energy bursting from calm if warped crooning like a dangerously corrupted Pryapisme; punk and psych rock just two flavours in the frantic dementia.

Unicorns in Love is instinctive Bastards of Fate twisted rock ‘n’ roll with Waste My Time backing up its raw captivation with its hazy hug of melody spun, scuzz kissed, Fleetwood Mac spiced beauty with Delk taking vocal lead; her delicious tones as mouth-watering as the sounds caressing her harmonic presence.

The album is closed by Meatstar, a celestial dirt ball of progressive and melodic intrigue again tempting comparisons but evading all with its uncompromising invention in a brewing cacophony of sonic drama and imagination driven refreshment. It quite simply sums up the album, something aggressively individual and hungrily entertaining not forgetting deliriously deranged.

Suck The Light Out is, as Bastards Of Fate, indeed Bedlam and simply one of the most striking and uncomfortably fun propositions in recent years.

Suck The Light Out is available now digitally and on vinyl through HHBTM Records from most online stores with a special limited vinyl edition including a bonus LP of alternate tracks through http://hhbtm.com/

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Pete RingMaster 25/03/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Son of Skooshny – Confection

cover_RingMasterReview

Three years on from releasing the Mid Cent Mod EP, US band Son of Skooshny returns with its successor Confection and another collection of melodic rock/pop tracks simply warranting attention.  Admittedly, three of the songs making up the encounter were released as singles along the way but it is as part of Confection that they really blossom, each adding a magnetic aspect to its engaging whole.

Son of Skooshny is the creation of vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Mark Breyer, a project evolving out of acclaimed seventies band Skooshny who despite eventually breaking up found their releases still becoming collector items around Europe. Reforming in the nineties, they soon released a new EP with an album and compilation following, the latter in 2004. Six years later Son of Skooshny stepped forward, Breyer uniting with producer/collaborator Steve Refling, before unveiling debut album Lovers Leap of Faith. Its magnetic melodic pop sound further evolved within the 2013 Mid Cent Mod EP, a mellower blossom of imagination with a country/folk rock twist now pushed on again, while embracing the band’s pop instincts, by Confection.

The EP opens with Just a Test, a track swiftly seducing ears and attention with its tangy melodies and gently nagging stride. Equally a sixties pop air nuzzles song and imagination as Breyer’s expressive tones and suggestive melodies spread through the heart and body of the richly enticing encounter. As catchy as it is sultry, the song continues to coax body and appetite, its sound not a major leap from the last EP but richer in the weave of flavours and seductive prowess it bears.

That mentioned country scent spices the following No Ho, a slower gaited song which saunters with creative confidence as suggestive keys wrap Breyer’s words and the sonic romancing of the guitars. A melodic shimmer also lines the song replacing the snappier touch of its predecessor with its alluring presence and though it does not quite spark the appetite as forcibly, the track grows into a similarly potent proposal over time.

A similar design of flavours and textures shape the melodic caress of Cloud Cover straight after, a soft slice of catchy mellow pop deceptively low key as tempting harmonies cuddle and melodies conjure. Within this tranquil serenading though, an orchestral scented theatre rises within the song’s multi-layered landscape which only draws the imagination deeper into its beauty.

Half of the World is next, a melodic rock ‘n’ pop croon with its own adventure in catchiness draped in sixties inspired melodic flames and vocal smooching, before The Subtle Eye closes up the release with its smouldering country twanged caress. Both tracks have a XTC Oranges & Lemons / Elvis Costello Almost Blue like fusion to them, a flavouring adding to the sixties and melodic pop invention Son of Skooshny persistently show themselves so adept at casting.

Released earlier this year on Bandcamp but now being given a broad release through CD Baby on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and other stores by the band itself, Confection is a warm melodic snug with Son of Skooshny deserving of greater attention.

The Confection EP is out now across most stores and @ https://sonofskooshny.bandcamp.com/album/confection

http://www.skooshny.com/

Pete RingMaster 13/12/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The Simpletone – Angels’ Share

the-simpletone-band-pic_RingMasterReview

There are some releases which just demand success. Whether they get it in the increasingly fickle attention of the modern music fan is never a given but Angels’ Share, the new album from British rockers The Simpletone, does all the right things to make that commanding statement.

There is little we can share about the 2010 formed band other than its line-up is made up of John Davison, Craig Seymour, Glenn Eastoe, and Tom Cahill, it hails from St Neots in Cambridgshire, and has previously released the albums, Rampenny in 2012 and Dark Matter two years later, both seemingly well-received propositions. A UK tour with New Model Army in 2014 has been one of many live highlights for the band built on their stirring fusion of heavy and melodic rock with grunge, stoner and numerous other essences. It is a mix of flavours making for a striking proposition and imaginative proposal in Angels’ Share and songs which just roar with anthemic majesty and fiery enterprise.

The first of the ten cuts gripping ears and an early appetite for the band’s invigorating rock ‘n’ roll is Outta Control. Instantly a spicy groove winds around ears, leaning in closer as tenacious rhythms and riffs join its opening bait. Effect coated vocals equally lures keen ears as the song swaggers along with steady but rapacious grooves and a suggestive melody. The restraint stopping the track from exploding as it hints it might throughout is an inspired move, the song teasing and almost taunting along its enterprise shaped body. The heavier throb of bass and flames of harmonies only add to the lure of the song with guitar craft similarly as magnetic.

The following Love Street (Modern Mystery) keeps the rich enticement going with its punk folk lined stroll, simple but potent riffs colluding with swinging beats as vocals paint a suggestive picture. Its catchiness is a swift persuasion rapidly backed by the boisterous antics of the guitars as the track carries on the great variety already showing in the band’s sound, diversity more than confirmed by their mighty new single Storm Chaser. At over eleven minutes it is an epic persuasion which serenades the senses with melodic and harmonic caresses initially before building a bolder energy amidst an addictive rhythmic prowess. Weaving strands of space and progressive rock among other textures into its ever evolving adventure, the song is a kaleidoscope of melody heavy rock drawing on an array of decades while creating its own fresh, individual, and ever changing landscape of imagination. Like a mix of Skyscraper (the nineties UK band), Life of Agony, and Voyager, the track barely feels like its length and relentlessly has the listener compelled.

angels-share-cover_RingMasterReviewThe fact that next up Black Box still manages to eclipse it slightly shows the quality of its own exceptional design. A spirit stoking beast from its first touch, the song canters with muscular tenacity and fiery invention bred to virulent proportions as its mix of hard and heavy rock consumes ears and imagination. The track is exceptional, as punk in many ways as it is feisty rock ‘n’ roll with a drama of character and craft that demands attention and involvement.

Fire in the Sky steps up next with a growl in its basslines and a contagious swing in its rhythms, guitars and vocals dancing within their addictive tempting as soulful blues lined grooves bring an incendiary heat to the proposal. Like a seventies inspired union of Therapy? and Reuben, to try and offer a comparison, the song forcibly hits the spot before making way for the slower stoner-esque prowl of Nehemiah, an incitement pulling sludgy textures into its increasingly exotic and suggestive theatre. It is seriously compelling stuff, another song blossoming through an array of twists and flavours as it grows in ears.

The melodic charm of Day by Day is a similarly riveting proposition, the graceful yet sinewy instrumental finding a place between XTC and Tool as it seduces the imagination, setting it up for electrified air and nature of As Above so Below. Courting ears with a rapaciously formidable core in its raw riffs and bold rhythmic, the track wraps it in a melodic spiciness and mellower harmonic seducing which echoes elements of bands like Bush, Alice In Chains, and Sick Puppies yet sounds little like any.

If we tell you that Easy Come lacks the same galvanic sparks of its predecessors do not mistake it for a weak link within Angels’ Share; the song a highly persuasive slice of rock ‘n’ roll with guitar craft which shines like a beacon as the bass uncages a funk inspired personality. The fact the track is outshone by others is down to their might, a strength revelled in again by album closer Hunters. Whether by coincidence or design, there is a Horslips feel to the song certainly early on, and of fellow Brits KingBathmat but as across the album, things are soon woven into an addiction of sound and creative hooks roaring The Simpletone.

It is a glorious end to one treat of a release which deserves all the praise and attention it should and surely will get. Angels’ Share is another rousing encounter to add to our lustful favourites of 2016 list and no keener a recommendation we can offer.

Angels’ Share is out now across most online stores and on iTunes @ https://itunes.apple.com/album/id1169473074?ls=1&app=itunes

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Pete RingMaster 16/11/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Bag of Nickels – Amen

art_RingMasterReview

Amen is the first release since US rockers Bag of Nickels returned from a recent hiatus and an encounter to work neck muscles and hips. Creating an indie rock sound with a penchant for infectious hooks and rousing vocals, the Wilmington, Delaware bred band is not stretching boundaries with their new offering but it is certainly a release to light the day and heart.

Coming together in 1995, the life of Bag of Nickels has seen several breaks as its members worked on side and solo projects and to defuse the effect of “the grind of playing shows, working 9-5s, and inner turmoil.” The band’s previous albums, Soul Change and Mantequilla, coincided with potent local success and the earning of a strong live reputation which in time has seen the band venture into North Carolina and play several shows in New York.

Amen suggests a band returning from a break re-energised and with intent and the energy to stir up ears and bodies. Produced by Dennis Prado and co-produced and mixed with Grammy-award winning engineer Mike Tarsia, the album immediately gets to work with Hold Your Form. Riffs and whining guitars instantly grip ears as rhythms beat out a captivating lure. The bass is a great throaty element too, its dark grooves contrasting perfectly with the infectious vocal delivery and throbbing nature of the song. It is a great start to Amen quickly engaging body and appetite as familiar yet fresh hues escape the band.

The following Impurities wears more hard rock like essences with its less urgent but as rhythmically empowered character. Again guitars weave a web of enticement combining whining grooves and spicy melodies for two minutes of nothing less than highly enjoyable fun before making way for the Mike Tarsia Remix of Trapper Keeper. Without matching the snappy nature of its predecessors, the song slips easily through ears into an already keenly waiting appetite to hear what is next within Amen, pleasing with every second as the variety across the album blossoms and continues with the equally satisfying funk seeded and blues lined heart of The Set Up.

The rawer rock ‘n’ roll of Liquidation Sale forges a new peak within the album, its feistier melodies and rhythmic incitement compelling as again vocals impress and draw greater listener involvement while rhythms entice feet to share their energy.  More potent with every listen it still finds itself in the shadow of the excellent Speedball, a slice of fiery rock ‘n’ roll with hungry riffs and swinging beats not forgetting another juicily heavy and flirtatious bassline. There is a whiff of Foo Fighters meets The John Baker Trio to the track but as throughout the album any familiar essences collude with the band’s own invention and for the main are not so easy to pin them down.

The gentler hug of the album’s title track is next, guitars and harmonies a warm breeze across the evocative textures of bass and drums, vocals again drawing the imagination with their expression and words. The song is an enthralling encounter, another highlight with a volatility which sparks and erupts to fine effect across the album’s most exciting time, a success which continues to its close.

Amen is concluded by firstly the exotically hued Refrain, another mesmeric and rousing piece of melodic incitement matching the might and imagination of the previous song, and lastly with the bewitching adventure of Sex. Carrying a great XTC feel in their English Settlement era to it, the track glides through ears, stroking the imagination with its folkish yet boisterous melodies as another rhythmic escapade enslaves body and spirit.

Strong and enjoyable from the start but simply irresistible in its closing stretch, Amen easily warrants close attention from bigger spotlights. As suggested Bag of Nickels might not be venturing into unknown pastures with their album and sound but both leave a thick pleasure and keen want for more behind, a success many other bands can only dream of.

Amen is out now @ https://bagofnickels.bandcamp.com/

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Pete RingMaster 02/09/2016

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

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