Death & The Penguin – Anomie

Four years ago contemplating and feasting on their introduction via the Accidents Happen EP, we readily declared it “one of the most exciting entrances in a long time”, further intimating that “Death and the Penguin is the next big and important thing within British rock music.”  Even with the release of the Eine Kleine Granatenmusik EP two years later that emergence turning into national attention has seemingly stalled. You can sense though a busy band they are not ones to rush things or just release something unless it is exactly at its prime. That is why their highly anticipated debut album, Anomie has brought intrigue and fears. Extended time can diminish the potency of even the finest things but certainly not in the case of the imagination and sound of the UK outfit.

Described as “off-kilter alternative rock from London”, Death & The Penguin has a sound which teases but never accepts real tagging. At times it is avant-garde in its nature, in others experimental alternative/indie rock akin to a blend of Young Knives and Baddies. In other moments it blazes with an At The Drive In like dissonance yet as proven across the twelve compelling tracks of Anomie it is only unique to the quartet of Tobias Smith (vocals/guitar), Andy Acred (bass/vocals/keys/electronics), Chris Olsen (guitar/vocals/keys), and Phil Gadsden (drums).

The fascinating radiance of Hospital Song opens things up the song a wistful embrace of melancholy and haunting beauty shared by keys and voice within a more inharmonious breeze. It is a startling start to the release, bold and brave but undoubtedly magnetic as it leads to the waiting hands of The Calving Shuffle. Simply sensational, the track has ears and appetite on board immediately with its rhythmic shuffle, guitars weaving their suggestive threads in turn as the darker pulse of the bass groans while its political scything gives extra edge to vocals and its tone, as too more post punk hued sonic scrapes and the gang arousals.

A major highlight of the album, it is quickly rivalled by the angular twists of Kill Saatchi where warm melodies and enticing harmonies wrap its more untamed dynamics. Addressing the insidiousness of adverts and subservience to them, the track firmly nudges the imagination as it coaxes the body with its mercurial presence before Space 1998 has both rocking. One of two tracks taken from that first EP, and it has to be said both thoroughly welcomed and deserving of their place with the new offerings, the song is a spatial serenade with flirtation in its melodic web and tenacious energy in its spiral of craft and enterprise. Having a vocal hook-line which is just irresistible only adds to its majesty.

Colour In Me is next, its initial shimmer punctured by the rhythmic dexterity of Gadsden is coaxing of the richest order and soon backed by just as magnetic tendrils of guitar and Smith’s always gripping vocals. For all its virulent contagiousness volatility simmers in its depths, rising up with restraint from time to time to bring a great contrasting grittiness to the track while Misha Lives presents its magnetism through a slow but catchy stroll amidst electronic teasing and atmospheric drama. The song is a collage of flavours but all merged without clear definition into its post rock/electro/pop croon.

The folk gentleness of Driftwood (God Loves a Bird of Prey) has thoughts slipping away on its evocatively elegant breath, an acoustic flight brought back to earth by the ever addictive roar of Strange Times. The second from Accidents Happen, the song just grips from its first rapacious moment. With post hardcore hinting discord erupting across its melodic cacophony and those previously mentioned Young Knives essences colouring its character, the track continues to be manna to our ears.

Just as potent though is the truly manipulative Abyssinia. Rhythmically and harmonically it lured subservience to its suggestive heart and prowess within moments, tightening its persuasive hold by the second and each creative turn as at its core a wonderfully dark nagging bassline drives and stirs all of the adventure.

The final trio of tracks ensure the lofty heights of the album never the dip, the first of the trio, Leatherface, setting a peak of its own as sonic threat and rhythmic predation colludes with instinctive catchiness and lyrical trespass of emotive scars. Being suggested as a future single, the track is glorious epitomising the individual alchemy of the band’s songwriting, imagination, and adventurous sound.

Was It Kindness? takes on the challenge of following such a gem with its own untethered imagination where keys and voice tempt and taunt throughout as an inner crescendo bubbles up and eases, eventually bursting into a relatively calm pasture of enterprise and not the rousing romp expected; a deceit which works a treat leaving the evocative ballad of Bones to enjoyably conclude one thrilling release.

In some ways such the excellence of Accidents Happen, the quality and adventure within Anomie is not a surprise but everything about the album is bigger, bolder, and so much more irresistibly unpredictable…Another of the year’s truly essential explorations for us.

Anomie is out now and available @ https://datpmusic.bandcamp.com/

 

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Pete RingMaster 15/08/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Wax Futures – The Museum of Everything

Photo by Jonathan Dadds.

UK band Wax Futures to our mind has never fully fitted their post hardcore tag with their flavoursome sound but it has never been less applicable than with the bands new mini album The Museum of Everything. Boasting a virulent contagion of sound as indie, post punk, and new wave as it is math and punk rock, the release is a refreshing and inimitable slice of rock ‘n’ roll revelling in the new maturity and imagination fuelling the trio’s songwriting and music.

Formed in the final breaths of 2011, the Telford hailing band soon made their mark on the local live scene. With a growing support and reputation they released the Breadcrumbs EP in 2013, before tempting bigger attention with debut album A History of Things to Come; it like its successor a seven track offering with a more post hardcore heart to its enterprise. With their live presence taking in the UK, sharing stages with the likes of Limp Bizkit, Bear Makes Ninja, &U&I, Tall Ships, Alpha Male Tea Party, Castrovalva, Bad Grammar, The JCQ, and Idles along the way, the band have spent their time working on The Museum of Everything, evolving and pushing their creativity simultaneously. It was a concentrated effort now easily and swiftly heard in the album and greedily enjoyed twist by turn.

Recorded with Ryan Pinson (God Damn, Bad Grammar), produced and mastered by Tom Woodhead (ex-¡Forward, Russia!), The Museum of Everything gets down to infectious business straight away as a lone riff squirrels itself in ears, a lure soon joined by a vocal count and controlled swipes from Simon’s sticks. As they all enjoyably collude, Sandcastles in the Snow comes alive, a scuzzy hook reaching out as rhythms slip into a controlled canter while vocals further capture ears in tandem with the groove escaping Graham’s guitar. With the easy going meander of Kieran’s bass teasing feet, the song becomes busier, heading into an equally undemanding but inescapably catchy chorus. Never quite igniting but with a neat whiff of early Kaiser Chiefs to its subsequent enticement, the song is a compelling start to the album setting out an appetising canvas of invention soon taken to bigger and bolder heights.

Demographics is next and instantly with its opening melody alone, brings a Young Knives feel into play, one only accentuated by the vocals and the subsequent web of sonic intrigue and infectious collaboration across the threesome. Hooks grab attention throughout, littering the aural drama and flirtatious energy combining like a mix of At the Drive-In and Swound! but only creating its own distinct adventure. A constant nag on body and pleasure, the song makes way for the just as impressive (My Body is a) Landfill. Instantly, more boisterous in energy and just as enticing in contagious endeavour as its predecessors, the track strolls along with a knowing and inventive swagger; its hands on receptive hips and tenacious feet teasing and taunting them into action with its creative zeal. As all tracks there is also a meatier, raucous edge and air which coats it all, the band’s punk instincts adding to the increasingly tenacious and imposing treat.

From one major highlight to another and Wreck of the Hesperus. As soon as it lays down its first line of bait, the song becomes a tapestry of seductive espionage woven from deceptive hooks and devious grooves, neither seemingly as intrusive and enslaving as they really are. With every passing second, the band’s rock ‘n’ roll heart becomes bolder, closing in on a volatile, increasingly menacing psychosis of a finale to leave an appetite hungry for more.

That heavier, irritable essence is still hanging round as next up The 90s Called, It Wants Yr Misspent Youth Back rumbles in ears. It is a ravenous bordering on rabid incitement from which a smiling groove and teasing stroll breaks free. Now with its relaxed but irresistible swing wrapped ingenuity fondling the senses, the song simply traps and chains the passions with something akin to We Are The Physics meets The Futureheads.

The cosmic twittering of { } leads in the evocative pastures of closing track Brittle Bones and an epic and increasingly dense rapture of melodic suggestion and angular jangles around rhythmic trespass. Holding its own lively groove led saunter, the song sees Wax Futures push their emotive intensity and creative designing yet again; both intensifying as the song brews and boils up into a powder keg of sonic turbulence eventually sending the album off into spatial unknowns leaving the listener lingering on keen anticipation for what comes next from the band.

The Museum of Everything is Wax Futures upon a new lofty plateau in songwriting and sound. At times it might not ignite as it hints it will and maybe lacks a final bite to its most agitated moments but only announces the band as a real player within the UK rock scene and a stalwart in the passions of certainly our personal soundtracks, something hard to imagine being alone in.

The Museum of Everything is out now @ https://waxfutures.bandcamp.com/

 

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Pete RingMaster 05/04/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Bear Makes Ninja – Shenanagrams

BMN_RingMasterReview

We all like a bit of teasing before being seduced, a touch of flirting before getting fully involved in a lustful union and that is exactly what the songs within Shenanagrams do. The debut album from British math/alternative rock trio Bear Makes Ninja, it is a collection of tracks which offer a variety of off-kilter and imaginative bait which lures and entices before leading ears and imagination into feisty sonic revelry.

The Sleaford in Lincolnshire hailing, 2010 formed, threesome of James Palmer, Ben Kutzner, and Karina Lawrence are no strangers to attention and lusty praise thanks to a previous pair of EPs in If We Were Cats of 2010 and Shouting at Bridges two years later, as well as a compelling and dynamic live presence which has taken in the sharing of stages with the likes of Mutiny On The Bounty, Cleft, Axis Of, Alpha Male Tea Party, The Wyches, Axes, and Alright The Captain amongst many over time. The band has also made very well-received appearances at festivals such as Arc Tan Gent, BBC Introducing, So Festival, Hockey Hustle and Airfield Anarchy. Fair to say they have welcomed plenty of praise over time but now they are ready to create their biggest stir yet with Shenanagrams, an encounter which has body and imagination on board from its first tenacious moments.

The contagious instrumental Double Twice gets things off and rocking first, guitar and bass riffs colluding from its first breath to nag and entwines the senses as bolder rhythms brew behind them. Once into its full stride, irresistible hooks spear and vein a muggy but no less vibrant climate of sonic enterprise and captivating temptation. There is a Buzzcocks-esque hue to those hooks and the wandering melodic spicery whilst the heart of the track becomes increasingly volatile and feistier over time to complete the inimitable tempting of body and spirit.

art_RingMasterReviewA virulently gripping start to the album, it is magnetically backed up by Aches and Veins. A less agitated encounter to its predecessor but no lightweight on math rock ingenuity as skittish rhythms link up with jazzier flirtations of guitar and bass, the song also brews its own slightly tempestuous crescendos of energy and drama. Like The Fall of Troy meets Young Knives, ears and feet are gripped in no time then passed over to the similarly explosive and virulent Bob’s Logs. Again the just mentioned Leicestershire trio come to mind, they the most regular hint we can use to the creative tapestry spun by Bear Makes Ninja across Shenanagrams. The three pronged vocal persuasion is especially alluring in the third track, radiating with character and harmonic charm from within the at times thickly busy climate of the track.

B.F.C (Banned from Chicken) bounces around with stabbing hooks and eccentric rhythms next, every second of the track creative drama which, as the album, only intrigues, reveals, and impresses more with every listen. The same of course applies to the funk loaded shuffle of I Ditch Girls Who Believe in Ghosts, another hip manipulating, enjoyment installing instrumental, whilst 12345, from a celestial ambience smothered entrance, evolves into a vivacious swirl of sinew sculpted grooves and sonic intensity which storm over the senses whilst treating them to acidic hooks and racy melodic flames. Ebbing and flowing in energy, the song alone triggers another urge of greed to an already eager appetite for the album.

These Little Snakes is a more even mannered proposal, though just as frisky with its robust pop rock conjuring of rapacious invention. The burst of kinetic sound and intensity which blesses all tracks has, as here, a certain Reuben like quality, if without the predacious snarl of the still missed UK band. It is a quality which only adds to the experience and enjoyment though, as echoed in the closing roar of the album’s title track. Shenanagrams song and full-length is a bracingly animated incitement of body and spirit, its snaky grooves like wandering hands fondling the imagination as rhythms swing hips and vocals spark another host of eager involvement.

Exploring fresh post/noise rock hues too, the track is a masterful end to a thoroughly fascinating and rousing release. Shenanagrams is the announcement of a fresh creative devil in the British rock scene; the realisation of the hints and promise laid in Bear Makes Ninja’s previous encounters but more so the opening of a new depth of imagination and inventive fun within the band.

Shenanagrams is out now on CD, Vinyl, and digitally via Mountains Of Records @ http://bearmakesninja.bandcamp.com/

Upcoming Bear Makes Ninja Shows:

UK:

Sat 23rd April- Stag and Hounds, BRISTOL.

Fri 6th May- CHAOS THEORY, The Black Heart, Camden, London.

Sat 7th May- SMALL POND RECORDINGS, Brighton.

Sat 21st May- SHANTI FEST, Horncastle, Lincolnshire.

Fri 17th June- Cobbles Bar, Louth, Lincolnshire.

Sat 18th June- BAD OWL, Leeds.

European Tour With Alright The Captain:

Fri 25th March- Music City, Antwerp.

Sat 26th March- Cologne, Germany.

Fri 1st April- Mistni Borci, Pilsen, Czech Republic.

Sat 2nd April- Prague, Czech Republic.

Weds 6th April- The Wild Rover, Aachen, Germany.

Thurs 7th April- Luxembourg

Fri 8th April-Brussels, Belgium.

Sat 9th April- Borgloon, Belgium.

https://www.facebook.com/bearmakesninja

Pete RingMaster 15/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Dead Betas – Siren EP

The Dead Betas Band

I am sure we all get excited and very often from new bands and introductions to their creative persuasions, but truly, really excited? Maybe much less so but that deep rooted tingle has certainly been inspired by the Siren EP from UK synth punks The Dead Betas. Our first encounter with the North Devon quintet but their third EP, Siren is a rioting, confrontational slab of creative and energetic agitation. Consisting of five in your face provocations of sonic anarchy as well as a trio of remixes, the release is middle finger raised punk rock cast in electro and alternative rock devilment, and quite compelling.

Emerging in 2010, The Dead Betas began whipping up attention with first EP Blast​-​Arcadecore at the end of that first year. The Dead End Habit EP three years later sparked a fresh and more intensive wave of attention, though some of us missed that invitation also. Having taken in stage sharing with the likes of Mindless Self Indulgence, UK Subs, Lethal Bizzle, Boomtown Rats, InMe and many more over the years and fresh from playing Goff Fest recently, the band explodes into view again with Siren, a cracker of an incitement uncaged just before the band go on a UK tour supporting The Birthday Massacre.

With its songs looking at “life, or the lack of, in small towns across the world”, Siren erupts into life with its title track, and instantly has body and emotions breeding a lusty appetite for its punk rock ruggedness. Riffs and rhythms gang up on the senses in an intimidating but anthemic way, keys hanging around in the background and almost smiling at the trespass under way before throwing off their own cloak and dancing vivaciously across the stomping landscape. There is a great old school punk essence to the track but equally a modern ferocity and imagination, like The Vibrators and Autopsy Boys meets a punk version of Young Knives.

Siren Artwork   It is an exhilarating start soon surpassed by the mischievous sounds and character of A Night On The Town. Synths and the tangy twangs of guitar strings open up the proposal, rhythms in close quarter with their own jabbing tempting. The aggressive vocal delivery only adds to the potency and fierceness of the electro rocker, as does an open inspiration of MSI, and as the keys continue to swirl venomously around the psyche, the punkish nature of the track reveals an aggravated intent to incite the deepest pleasure within the volatile adventure of the excellent song.

15. comes next and immediately has a flurry of catchy hooks and electro tempting teasing and firing up body and thoughts. Feet are tapping with rigour almost straight away whilst hips flirt with the enterprise of the synths as vocals roar and accuse simultaneously. Again there is an essence of Young Knives to the encounter, more openly through the vocals, whilst thoughts of Hadouken and Swound! add to the colourful and irritable energy of another exhaustingly thrilling offering. Adrenaline, as through all songs, surges within sound and delivery whilst contagiousness, well that’s a given.

From a broody bassline, Lotion steps forward for the rawest punk offering on the release, grooves and hooks as belligerent as the caustic vocals. Electronic melodies simmer away within the battleground of the song though for once they remain there adding alluring spices. Lyrically the song pulls no punches either and certainly this track has brought many lamenting on the juvenile immaturity of the writing. Here you can understand their thoughts though for us it feels, rightly or wrongly, like it is a character pouring out the coarse narrative, and if the latter it has done punk bands and indeed MSI no harm over the years anyway.

The release’s original tracks end with the brilliant tempest of Ego Song, the finest slab of electro punk you will probably hear this year. Like Rabbit Junk meets The Adicts with a splash of once more Swound!, the song twists and rages with a spiky attitude, sinister synth bred melodies, and addiction forging virulence. Punk does not get any more dynamic and bracing.

With remixes from Martron, Bear La Soul, and Alpha Project of the title track completing the release, all enjoyable interpretations though always you hanker for the original, Siren leaves energies breathless and emotions thrilled. If like us the EP is your wake-up call to The Dead Betas then a treat is guaranteed and for those in the know, the band just proves that no matter their claim, punk is not dead, just evolving again.

The Siren EP is available now @ http://www.thedeadbetas.bigcartel.com/

Tour dates for The Birthday Massacre with The Dead Betas and The Red Paintings.

April 21st – Classic Grand, Glasgow

April 22nd – Academy, Manchester

April 24th – Institute, Birmingham

April 25th – The Garage, London

April 26th – The Fleece, Bristol

https://www.facebook.com/thedeadbetas   https://twitter.com/tdbetas

RingMaster 15/04/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRDn-H7MHeQ

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

How To Swim – Niagarama

HTS

An inescapable transfixing, Niagarama the new album from Scottish chamber pop band How To Swim seduces with an irresistible charm and almost devious artistry which simply enslaves the imagination and passions. It is a deliciously varied and adventurous escapade, a melodic emprise which is as unafraid to tease and tantalise as it is to lie romantically upon the ears and senses. In many ways the band is still a relative secret, inexplicably escaping so far a spotlight which their new full-length definitely suggests they deserve, but now with its unveiling you can only imagine and expect that whisper of recognition to soon become a roar.

Formed in 2000 by vocalist/guitarist Gregor Barclay, How to Swim has persistently intrigued and ignited thoughts with their releases and evolving sound. From a rawer encounter the band has developed an orchestrated pop which devours ears as vivaciously as ears devour it, with Niagarama the pinnacle of the band’s rise so far. Numerous line-up changes have come within the life of the band and now from a complement of personnel reaching double figures the band has become a lean mean pop machine featuring members of The Second Hand Marching Band, The Martial Arts, and the now-defunct Mother and The Addicts, but a sextet just as potent in presence and weight of invention as ever. The new album also sees a wealth of talented guests helping realise the songwriting and imagination of Barclay and the Glasgow band, and the exploration of ‘the loss of youth and how we process it’, the album’s core theme amidst a pungent metaphor indicated by its title. It is a magnificent beast of enticement, one to have feet dancing, imagination painting, and emotions reflecting.

Released on their own Personal Hygiene Recordings and the successor to the acclaimed Retina (or More Fun Than a Vat of Love) of HTS cover2010, Niagarama takes little time to fascinate and subsequently bewitch as Niagara opens up the fun. From a haunted intro the song cups ears with poetic keys and the coaxing expressive tones of Barclay, his voice a slightly gravelly but alluring enticement which fits perfectly within the piano melodies and emotive strokes of strings from their manipulative bows. It is a surprising entrance into the album, a potent croon which does not ignite senses and emotions but certainly stirs them up nicely for the following triumph of Small Parts Moving. The second track instantly grips attention with discord kissed rub of violins immediately courted by darker bass hues and great twisted teasing of guitars. The song is soon in full control of the emotions as it hits its stride, brass and vocals adding their descriptive hues to the emerging narrative. Bouncing with the appetite of pure pop but equally twisting it with an invention which crosses numerous styles and veins of sound, the track dances eagerly like a mix of James Cook and Union Starr.

With an inspired rapturous hunger now in place the following Bacterium feeds it again with its insatiable bait complete with a swagger clad melodic tempting and rhythmic shuffle matched by vocals and brass. An essence of Young Knives brings further depth to the persuasion, whilst the mischievous heart and swing of the song simply enslaves body and soul. It is a glorious romp matching its predecessor in setting an early lofty plateau for the album. With mesmeric devilry to the guitars and the gait of the encounter, the band envelops the listener in a weave of feisty seduction which is straight away pushed to greater success by Too Old For A Crush (To Be Endearing). With firm rhythms aligned to imagination clasping swipes of riffs, brass, and elegant keys, all under the spell of the excellently blended male and female harmonies, the song is an irresistible temptress; a seductress which steals even greater submission through sudden blazes of intensity and concussive voracity. It is a scintillating waltz of beauty and ferocity, a dramatic show with the carnivalesque suasion of Tankus The Henge and the rapacious ingenuity of 12 Stone Toddler, yet rigorously unique to How To Swim.

Both It Doesn’t Even Have To Be You and I Need A War keep the album in control of attention and greedy appetite, if without quite matching earlier heights. The first recalls the fluid warmth of eighties bands like The Lightning Seeds which soak radiant melodies and brass flames with extra infectiousness skirted by the emotive strings which constantly provide the colour for emotions and thoughts to cast their individual premises. Its successor from a slow and charming vocal/acoustic embrace glides in on a seventies pop like breath, with again strong blends of harmonies to fill its emotional embrace. It is an appealing start but one which does not take a firm hold until a rhythmic adventure and a web of guitar sculpted ingenuity takes over the tempting. The song then swiftly moves into unpredictable scenery which entwines both aspects of its intent for a thoroughly satisfying sultry proposition.

The brief INTERMISSION: The Dead Cat Bounce steps in next for an ok diversion before the jazzy waltz of Long Division takes ears on another seventies bred mystery with exciting rewards. The song merges funk and pop into its lively yet smouldering saunter to capture the imagination once more before the potent Bark steps in to steal the passions all over again. Managing to be melancholic and excitingly buoyant simultaneously, it an effervescent whirlwind of invention and emotions, the track is gorgeous with keys and strings along with the ever inviting vocals taking top honours.

The album closes with Animals and All That We Wait For, two songs which certainly in the case of the first are almost toying with thoughts, inflaming their creativity with a weave of inspiring musical imagination. An electronic simplicity marks the first of the pair whilst a vocal caress within a flight of engrossing strings and absorbing melodies ensures the final song brings a compelling last incitement to bask in. The song takes longer than most to convince but with a riveting Walker Brothers like sixties magnificence to its emerging grandeur, it is another immense highlight of the album.

Niagarama is quite sensational and surely the key to taking How To Swim into the recognition and burning spotlight they have long suggested through their music and invention that they deserved. Pop does not get any better than this, or as imposingly impacting, a must release for all.

Niagarama is available via Personal Hygiene Recordings now @ https://howtoswim.bandcamp.com/album/niagarama

https://www.facebook.com/howtoswim

9/10

RingMaster 16/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Smilex – La Petite Mort

Smilex

Part devious, part psychotic, and all compelling, La Petite Mort is an album which revels in uncompromising and distraught rock ‘n’ roll. It is an encounter which sits easily alongside recent gems from imaginative UK protagonists like Mojo Fury, The Dropper’s Neck, and Japanese Fighting Fish, from a band crafting and inciting for over a decade garnering a sizeable reputation. Oxford quartet Smilex now look ready to stand alongside the greats of the UK scene with their new album under their thrilling creative wing. It is a mouthwatering adventure, one which is wonderfully unpredictable and occasionally meandering in its success but most of all it is a masterful persuasion which makes the world great and urges the mind to explore its insanity.

La Petite Mort follows several well-received and acclaimed releases on, like the new album, Quickfix Recordings, as well as compilations, a collaboration with MC Lars, and a split release with the mighty Young Knives. Equally renowned for their live performances which has seen the band share stages with the likes of The Damned, The Datsuns, and The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, the latter you suspect an inspiration on the band going by the new album, Smilex has enslaved their locale and surrounding areas with their gripping sound. Now with the weightily flavoured La Petite Mort you can sense that the rest of the country and further afield are about to fall before them too.

Mixed by numerous contributors including Ace of Skunk Anansie with whom the band has worked before, the album from its first covermoment is immersing ears and imagination in an ever evolving and twisting array of styles and maniacal enterprise for a blisteringly potent and striking adventure. To be honest its start bred reservations before ardour, 9hz not making the dramatic impact certainly initially as expected though it wins its case ultimately. A single guitar teasing starts things off and is soon joined by the great earthy voice of the bass and keenly unpredictable rhythms. It is a gentle coaxing which invites attention, especially with the addition of the expressive delivery of Lee Christian. It is not a dramatic entrance to grip the imagination though it is fair to say that the bass skills of Jen Acton (replaced in the band since the album by Olivia Luce) seduce and floating restrained harmonies bewitch. Into its narrative with the guitar of Tom Sharp and his supporting vocals bringing extra spice, the song has an air of The Eagles to its emotive breath whilst simultaneously a brewing weight of shadows and intensity grows and intimidates as a fiery raw surface for the senses to be wrapped in emerges. It is an engagingly and impressively designed proposition but one which fails to find that spark to greatness.

That trigger is found and pulled with both Deadman’s Dirge and Wasted Youth, the pair instantly adding new character and anthemic urgency to the release. The first explodes with a punk tenacity and hunger as well as power pop meets noise rock vivacity. It is a delicious slice of psyche twisting ingenuity, the vocals ensuring the ride is testing and enthralling whilst the rhythmic skills of Pat Holmberg again thoroughly impress. As it caustically seduces there is a feel of The St Pierre Snake Invasion to the brawl as well as a sniff of Melvins to its intrusive imagination, a mix which ignites anticipation for its successor. The second of the two like the first, saunters in on a gentle breeze shaped by guitar and rhythms around the slight angst kissed vocals. Young Knives comes to mind swiftly, though to be fair as it flares and erupts, the song soon has something unique to offer. It is a raw and acidically sultry persuasion which though not quite matching its predecessor sets another appetite provoking flirtation in motion.

Revive The Revival similarly has a abrasing edge to its melodic dance and enticing body, but also a thrilling invention which means ears and emotions are treated to fondling melodies, noise bred rapaciousness, and a rhythmic examination which leaves senses exhausted and blissful. As deceitfully contagious as it is menacingly disarming, the track is a glorious tempest of primal rock ‘n roll to set the passions ablaze once again.

The following What Is It You Actually Do Again?! enters on a reflective emotive caress of guitar accompanied by bas and rhythms and vocals, a start the band seem to like almost too much as it does offer a little predictability. To counter that though the elegant starts are more often than not followed, as here by varied and incendiary sonic hues and enthralling drum manipulations as sparking spears of sound and invention also escape into and from the very decent start. The track itself twists and turns like a Eastern dancer, sinews and rippling melodic flesh enslaving the imagination.

The carnivalesque mystique of La Valse Macabre makes another entrancing canvas upon which the imagination in its painting joins up with guitars and vocals, a wealth of rhythmic and harmonious hints adding their distinctive colours along the way. Merging a folkish indie essence with raw rock and metallic hunger, the track is a dark landscape which seduces with persistently shifting voracity, in many ways preparing the way for the outstanding Evil. With robust intensive rhythmic work from the excellent Holmberg and carnivorous stabs and riffs from Sharp, the track is instantly riding the passions with its metal spawned rock ‘n’ roll. It is a predator of a song but one determined to have fun as it explores a blues rock and melodic metal scenery to keep things unpredictable and rigorously captivating. It is a beast of a suasion, almost toying with the listener as it seamless merges metal and stoner-esque predation for an exceptional creative ferocity.

The lofty heights continue with the haunting atmosphere and melodies of Manatee, a mermaid of a song which lures and seduces with siren like beauty but equally is cloaked in shadows and heavy emotions to endanger and threaten. It is a masterful aural portrait inspiring thoughts and feelings whilst providing an intensely smouldering landscape to bask within and escape into. From vocals to bass, guitars to drums, the track steals the listener away, examining and inciting with every note and syllable.

The release is completed by the terrific garage punk stomp of Please Do Not Feed The Drug Child, a brilliant bruise of punk infused rock which is virulently infectious, and One Woman Man. The final song provides stretches of nagging rhythms and niggling riffs around emotive vocals and reflective melodies with further inventive passages of reserve and rabidity. It is a track which takes longer to win over thoughts but given time emerges as a wonderful creative tango furthering the potential and weight of the songwriting and its realisation. The track makes a fine end to an outstanding album, one which even with moments which do not quite meet personal requirements more often than not has those same wants overfed and even greedier. Smilex is the future of British rock ‘n’ roll in tandem with a wealth of other psyche reshaping bands, are you ready?

La Petite Mort is available digitally and physically via Quickfix Recordings now @ www.smilex.co.uk

8.5/10

RingMaster 13/06/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Death and the Penguin – Accidents Happen

Death and the Penguin

Providing a clutch of immersive anthems, though may be not in the recognisable sense, Accidents Happen the debut EP from UK indie/rock band Death and the Penguin is not only magnificent stands as one of the most startling and compellingly invigorating releases to hit the senses this year so far. Consisting of six tracks which are as bewitchingly eclectic and striking as they are voraciously imaginative and inciting, the EP is a mouthwatering persuasion which boldly tempts and riotously seduces with an invention and virulence that is unstoppable. For a debut it is extraordinary and for a first step by a band one of the most exciting entrances in a long time.

Taking their name from a satirical novel by Ukrainian Andrey Kurkov, the London quartet of Tobias Smith (vocals, guitar), Christopher Olsen (guitar, keyboard, vocals), Andrew Acred (bass, keyboard, vocals), and Timothy Brennik (drums, percussion, vocals) make a first impression which it is hard to imagine could have been any more potent and incisive then what it is. It is a release which starts off with a stirring proposition and just gets better and bigger with each track, all the while revealing the depths to the band’s songwriting, craft, and adventure whilst soaking it in a promise which more than suggests of even greater things to come.

Opener Snuffed Out instantly awakens thoughts and attention, a blaze of guitar which almost swarms over the senses igniting an instant D&TPAHappetite with its Echo and the Bunnymen toning to the melodic flames leaving the fingers of Olsen and Smith. There is a throaty resonance to the sound which becomes a specific essence of the band across the EP to relish as well as a sweet tasting discord which only accentuates the impact of first impressions. As the song spreads its narrative, a Radiohead like whisper chills the lively ambience as a cleaner and warmer but no less striking version of an At The Drive In like rapaciousness rallies a greedy appetite. It is the dark heavy voice of bass and the coring riffs which steal the thunder though, their continuing likeness to McCulloch and co. irresistible. Though more of a grower than other tracks, it continues to worm its way under the skin and into the psyche, proving to be a dramatic and impossibly infectious not forgetting momentous first slice of temptation.

The following Space 1998 casts a spatial embrace around ears initially, its warm and intriguing elegance asking the imagination to play which it eagerly does, especially with the heavily weighted thump of beats and guitar snarl which joins the beauteous lure. From that union a dazzling mathcore weave of bass and guitar steps forth to toy and quickstep with the senses, their bewildering quickstep and groove unbelievably magnetic. The vocals as in the first song impress from the lead to the eager backing whilst the fire and passion in the band leaves no element unwashed as evidenced by the simply mesmeric chorus. For undefined reasons there is a feel of latter period XTC to the song which only adds to the insatiable funk and jazz bred ingenuity of the stunning and constantly developing landscape.

The song marks a loftier pinnacle in the terrain of the release, elevating past its predecessor before next up An Opening unveils an atmospheric and haunting embrace over the senses. It is a brief and highly evocative piece which swaps the adrenaline fuelled romps of other songs for a melancholic intensity and though it does not inflame emotions as elsewhere the track certainly leads thoughts into a potent venture.

Strange Times has no problem in setting a fuse to a predatory hunger with its roaring entrance; guitars, drums, and keys making a melodic cacophony courted by the ever heavy breath of the bass whilst vocally the band soars with relish and energy. The entrance immediately sparks thoughts of Young Knives though as ever the song twists and lurches through ingenious detours and turns in its way to seducing the passions. Continuing to ebb and flow in its evocative intensity, the eruption of a fire bred guitar surge and the persistently provoking rhythms of Brennik scorch and bruise the senses respectively as the band sculpts another gloriously unpredictable and vigorously compelling exploit.

The persistently rising curve of brilliance to the EP shows no sign of levelling out as it and band step to another level with the closing pair of songs. The first is Bitumen, a track which brings the anthemic unity of the chain-gang into a blues kissed slab of pure invention. As primal and tribal as it is voraciously soulful the track is just brilliant, a sonic and rhythmic alchemy which seduces and smothers every pore of body, mind, and heart. An element of De Staat comes to mind with the agitated glory of the drums and percussion, but again the song is as unique and distinct to Death and the Penguin as you could expect and wish.

As the track closed it has to be admitted that we thought the release’s pinnacle was found but The Words That Maketh Murder soon shoves that thought aside. The song leaps at the ear with a wind of raucous vocals and grooved sonic groans, like a mix of Collisions and Hadouken it consumes the ears with a punkish recruitment which has a greedy attention basking in the subsequent flow of emotive vocals and imaginative intrigue. The switching gallop and canter of the chorus is sensationally incendiary, whilst the increasingly fertile landscape of the track with its swing and groove lilted swagger just concentrates the submissive toxins of the quite genius encounter. With another flood of infection cruising through a climax clad in a kaleidoscope of inventive colour and sonic mystique to end things on a plateau, Accidents Happen is simply incredible and already the instigator to suggestions that the Death and the Penguin is the next big and important thing within British rock music. Time will tell but we will not be betting against it.

Accidents Happen is released on May 5th through Best Before Records.

https://www.facebook.com/datpmusic

9.5/10

RingMaster 04/05/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Quiet Marauder – Men

Quiet Marauder

     Exactly how good an album Men whilst engulfed by its epic mass of tracks it is hard to actually decide but as a compelling and persistently suggestive slab of fun there are no doubts about the debut album from Welsh band Quiet Marauder. It is a mass of musical and lyrical devilry, a persuasion of anti-folk which parades mischievous anarchy, humorously sculpted incites, and simple daftness across its continually engaging presence. The album is also the band’s attempt to enter the Guinness Book of Records for the longest debut album with 111 tracks. Made up of 4 CDs there are bound to be some ‘fillers’ in that intensive amounts of songs but even when the Bubblewrap Records released album does slip below the high standards set within its body, the tracks come with a charm and wit you can only embrace.

     Quiet Marauder is driven by the Cardiff based songwriting core of Simon M. Read and Jonathan Day with inspirations coming from the likes of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Syd Barrett, Half Man Half Biscuit, Jeffrey Lewis, and The Fugs. Musically a collective of musicians with an array of sounds and equipment musical and kitchen, the band provides an encounter which is provocative and eccentric bordering crazed and fully evidenced by Men. Their previous self-released EP was a re-imagining of footballer Alan Shearer as a time traveller turned deity inhabiting humanity’s cultural memory after infiltrating all our collective history. Men also carries a concept, if less mad, through its imaginative lunacy, the four volumes of the album ‘charting the path of the male psyche through love, rejection, breakdown, madness, intoxication and, ultimately, resolution’. How much that comes over as you chuckle and roar at a great many of the songs and certainly contemplate most can be debated but as mentioned what is undeniable is the pleasure and frivolity which thrills the ears.

     How to describe Men… well imagine Irish acoustic band The Radioactive Grandma meeting Flight Of The Concords in a quiet-marauders-shortcreative maze with Television Personalities and The Goons, now you get the idea. Released in Wales at the tail of 2013 and in the UK this coming January 27th, it is impossible to cover the whole of the five hours offered so we will pick some of the best tracks on the release, or rather our definite favourites.  From the brief vocally cast opening title track of Vol. 1, the CD offering a parade of songs looking at the male psyche in the pursuit of love, second song The Language of the Body featuring Little Arrow strums out its temptation with acoustic caresses aligned to a melodica seduction. The united array of vocals is excellent, raising a smile with their mischief whilst the lead vocal has a riveting tone like an inebriated Bryan Ferry. The song coaxes the imagination and emotions perfectly and is not equalled again, despite some thoroughly enjoyable engagements, until the almost baroque tones of Love Is a Two Racquet Sport croons contagiously in the ear. Both I’m Sorry I Removed Your Eyes featuring John Mouse and Annabelle spark the passions to greater hunger, the first an energetic dance of jazzy invention and the second a swoon of clumsy romance within a smouldering acoustic enticement. As with all the best songs on the album you cannot help joining in with the chorus, cries, or silliness vocally and emotionally. The quirkily anthemic It Wasn’t Me, It Was The Moon, the hypnotically persuasive The Game featuring Hail! The Planes, and So It Went Like This…. all contest best track honours not only on the first volume but whole album, the last of the trio especially incendiary to feet and an emerging devilish appetite.

     The second volume dealing with a masculine reflective look at past failures which broaden to encompass greater issues is arguably not as strong as its predecessor or certainly does not offer up as many major highlights though again every track tickles and pleases in the right places. The Dancing Did reminding Daddy’s Watching Slugs, a minimalist rhythmic and vocal tempting with again seducing melodica, makes a wonderfully virulent teasing with an additional essence of Cardiacs too it whilst the brilliant I Want A Moustache, Dammit romps with and recruits the fullest passions for its irresistible and infectious melodic swagger. Both hit new pinnacles and maybe highlight the inadequacies of the less impressing ventures even if again it has to be confirmed that there are few if any tracks which leave you lacking any joy or satisfaction. Tesco Terrorism featuring Bensh is another prankish incitement of impish artistry which is immediately followed by the outstanding Impressive, a naggingly addictive stroll of vocal and melodic rascality. Though the second disc is not the strongest as suggested earlier it does provide some of the very best songs and example of the irreverently enthralling imagination and almost coltish ingenuity of the band. With mentions for the brilliant Young Knives like If We Were Playas with Houdini Dax guesting and Every Last Dinosaur with the addition of again John Mouse to its exceptional luring a must,  we move to the third and fourth volumes.

     CD three is the strongest of the four collections of songs. From the verging on psychotically mad second track Genes And A Good Name featuring Spencer McGarry the rib tickling evocations just keep coming with the likes of the Bertie Wooster like relish of I’m Beau Brummell And I’m Just Dandy and the Blade Runner tantalising of the cyber bred Do Androids Dream Of Electric Nonsense lighting new waves of hunger for the cunning lyrical and musical mastery at work. The sultry antics of the rampantly enticing Gin and Jazz lights more lofty flames of pleasure alongside the likes of the rapacious and shadowed antics lyrically unveiled by The Business Deal which includes Jimmy Watkins of Future Of The Left, a song with a St. Pierre Snake Invasion punk voice to it. More must mentions go to I Took Some Pills I Found On The Floor, Everyday Is A Good Day, and The Day The Animals Went Fuckin’ Crazy!, further gems amongst more than a few.

    The concluding CD is again arguably less flirty with big highlights but a stretch with a strong wash of inventive and fuller bodied songs. It also offers one of the most irritatingly addictive songs on the album in the smouldering yet impossible addictive presence of Naughty Nights, a potent slow burn of vocal knavery and melodic coaxing which worms under the skin and psyche to repeat like gassy wind at any given moment. Its lofty perch is admittedly challenged by subsequent tracks like Clever Quote From Mark Twain with Andrew Paul Regan helping out, and the delicious Every Time We Think Of One Another featuring Francesca’s Word Salad, but most of all from the gypstep waltz of Hello The Robotic Singularity, doom and partying all in one flight of invention as well as the world’s final conversation, Humanity’s Final Hour. To be honest favourites shift with every listen, as even whilst writing Imaginary Music with its Gary Numan and Are Friends Electric? seeding makes its claim, reminding just how many and irrepressible and thrilling songs are on Men.

    Featuring a flood of other guest artists in its midst, whether you can listen to the album in one swoop is debatable as at times repetitions of melodies and rhythmic sculpting is apparent to temper the effect of some, but you can certainly shape a vast array of different playlists to enjoy from its admittedly surprising excellence to only enjoy without restraint. At the start you cannot help expecting plenty of flab and flannel in an album of so many tracks but Quiet Marauder soon and constantly set those thoughts straight. A brilliant album…still not sure but an unreservedly enjoyable one there is no question and the easiest of recommendations to make.

http://www.quietmarauder.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Quiet-Marauder/357156500982561

8.5/10

RingMaster 24/01/2014

 Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Young Knives – Sick Octave

YK

Unpredictability and imagination not forgetting compelling ingenuity has always fuelled the sounds and invention of Young Knives, their unique blend of post punk and indie pop never low on surprises and persistently high on infectiousness and experimentation. The UK band’s new and fourth album Sick Octave as expected is no departure from that intent but takes the exploration and experimentation of their songwriting to new riveting heights. Taking further the challenging enterprise which has been hinted at on previous albums through songs like Tailors, I Can Hardly See Them, and Storm Clouds, the trio dives head first into a hungry invention which maybe ebbs and flows a little in its success but undoubtedly emerges within the new release as an ultimately magnetic adventure.

Financed through Kickstarter, the wholly DIY made album is a mesmeric landscape of striking and seductive persuasion, one which tests and pushes limits for band and listener but rewards richly, especially the more time  you spend in its taunting arms. There are moments and tracks where quizzical expressions find a home on the face but even in those less persuasive times the Young Knives leaves a temptation which ensures you feel a need to explore just that little more. Whether Sick Octave will find the success and responses of previous albums such as their debut Voices of Animals and Men of 2006 and Superabundance two years later, amongst certainly more fair weather fans is debatable but for those with an already waiting appetite for the band’s deeper aural research it is a release which potently satisfies.

Released on their own Gadzook Recordings there is a feeling of freedom to the album, something which possibly was pent up and restrained on earlier releases from label restrictions. Through a comparison to its predecessor alone, the 2011 album Ornaments from the Silver Arcade, there is a bolder, braver, and hunger to the invention upon Sick Octave which feels like the band has been able to uncaged  a new bolder creativity, and they have never been slouches in that department from day one. Young Knives opens the album up with the brief 12345, an entangled vocal countdown made by children which is the first raising of eyebrows. It is immediately forgotten though with the arrival of Owls of Athens, the song exploding into view with eager electro bait. Like a jaunt with Sigue Sigue Sputnik whilst a haunted sax wails appealingly in its riveting sky, the track roams around the senses with an addictive bait washed with melodic brass flames and the fine vocals of Henry Dartnall, ably backed by the rest of the band. The song is a smouldering temptation, one which never truly explodes but teases and provokes with craft and a contagious invention to immediately awaken the passions with its spellbinding presence.

The following We Could Be Blood opens up another distinct tempting avenue. The bass of The House Of Lords emotively twangs across the ear at first to be soon joined by Dartnall’s voice and the caressing touch of a Hammond organ. With the beats of Oliver Askew firmly framing the start there is an eruption of melodic fire from within the gentle stroll, an energy which subsequently shares time and position with the melancholic call of the track. One of the slow burners upon the album, the song is a pleasing encounter which sets the emotions and thoughts up nicely for the strikingly impressive suasions of All Tied Up and White Sands. The first from a raw feisty start, the guitars chewing up the opening ambience, strolls through a warped tango like weave of rhythmic and sonic enterprise. There is a Talking Heads breath to its body that plays mischievously within the darker heavier croon of the song, shadows which have the scent of Joy Division to their encroaching. It is a masterful venture soon surpassed by its sensational successor. White Sands is a schizophrenic rhythmic bewitchment which manages to rein in its full insanity to make an addictive cage for the predacious bass lures and carving guitar strikes, the mix an imagination stirring narrative led by the continuing to impress vocals, the album Dartnall’s finest hour so far one suggests.

Something Awful, a song inspired by Dartnall’s Grandfather and his battle with Alzheimers, opens up deeper intensive lyrical shadows with a  brewed intimidation within the words with is powerfully interpreted by the music. A melodic swagger with bright tones crossed with rapacious challenging furies, the track is a thrilling provocateur for the senses and thoughts which flows into Preset Columns/ Default Comets, the track a less convincing evolution of its predecessor which leaves thoughts a little uncertain even after numerous flights through its sonic soundscape.

Both Bella Bella and Marble Maze ignite greater strength within the open appetite for the album, the first of the two a chilling cross between Wire and Blur whilst the second sees the band in many ways reverting to the sound and structure of earlier songs in their career but with an approach awash with emotive strings and spiralling intensity which burns a deep satisfaction into thoughts. Both songs fail to match some of the earlier heights crafted but still keep a fascination intently alive as does the jazz bedlam of Green Island Red Raw, the song a wanton scattering of ideas within a containing cloak of timing and restraint which just works if without setting blazes in the passions, though the bass work is quite delicious.

From the decent enough short rub of scuzziness that is Score, the album goes out on a major high with firstly the excellent Bed Warmer followed by the closing treat of Maureen. The penultimate song is a wonderfully abrasive and fiery encounter which rubs the senses up the right and wrong way to leave them wanting more whilst succumbing to the rabidity fuelling the energy and invention of the song, again something which harkens back in a way to their Young Knives…Are Dead EP with an extra sinewy splatter of Baddies infectiousness to it. The final song is the band at its melodic and lyrically incisive best whilst stretching their inventive boundaries. Another David Byrne like inspired festivity flirts with the dark veins of the song whilst its chorus is a virulent call which lays a healthy dose of funk spicery into the mix, with Dartnall at times delving into his finest John Lydon squall.

     Sick Octave is an enthralling and thrilling release which suggests the next chapter of the Young Knives adventure is going to be a highly captivating one. The album may not be another Superabundance but it is without doubt a charismatic tantalising slice of instinctive excitement.

http://www.young-knives.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 04/11/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Radio Room: When You’ve Made It

 

Vibrant and dynamic, the debut EP from Irish band Radio Room shows all the signs of a young band on the rise. Though yet to maybe find their distinct voice, the band and release captivates the ear and ignites the senses with well crafted sonic manipulations and hearty melodic invention. When You’ve Made It consists of four songs which shows immerse promise for the future and deep satisfaction right now.

From Dublin, the quartet of vocalist and guitarist Robbie Murphy, lead guitarist Collie Drennan, bassist Steven O’Neill, and Marco Persechini on drums, have made a steady impact on the local scene since forming in 2010. Their influences include the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club, Foals, and Two Door Cinema Club, who the band seem most often to be compared to, though there is also a slight eighties post punk element to their sound which drifts through thoughts as the songs tease the ear. The single There’s Only Ghosts at the end of last year, as well as the current one Functions and both included on the EP, have set attentions sweeping their way already and with When You’ve Made It one suspects Radio Room will be a band on the horizons of many more welcomingly people.

The release opens with the excellent As The World Churns, a song which instantly lights the heart with its pulsating deep bass lines and sharp tingly guitar play. Immediately infectious and enterprising with every note and vocal harmony inciting intrigue, the track leaps and bounds over the ear with an eager heart and dazzling sparks of invention. One can argue it does not offer anything startlingly new but its mesmeric charm and excitable imagination sets it apart from many similarly fuelled releases quite easily.

From the impressive and smouldering beginning the EP turns to Functions to further raise the temperature with its feisty energy and mellower caresses. It is a smart blend of restraint and keen urgency with again bass and vocals coring the magnetic sonic discord and melodic fires of the guitars. Within a framework of jabbing beats to drive the track deep the song builds with craft to a crescendo of twisting and hypnotic sounds. With the previously mentioned band as a comparison this track alone also has essences of Baddies and to a lesser extent Young Knives to its presence.

Nether prances in next to continue the fine danceable and heart rate pushing fun. The bass again stokes the fires within, its touch a probing and stirring breath within this and every song whilst the guitars once more dance with golden melodies and exquisite hooks, leading them to their fullest heights and coating them in emotive elegance lined with that disharmonic whisper.

The songs are not exactly anthemic but there is certainly something involved which has voice and heart in union with them throughout choruses and repetitive moments, the closing There’s Only Ghosts the perfect example. With a slight snarl to the bass and barracking rhythms, the song explores the senses with intelligent melodic fingerings to make the blood flow faster whilst the vocals invite participation with their uncluttered and easy to connect to delivery.

Over the four tracks there is a slight similarity on the surface to show the band is still evolving and finding their unique sound but from what is simply an impressive release one can only be excited and full of anticipation of what comes next from Radio Room.

http://radioroomdublin.tumblr.com/

RingMaster 13/09/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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