Pia Fraus – Empty Parks

Photo by Joosep Volk

There are numerous traits which enthral attention within the new album from Estonian band Pia Fraus with with fascination leading the way. In its contrast lit body it offers an embrace of ears and imagination thick in melancholy yet is as life affirming and rich in hope and optimism as any heart could desire.  From its first to last shoegaze nurtured breath Empty Parks eagerly beguiled whilst presenting tracks just as keenly buoyant with contagious dreampop instincts.

Formed in 1998, Pia Fraus has crafted a potent sound and reputation across five studio albums and a host of similarly well and enthusiastically received EPs and singles not forgetting a wealth of shows and tours across Europe and further afield. Their new album, which the band declare their poppiest yet, sees the sextet of vocalist/synthist Eve Komp, vocalist/guitarist/synthist Rein Fuks, bassist Reijo Tagapere, synthist Kärt Ojavee, drummer Joosep Volk and backing vocalist Kristel Eplik linking up with producer John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, Stereolab, Broken Social Scene, Teenage Fanclub), himself a true musical inspiration to songwriter Fuks.

Empty Parks has emerged as one spellbinding encounter, a dreamy soulful whisper of pop magnetism sure to provide a warm knowing hug around any dark day whilst recognising the shadows such times bring. From the moment album opener Hidden Parks spread its pensive seduction Empty Parks was charming ears and senses. A soothing touch of keys is swiftly entangled in intoxicating strands spun by the guitar, rhythms a darker hue in the contemplation but just as encouraging with their catchy stroll. With the familiar and always beguiling mix of Komp and Fuk’s vocals, the song effortlessly slipped under the skin, the band’s expected but never dulled blend of female and male vocals rapture in its own right.

 An even paced enticement, the track makes for a transfixing start though the following Love Sports had body and attention quickly bouncing with greater urgency straight after; its pop virulence and melody thick mesmerism pure captivation. As with all tracks there is a delicious claustrophobic effect to the song’s temptation, an easy and whole immersion in its creative enchantment which never warrants a wish to escape in this song or the album as a whole.

Slow Boat Fades Out is next up, a track which shares the radiance and bearing of nineties bred shoegaze with the band’s distinctive character of touch and sound which is further lit up by that sublime vocal union while successor Mr. Land Freezer bounds in on a spirited canter drenched in a thick electronic mist. Both tracks share imagination stirring hooks and melodies which caress like lustful lovers and each with increasing dexterity had the body swinging as they slithered under the skin.

Across the wonderful Young Marble Giants meets The Pastels like graceful beauty of Sweet Sunday Snow and the similar tantalising of The New Water with something of an XTC air to its riveting pop enterprise, the album only tightened their hold on ears and pleasure with Paper Flower Projects adding its own substantial enticement. In comparison to its predecessors, it is almost rowdy in its energy and muggy in its breath but another provider of melodic and harmonic radiance around a rhythmic inducement which makes you want to dance within a web of guitar and bass fertility which grips ears and accentuates the pleasure.

If not quite inciting the passions as those before it, You’re Not in Love held attention firmly in its dextrous hands before Nice and Clever and Late Summer Night soon after shared their respective melancholy bound and increasingly tempestuous serenade and balmy yet similarly suggestively mercurial and intense proposal on ears, the latter with a captivating drone like quality.

Australian Boots brings Empty Parks to a close, the song a final absorbing caress which harbours its own emotive disturbance, one which openly and eagerly simmers but never quite erupts. The track is a joy of intrigue and intimation within an equally thrilling embrace and a fine end to a release which simply kept the real world at bay for forty five odd minutes.

Empty Parks is out now via Seksound / Vinyl Junkie; available @ https://piafraus.bandcamp.com/album/empty-parks

https://www.facebook.com/piafrausband   https://twitter.com/piafrausband

Pete RingMaster 05/03/2020

Copyright RingMasterReview: MyFreeCopyright

Hot Sauce Pony – Burnt Ends

With the debut album from Hot Sauce Pony prowling anticipation, the UK outfit unleash its first lure in the shape of the carnally seductive Burnt Ends. The track is a ravenous teaser of that forthcoming self-titled offering, a song which has calm, beauty, and ruin colluding for a frustratingly but imperiously short one minute plus.

Formed in 201, the London band consists of vocalist Caroline Gilchrist, guitarist Ross Davies, bassist Stephen Gilchrist, and drummer Anna Dodridge. Their sound is a unique fusion of noise and punk rock with grunge, post punk, and hardcore hues. They call it Avant Hard; we call it in regards to the new single feral sensuality. The track and the upcoming Steve Albini (Pixies, Nirvana, PJ Harvey) album follow a first single in Fenced In which aroused rich attention and intrigue. Burnt Ends more than builds on its ear grabbing success and thick potency with a moment where extremes unite to devour the senses with beauty and ruin.

From its first breath Burnt Ends had us licking lips, the charred growl of the bass a bestial temptation matched by the just as roasted snarl of the guitar. Swiftly the melodic siren tempting of Caroline’s vocals drew ears deeper into the cremated offering, the slow manipulative swing of Anna’s beats just as irresistible. Like a fusion of Horse Party, Morass Of Molasses, and Mudhoney with a whiff of Young Marble Giants yet firmly individual, the track just got under the skin and into the psyche as hips continued to sway to its primal groove.

Such the pleasure, it really does frustrate when the track stops suddenly and without warning barely a clutch of seconds past its first minute. It leaves nagging, teasing fingers though as its elements continued to echo in thoughts long after departure.

Leave them wanting more is the key to success some say, and without doubt the hunger for the band’s eponymous debut album is on the point of rabidity thanks to Burnt Ends.

Burnt Ends is released June 22nd via Brixton Hillbilly. The band also has first single Fenced In available as a free download  @ https://soundcloud.com/brixton-hillbilly/fenced-in-by-hot-sauce-pony

Upcoming Hot Sauce Pony live dates:

23rd June Club 85, HITCHIN

30th June Betsy Trotswood, LONDON

16th August – HY-Brazil, BRISTOL

https://www.facebook.com/hotsaucepony/

Pete RingMaster 20/05/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Rat Fancy – Suck A Lemon EP

There is nothing artificial about the saccharine sound of Californian trio Rat Fancy or indeed excessively sweet yet a particular tooth is still a requirement for their sugary melodies and the intimate affability of their music. An instinctive almost sour look at life and its fake lures, often found in the Los Angeles climate the band springs from, ensures things never get too sickly and a similar underlying discordance to their music which ensures intrigue and unpredictability is a potent essence.  It all comes nicely together within Suck A Lemon; the band’s new captivating EP.

Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Diana Barraza (ex-Sweater Girls), guitarist/keyboardist Gregory Johnson, and drummer Gavin Glidewell and formed last year, Rat Fancy has already blessed 2017 with a trio of tracks via their Bandcamp. Each has been a fresh breeze of their shoegaze glazed indie pop now blowing even more eventfully within Suck A Lemon. Across the EP, the threesome resemble a fusion of eighties band Weekend and The Pixies with a light Belly-esque scent to it all; a mix emerging as something deceptively familiar yet distinct to Rat Fancy.

The release opens with I Can’t Dance To The Smiths Anymore and swiftly has ears drawn to its guitar jangle and the sweet tones of Barraza. Keys equally cast an amiable lure as the guitar weaves a magnetic twee toned melody; it all uniting in an infectiously lively serenade at times reminding of another British band from times past, The Freshies.

It is a bright and tempting start which is built upon by the more boisterous exploits of Five Fingers. Rhythms are a tenacious guide into the raw melody woven web of the song, everything from voice and sharp words to a wandering keys bred warble offering enticing hooks taking the EP to another level in no time.

It is a height backed up by the title track, the first of two versions found within Suck A Lemon. This first take has an energetic swing to its melodic carousel and bare sonic dance; a rawness which exposes all of their alluring attributes with honesty as Barraza’s vocals again captivate.

Beyond Belief is a gentle frank caress in sound and emotion with a smouldering melancholy in its charm while About You seduces with a Young Marble Giants like minimalism and beauty which with an emerging darker snarl to the guitars, takes best track honours. Both songs leave intrigue with a greedier focus; the second especially memorable even in its brief tenure of ears.

The EP closes with an equally impressive offering in a slower version of Suck A Lemon and boy does the already strong song blossom in this alternative guise. It is a siren of ears and imagination, so much more than simply a tempering of its earlier energy with Rat Fancy finding a richer presence and allure in its slimmer but more radiant variation.

Rat Fancy make a proper introduction to themselves with the Suck A Lemon EP, a thoroughly enjoyable encounter offering the promise of adventurously bright times ahead with the band.

The Suck A Lemon EP is out now through HHBTM Records and available @ https://ratfancy.bandcamp.com/album/suck-a-lemon and http://hhbtm.com/item.php?item_id=639

http://www.ratfancyla.com/    https://www.facebook.com/ratfancyla    https://twitter.com/ratfancyla

Pete RingMaster 12/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Amycanbe – Wolf

If like us you missed it at the time of release, Wolf is the latest album from Italian outfit Amycanbe which is well worth taking time out to go explore.  Creating a magnetic blend of electronic/indie pop and shoegaze/trip hop, the Cervia hailing quartet mesmerise the senses and imagination with their third full-length, its music a potent seduction led by the temptress tones of vocalist Francesca Amati.

Formed in 2002 by drummer/keyboardist Marco Trinchillo and guitarist/bassist/keyboardist Mattia Mercuriali, Amycanbe became a quartet three years later with the addition of Amati and Paolo Gradari. The years since has seen the release of debut album, Being A Grown-Up Sure Is Complicated in 2007, its successor Mountain Whales in 2011, and Wolf two years ago with keyboardist and album producer Mattia Dallara now alongside Amati, Mercuriali, and Trinchillo.

Swiftly it is easy to understand why Wolf was well-received upon its release, the album from opener Grano a truly magnetic affair with moments which spark a rapturous response in a continual appetite for its sounds and presence. The first track smoulders on the ears straight away, keys and the harmonious lure of Amati a spatial kiss as electronic shooting stars fly. Hitting its optimistic stride, the song radiates warmth and temptation, slowly rising from its enticing slumber as an increasing energy infects its passing minutes though enjoyably it never catches truly aflame at any point instead continuing to tease and seduce with Amati heading the affair.

The following I Pay brings a familiar if undefined air to its craft and character; warmly hugging like an old friend with fresh revelations to share. As in the first, country rock seeded melodies entice and similarly bred breezes blow across its landscape, a bounty of imagination which increasingly evolves with unpredictable hues and twists before the more sinewy rock attributes of Where From cluster around the ever enthralling presence of Amati. With keys aligning darker groans alongside melody rich sighs under a web of guitar nurtured suggestion, the song grips attention even if not quite finding the ultimate sparks of its predecessors.

Fighting opens up with the minimalistic charm of Young Marble Giants before blossoming into a rousing yet still nicely reserved proposal with an eighties new wave air wrapped around the inspiring rise of keys bred strings. A track which grows to its glory over numerous pleasing listens rather than making an instant impact, it soon has the imagination aflame while 5 Is The Number easily captivates with a cosmopolitan yet intimate sway as great drama infests its bass and a matching adventure in its overall invention. As pleasing and striking as both are, they are eclipsed by Wolves and its creative theatre which has a touch of The Cellophane Flowers to it.

Through the deep pulse and electronic hum of the imaginatively eventful White Slide and the subsequent subtle melodrama of Bring Back The Grace, band and album simply hold ears like warm sirens while Febbraio smoulders in the same with a jazzy grace and salubrious flirtation as a slumberous atmosphere wraps wintery arms around the senses. Each leave pleasure in their vibrant wake before Queens steals best track honours with its glorious croon and an increasing roar reminding of bands such as Belly and Throwing Muses. The track is superb and only gets more potent over time to seal its status within the album.

Closing with the sultry instrumental of Orata and its swimming melodies within surf/psych rock shimmers, Wolf captivates with growing strength and tenacity as new depths are revealed with subsequent listens. It is not a brand new album but one those who love to be seduced by their music should seriously think about slipping into.

Wolf can be streamed and bought @ https://amycanbe1.bandcamp.com/album/wolf while you can check out our interview with Francesca Amati @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/the-lure-of-the-moon-and-serenades-exploring-amycanbe-with-vocalist-francesca-amati/

http://amycanbe.it/    https://www.facebook.com/Amycanbe/

Pete RingMaster 04/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Vienna Ditto – Busted Flush

viennadittopromonew_RingMasterReview

The undeniable soft spot we have for the fertile adventures of British duo Vienna Ditto has only been confirmed or pushed towards more lustful tendencies with each release they give birth to in their enviable imaginations. New EP, Busted Flush, is guilty of sparking the latter with three tracks of aural intrigue and creative drama which almost prey on the senses. Cinematic yet intimately invasive, the EP is one of those real treats which come along so rarely yet frequently from the shadowed minds of Vienna Ditto.

The innovative union of Hatty Taylor (vocal and synth) and Nigel Firth (guitar) has come a long way since the pair first met when Firth began teaching eleven old Taylor the guitar. Meeting again and creatively uniting a decade later, the pair has continued to blossom and excite with a magnetic sound which fires up ears and imagination like a sonic kaleidoscope. It has nurtured numerously well-received and acclaimed singles and EPs with debut album Circles of 2015 and the Ticks EP earlier this year breaching even greater acclaim and plateaus of intoxicating invention. Busted Flush is the next step forward in both rewards for band and listener, a sublime seducing which only romances with greater strength listen by listen.

art_RingMasterReviewThe EP’s title track opens up the fascination, Busted Flush a web of seductive melodies and shadowy rhythms in an atmospheric caress equally as dual natured. As the throated threat of bass colludes with crisp beats, Taylor’s exotic tones finger the imagination, backed by keys which hold suggestiveness in every melodic note. The song plays like the backdrop to a cold war romancing, a canvas for a Doctor Zhivago/ The Spy Who Came in from the Cold like involvement with Taylor the seductress narrating events. Across its blossoming landscape, Firth matches the vocal allurement with his poetic melodies and keys cast theatre further tapping into more sci-fi shared echoes of suggestion. It is a glorious transfixing as exotically dark and broodingly portentous as it is bizarrely magical.

The fantastic start is swiftly matched by the lighter livelier charms of Barracuda, a swinging stroll of electro pop also no lightweight in imaginative manipulation and melodic conspiracy as it lures the listener into its infectious body. An underlying tempestuousness blossoms over time but only adding to the warm if schizophrenic enterprise fuelling a dramatic and perpetually twisting slavery of ears and emotions.

The EP is concluded by Boy Meets Wolf, a sultry seducing with swiftly endearing essences of Young Marble Giants to its character and beauty. Apparently inspired Cormac McCarthy’s book The Crossing, the song is like a mystical mist, seeping over the senses with fleeting but potent cinematic caresses aligned to darker intimacy stirring the imagination and one’s own creative spirit.

The Busted Flush EP is an escape from reality, an echo of the adventures and dangers we all wish we were part of while watching the greatest dark lit movies. Vienna Ditto create this response musically while providing British music with some of its most unique and irresistible proposals, Busted Flush no exception.

The Busted Flush EP is out 11th November 2016 via Ubiquity Project Recordings @ https://viennaditto.bandcamp.com/

http://www.viennaditto.com/    https://www.facebook.com/viennaditto    https://twitter.com/viennaditto

Pete RingMaster 08/11/2016
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

She Drew The Gun – Memories Of The Future

she drew the gun_RingMasterReview

Fronted by and centred round songs inspired by the real life experiences of Louisa Roach, She Drew The Gun is a proposition easy to get physically and emotionally involved with, especially with debut album Memories Of The Future leading the way. The eleven track release is a romance of evocative sound and insightful word wrapped in the most delicious melodic and harmonic temptation. It is also a collection of songs unafraid to embrace shadows of the heart and life in its often wistful but always mesmeric weave of voice and sound.

The Wirral hailing She Drew The Gun sound lays somewhere between dream pop and folk punk, the former the predominate hue in the project’s unique proposal. It is a sound and certainly style honed by Roach through her early days performing at open mic events and various acoustic shows. The linking up with percussionist Sian Monaghan added another depth and shade to her music which soon after found eager support from Steve Lamacq. With bassist Jack Turner joining up, the trio received an invitation to perform a BBC introducing live session at Maida Vale last year which was backed by numerous acclaimed underground releases, all leading to the creation and unveiling of debut album Memories Of The Future. With the line-up since completed by keyboardist Jenni Kickhefer, a jump to 2016 sees a year looking like being a major event in the emergence of the band led by the release of  the James Skelly (The Coral) recorded album’s and new adventures into the UK live scene, not forgetting that She Drew The Gun has just been announced as winners of the Glasto ‘Emerging Talent’ Competition.

Memories Of The Future opens up with Where I End And You Begin, a gentle swing of a song with fuzzy air and the instantly distinctive tones of Roach enveloping ears with seductive prowess. Harmonies only add to the coxing as rhythms add their slightly darker but no less forceful touch. There is a bit of fellow UK band Horse Party to the song but quickly it shows itself an individual as Kickhefer’s keys lay a tender evocative breeze upon the senses and an imagination already stirred by Roach’s lyrical charm.

art_RingMasterReviewThe excellent start continues with the similarly magnetic Since You Were Not Mine, a siren of melodic and harmonic enslavement from band and Roach. For indefinable reasons, and as its predecessor, there is something familiar about the song but nothing easy to pin down as it has thoughts and body swaying to its poetic waltz before If You Could See takes over charming ears with its slightly darker emotion and more haunted ambience. Spatial yet intimate, the song finds increasing zeal in its gait and catchiness without ever hitting anything beyond second gear, a restraint which bewitches as potently as the wash of melancholic beauty serenading ears.

From its opening rhythmic shuffle Chains has feet in eager movement with hips, increasingly so too as its infectiousness roams the low key but open drama of rhythmic and electronic enterprise as vocal captivation plays. The song is an enslaver of body and appetite, as too the following Pebbles with its acoustic hug where Roach steals attention from the world with voice and guitar. It is a success she constantly repeats as in the jazz and folk scented What Will You Do. It is a glorious enchantment that quickly and increasingly seduces the passions especially with its touch of  creative theatre which reminds of Gabby Young & Other Animals but also in its relaxed but virulent tempting too. The track is just another triumph in an already lofty range of such and joined straight way by Poem where voice and word command attention as around them guitar and keys provide an equally provocative climate; this time Young Marble Giants being sparked as a relatively close hint to its majesty.

A pulsating resonance echoes across the sounds of I Am Not Alone next, the song a hypnotic pop croon as emotive as it is infectiously compelling, whilst the following Be Mine takes ears into another acoustic romance courted by the romance of stringed and key spun shadows aligned to rhythmic drama. Both tracks put a hex on the senses, inciting rapturous smiles in return for their unique endeavours before the rawer tenacity of Pit Pony takes the album into another enjoyable twist of imagination with its Red Blood Shoes tinged pop ‘n’ roll which has the body bouncing and appetite greedier still.

Closing on the warm solemnity of Or So I Thought, voice and keys an emotive ‘psalm’ for the senses, Memories Of The Future leaves ears and pleasure basking. It is a spellbinding collection of tracks bred from songwriting which seems to instinctively connect with the listener. The buzz around She Drew A Gun has been feistily brewing in past months and now it is very easy to see and hear why; with even greater things surely yet to come the way of the band and us.

Memories Of The Future is released April 22nd via Skeleton Key on CD, vinyl, and download across most stores.

Upcoming Live Shows

APRIL

22 YORK – The Fulford Arms

24 GLASGOW – The Hug & Pint

26 BRISTOL – The Louisiana

28 LONDON – The Victoria

29 LIVERPOOL – Buyers Club

30 BIRMINGHAM – The Sunflower Lounge

http://www.shedrewthegun.com/   https://www.facebook.com/SheDrewTheGun   https://twitter.com/shedrewthegun   https://www.instagram.com/shedrewthegun

Pete RingMaster 21/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com

Flowers – Everybody’s Dying To Meet You

Flowers_RingMaster Review

Though debut album Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do pleased, for personal tastes, it lacked a certain spark to fulfil its obvious potential. It was an encounter though, which certainly ensured its creators Flowers lured strong and lingering attention. Now the UK trio return with successor Everybody’s Dying To Meet You, a rousing slice of noise infused indie pop that enchants as it enthrals; a release rattling the cage of expectations and all overworked pop offerings around it.

Flowers began in 2012 after vocalist Rachel Kenedy met guitarist Sam Ayres through an advert wanting band mates to help create pop songs which were like “early Madonna through a broken tape machine”. From there a romantic and creative union ensued between them, with drummer Jordan Hockley coming in to complete the band’s line-up. With their first batch of tracks refined by Bernard Butler, debut album Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do emerged in 2013 to potent responses and support. It drew keen interest which is surely now set to ignite louder acclaim with Everybody’s Dying To Meet You. Everything about the release, from songwriting and sound to inventive tone has blossomed from its predecessor, emerging an eighties seeded but uniquely current kiss of tenacious indie pop.

Recorded with producer Brian O’Shaughnessey (The Clientele, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine), the album opens with Pull My Arm. A slim jangle of guitar with glimpses of ska revelry makes the first contact, strolling beefy rhythms soon joining it before the lively ethereal tone of Kenedy lays evocatively over the dynamically catchy sounds now in full flow. Thoughts are sparked of bands like Mo-dettes and Girls At Their Best by the track, ripe spices adding to its boisterous charm and rousing adventure.

art_RingMaster ReviewThe great start is followed by the mellower caress of Bitter Pill, though its body is all drama and the vocals awash with warm crystalline harmonies that seem to incite an infectious swing to grab the energy of the song. From lapping ears like gentle but eager waves to a fiery expulsion of sizzling sonic rowdiness and back again in a repeating cycle, ears are richly satisfied before Ego Loss takes over with its similarly low key but vibrant dance. The dark hues of bass make a healthy temper to the celestial strains of Kenedy and the imaginative jangle of Ayres’ guitar, the jabbing beats of Hockley bridging the two with their metronomic yet inventive canter. Like The Darling Buds meets The Raincoats, the track is a persistent captivation.

A Weekend like air drifts across next up All at Once; the song as those before it thick seduction, though all have to bow to the outstanding prowess of Intrusive Thoughts. Again a gentler entrance is the lead to richer and heavier deeds. The song never loses its gentile character though, moving with a Young Marble Giants scented saunter through noisy melodic scenery accompanied by hypnotic rhythms. Kenedy once more is as alluring as the sun in the sultry temptation as the album offers its undoubted pinnacle, though the song is challenged for that stature throughout.

How Do You Do smiles at and grumbles in ears next, its scuzzy proposal an irresistibly magnetic affair matched by the fiercer rock ‘n’ roll of Tammy. Ayres’ guitar is a scorching blaze of resourceful endeavour whilst Hockley again lays anthemic bait down around the, at times, slightly overwhelmed voice of Kenedy. Even with that slight issue, the track is a punk lined pop treat to get a healthy appetite for; a hunger quickly satisfied by another Young Marble Giants like seducing under the name Russian Doll. Its true rock ‘n’ roll colours are soon pushed to the fore of its initial minimalistic presence, the initial thick enjoyment only becoming most lusty as the entwining of both textures from thereon in creates another mighty triumph for the album.

The final pair of songs ensures Everybody’s Dying To Meet You ends on the high it started with and for the main maintained up to their appearance. The balmy yet sonically volatile My Only Friend is first with endearing melodic caresses evolving into bordering on cacophonous jangles for a hearty lure whilst closer Bathroom Sink is a provocative romance with a tempestuous air and intrusive flames to its harmonic elegance. Both tracks spellbind with their individual characters; a success brought to broader fruition by the album as a whole.

The Flowers has come of age with Everybody’s Dying to Meet You, though major uniqueness is still a little down the line. All the same with this thoroughly enjoyable and increasingly magnetic album their current bloom, the threesome has shown themselves to be one of Britain’s brightest and most stimulating indie/pop bands.

Everybody’s Dying To Meet You is released February 12th via Fortuna POP! on CD, vinyl and download.

https://www.facebook.com/flowersdomusic/

Pete RingMaster 12/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/