Darwin And The Dinosaur: Romulus

Darwin and the Dinosaur

A teasing and provocative dance for the ear, Romulus the new EP from UK indie conjurors Darwin and the Dinosaur is a tingly magnetic treat which leaves one smouldering in contentment. It is not necessarily the most immediate of pleasures, though has no weakness in persuading a willing acceptance of the good time it offers, but one which leads one back into its melodic arms far more constantly than other releases over reliant on easy lazy hooks.

Formed in 2008, the Norwich quintet of has earned a strong adoring following and firm acclaim through their sounds, shows, and previous releases including their debut album and a pair of EPs, the last self-titled quartet of songs from September of last year taking the praise and recognition for the band to greater heights. Romulus is set to elevate things further with its seven incisive sharply crafted gems and take Alan Hiom (bass/vocals), Alex Ware (guitar/vocals), Ben Piper (guitar/vocals), Steve Larke (guitar/vocals) and Joe Mears (drums), to a new level of deserved recognition.

Musically the band forge a melodic post punk and alternative rock fuelled sound with eighties whispers and sonic tinkering which is darwinandthedinosaurs-300x300compelling and absorbing. It teeters between the more psyche sounds of bands like We Are The Physics and Innercity Pirates and the subtler tender caresses of a Radio Friendlies or Young The Giant, dipping toes in both wells with accomplished craft and skilled expression. As soon as opening track Mow Mow lies down a canvas of jangly guitars with shaped emotive tones, attention is keen to delve deeper especially as the following eager and jabbing rhythms bring another level of potency to the track. Not for the first time on the EP, the bass of Hiom is a stirring and irresistible lure alongside his own plain but compellingly expressive vocals backed by strong group harmonies. It is not a song which makes an instant anthemic companion but one which lingers and coaxes strong attraction to its stylish charms.

The following Liebe holds a similar gait with an additional gentle wind in its sails and enchanting breath to its emotive whispers. There is always a steely spine to the songs of the band though which within this track holds a firm direction to allow the sonic tenderness and reserved swagger to wrap around with skilled invention. Neither of the first two songs offers startling hooks to hang the memory on but both make for engaging and impacting companions within their presence.

October enters on a melodic swing accompanied by again great infectious basslines and rapping rhythms. As the track continues into its hearty depths, senses picking guitars add a teasing spicery to the stance of the song whilst the vocals and harmonies continue to bring a captivation throughout. It is a rich mixture which for personal tastes only lacks a snarl to match some of the suggested punk airs across the song. The track is one of the brighter sparks on the release which reflects almost negatively on its successor Stupid Is As Stupid Does, a song which in the shadow of the first three lacks a strong voice; despite that it is still a brief slice of fiery emotion and refined craft which makes for an enjoyable time.

The release leaves its greatest moments to the latter half of its stay starting with the thirty second growl of the pop punk bruise Lady Die.  The track has the bite which one is searching for elsewhere and just ignites those old punk passions whilst weaving lashes of melodic pop to make a tasty brew.  F**K You And The Horse You Rode In On continues in the same vein though with a full body to its creative intent. It recalls elements of the Television Personalities with its self-deprecation and uncluttered expanse of sound and again pulls a greater adoration its way than in the earlier songs.

Closing with 16s, a punchy sizzling stretch of incisive energy and flaming imagination, and the best track on the EP such its combative attitude and powerful presence of smouldering melodic flames, Romulus is an impressive release which places Darwin and the Dinosaur as one of the more promising indie bands in the UK. Not quite flawless but wholly enthralling, Romulus is a first marker for 2013 for bands to aim for.

https://www.facebook.com/darwinandthedinosaur

RingMaster 12/12/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Miniature Dinosaurs: Turn It On EP

Building on the success of earlier releases, Scottish indie tunesmiths Miniature Dinosaurs release their new EP, Turn It On, confirming all the early promise and why there is an impossible to ignore buzz around the band. The four track release still indicates there is much more to come and be explored within their creativity and songwriting, which only fires up a stronger eagerness to watch them develop ahead.

From Stirling, the quartet of Barry Maclean (vocals/guitar), Alban Dickson (bass), Craig Ferrie (guitar/synth) and Sam Waller (drums), has been igniting attention and keen responses from day one, the band receiving BBC airplay before they stepped onto a stage and pulling acclaim from all quarters. Once into their stride live, Miniature Dinosaurs has supported the likes of Fenech-Soler, Johnny Foreigner, and Young the Giant to again nothing less than strongly positive returns whilst at the same time releasing singles and EPs of quirky and imaginative infectious pop. TheTurn It On EP is arguably a little bit of a surprise, the tracks maybe less instant than previous tracks like Alligator and Fight And Flight, but they all show a fresh expanse to their songwriting in tandem with a more intricate and serious breath to their still contagious imagination. The quartet of almost psych drawn pop songs brings a heated experience to feast upon without restraint, whilst taking thoughts on a ride of unpredictable and fiery invention to wake them up and spark their own individual responses. Their sound again feels like a invigorating mix of David Bowie, Josef K, and Pulp but even more so on these new tracks, carries the feel and drama of the Associates, with even vocally Maclean having whispers of Billy Mackenzie in the gait of his delivery. They are spicy extras to the uniqueness of the band and music, something to ensure as mentioned it is impossible to ignore.

Released through Integrity Records, the EP opens with the download single which found strong success over the summer, Lemonade. The song is the most straight forward companion of the four, an easy to consume piece of pop with a mellow and warm presence. As its keys stroke the ear with gentle warmth, the beats of Waller divert the attention to a core of feistier intent within the song, soon joined by the muscular and slightly barbed basslines of Dickson. The crystalline yet discord barked guitar play lashes the ear within and around the shadowed rhythms to open up the senses further, the track never bursting into a riot of energy but capturing the passions with the emotive deliverance of keys and vocals alongside the moodier and more forceful elements elsewhere.

The great start is followed by best track on the release in Lip Synch. The song opens with a provocative questioning lyrically and musically, the guitar, bass, and drums prodding until they get a response and the synth slowly offering its own seductive persuasion. The simple but effective start is a slow build which is masked by the captivating sonic spotlights and melodic teases. Eventually one is face to face with a powerful and dramatic crescendo of passion and energy in the chorus, a dazzling and explosive joy to leave one breathless. Repeating the opening and climax again the track taunts and thrills with further expressive enterprise within the repetitive but irresistible structure of the song. It is glorious, maybe the best thing Miniature Dinosaurs has done.

Next of Kin is a sonic sun of sharp and pulsating guitars and epic keys driven atmospheres speared by the again excellent dark bass tones of Dickson. The track has a heart as big as its sounds and makes immersing within its emotive very easy and rewarding. Like its predecessor, the track has denseness to its gift which stretches and shows the evolution of the creativity of the band though it still has the ability to engage with impressive contagion.

The closing title track like the first is a song with a more instantaneous pop swagger, one you can jump on board with like an old friend and join its new but familiar mischief with ease. It brings a compulsive end to an equally addictive release that marks Miniature Dinosaurs as a band continuing to shout out look at us, something which with Turn It On EP alone would be rude to refuse.

http://miniaturedinosaurs.co.uk

RingMaster 21/10/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Miniature Dinosaurs – Lemonade

Last year Scottish band Miniature Dinosaurs opened up a flood of attention their way with the mischievous and wholly infectious single Alligator. The track was strongly impressive and put all on alert for what came next from the band. August 13th sees new single Lemonade let loose to show that the success and quality of its predecessors was no flash In the pan and that the quartet from Stirling is one of the brightest sparks to have recently emerged within UK indie music.

The new track is taken from the upcoming Turn It On EP, which comes out in October alongside a second single from the release. Whereas Alligator was a greedy bundle of energy with a wicked grin upon its face, Lemonade finds the band exploring a more expressive and seductive sound though the track is no less infectious and short of a tongue in cheek breath. Their first release since signing with Integrity Records, who brought the likes of Reuben and Million Dead to the nation, it is another impressive step in the constant rise Miniature Dinosaurs has been on since their beginning. The band at their start found themselves receiving radio play months before their first ever gig and on stage has thrilled alongside the likes of Fenech-Soler, Johnny Foreigner, Twin Atlantic and Young the Giant. Singles through Electric Honey and Saraseto Records has only added fuel to their growth and as one listens to Lemonade and with the upcoming EP, it feels that the time of Miniature Dinosaurs is on the very near horizon.

The single instantly bursts in to life with a flurry of vibrant jangly guitars and firm rhythms before settling down to begin its tale of young romantic angst. The bass of Alban Dickson strolls with a moodiness adding depth to the elevated guitar play and the whispered tones of the synths from Craig Ferrie. Within the warm sounds the vocals of guitarist Barry Maclean are an expressive delight which explore each note and word he delivers with a compulsive emotive lilt. The track then brings in bursts of energetic passion where the beats of Sam Waller ensure a fuller attention from the ear so the melodic enterprise and discordant tinged surface of the guitars can play with relish. It is a glorious blend which along its length brings thoughts of bands like Associates, Orange Juice, Pulp, and Josef K to the unique sound the band conjures with ease.

Lemonade is outstanding and incites an even more elevated affection for the contagious sounds of Miniature Dinosaurs. The Turn It On EP cannot come soon enough and there is no doubt the band will become a constant on radio shows and channels with their sounds and accompanying videos of this and the forthcoming releases.

www.miniaturedinosaurs.co.uk

RingMaster 10/08/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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The Static Jacks – If You’re Young

Reviewing Into The Sun, the single from New Jersey indie rock band The Static Jacks which came out a few months back, we commented that “the single is a joyous duo of rich and exciting sounds and though the songs may not have your jaw dropping in awe at something brand new but they certainly will excite ears and enthuse hearts”. Well with those words also apply to the new album from the band with an amendment. If You’re Young does stop one in their tracks with the awe not so apparent in the single, sweeping one up in songs and sounds which stroll along their own unique and adventurous path. Good though the single was it gave no real indication as to how impressive this album was going to be. If You’re Young is immense, a master class in creative songwriting, melodic manipulation, and the breeding place for an infection as potent as any virus.

From New Jersey and formed in 2009, the quartet of vocalist Ian Devaney, guitarists Henry Kaye and Michael Sue-Poi, and drummer Nick Brennan have already made a distinct mark with debut EP Laces in 2009 and numerous shows and tours with the likes of Futureheads, Biffy Clyro, Young the Giant, and We Were Promised Jetpacks. Their sound is single minded and full of determination to do things their way which results in a confidence and surety which oozes out of every note, chord and song. The band sit somewhere between pop punk and an alternative indie sound, bringing the best and uniqueness of both into their own majestic creations.

The album erupts into an instant tremendous pleasing of the senses from the very start with Defend Rosie meeting the ear with firm beats, enthused hand claps and a persistent riff that smacks of mischief. Enthusiastic and urgent, the punk toned song sets their stall out from the off, exciting with feisty rhythms, guitars and basslines which carry as much defiant attitude as Devaney and his lyrics, and big hearted melodies as sassy as the girl of your dreams. From a tremendous start the band simply accelerate things with the wicked sweet tease that is Girl Parts. With an excellent additional female vocal to the inspired and emotive tones off Devaney the song is gorgeous, and confirmation of the fact The Static Jacks have an expertise at writing pop songs that few rival.

The level across the album never wavers with Into The Sun with its Pete Shelley like melodic hook and the likes of the anthemic Blood Pressure, a song which rounds up the senses into a triumphant ball of emotional rebellion, and the soaring melodic grace of Relief, all lifting up the heart and soul with sounds that warm and energise the day. The third of these songs ripples with light sparkling melodies, glittering guitars, and a passion which fills every pore from every line and reflection.

As good as any album is there are always moments that strike the most effectively and alongside the opening duo of songs it is within the mighty outbursts of My Parents Lied and Walls (We Can’t Work It Out) that The Static Jacks show they are creating music that will take them to heady heights. The first begins with a subdued voice and guitar welcome before giant beats join the fray, yet still the song holds back evolving into a canter at most whilst its crystalline melodies radiate. Subtly the intensity increases to match the angst in the vocals of Devaney. Slowly it expands into waves of crashing guitars coaxed by incisive yet reserved melodies, all blending into a fine and inspired union.

Walls (We Can’t Work It Out) is the best song on the album, dare one say the perfect song. It has everything from stunning harmonious vocals, melodies which push away any dark and rhythms that are born of primal instinct, evolution, and an insistence that cannot be denied. It is tumultuous with riffs which muscle their way into the ear alongside the consuming drums, a bass which has more belligerence than a teen asked to clean their room, and energy as potent as nature herself. The only complaint is that it is so damn short.

The album ends on Drano-Ears, where the band takes a dip into the eighties. With a soulful sound and heartfelt emotive feel which reminds of the likes of The Bluebells and House of Love, the song is a galloping flow of soft and caressing melodies and stately elegance. It completes what is a delicious collection of well crafted and completely enjoyable excitable music. The Static Jacks are coming for your heart, are you ready?

Ringmaster 05/03/2012