MUDKISS FANZINE

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JUNE SINGLES AND E.P.S - REVIEWED BY CHUMKI BANERJEE: IF THIS IS LOVE, WHY DOES IT HURT SO MUCH?
 
Despite weather which refuses to caress, this is the season for loving, scenting air with passion, steeping, stealing into hearts, drenching music which has comes my way.

I read somewhere that we have two brains, an ancient core, wild briar root stock, embedded in depths so deep , it draws life blood despite deepest drought, sustaining  graft of our second, more fragile, cultivated head, quietly ticking its tock as our ‘higher’ self floats into realms of reverie, forgetting to breathe. Though both brains bear beautiful blooms, it is when united their full glory glows. I think that is why, when our vital senses draw on both sources, we are most alive, most deeply moved. For me, music is one of those conjunctions, inflecting hearing and communication with infinite nuances of interpretation impossible to express with just words, like lust and love, each sustain life, bring pleasures but, together invoke all encompassing ecstasy. But pleasure would mean nothing without pain, so in every love, it seems, a little rain must fall but, must it really hurt this much? Some extraordinarily moving music, which took me through many shades of love, starting with those that made me cry, as copiously as our current skies:

LOVE HURTS

The Playing Fields- ‘Static At Curtain Call’, Single

I think this track might have ended up in my Inbox by mistake, attached to the heading ‘Hungry Ghosts’, which is an album.However, having inadvertently listened before confirming its single status, I find it impossible not to write because, ‘Static At Curtain Call’ is one of the most extraordinarily moving track I have heard for a long time and single or not, we are now inseparably attached.

For me, Radiohead is unique, once in lifetime falling star, omnipotence refracted through crackle of stellar dust, mythical creature caught fragile and fleeting in headlights, no one, nothing compares. So, though this song has savour remarkably reminiscent of Radiohead, I dare not let myself believe; intense vocal intently introverted, tortured, turgid, tawdry, dragging depths, drowned in despair; instrumentation, from lonely, lost acoustic guitar to tease of anguish to wail of band, torrent of torment, shower of tears; like so many of Radiohead’s tracks, melodic and instrumental construction tightly twisting stomach churning knots, darkly minor, not yielding resolution, burrowing brain to place where pain, shame, self hatred hides, burning, indelibly branding anguish of life,  silent cry from within, made loud, “.... I am still under construction....you know what they say... a hollow vessel makes the most sound...I’m losing any feeling...” Like so many of Radiohead’s tracks this has quietly crept, lodged itself unbidden, deep in my mind, where it quietly weeps. My single (if it is that) of the month but, it will make you cry. www.facebook.com/pages/The-Playing-Fields/9564579473

Kick To Kill- 'Avalanche', Single

Buzzing bass, dredging deep, disturbed waters; grating, fuzzy guitar miring maudlin murk; lachrymose, doleful vocal; together conjure caliginous, turbid, glowering mindscapes, quintessence of disconsolation captured in sound. Though there is no way to adequately describe Joy Division's inimitable exhalation of anguished agony, wrenched from depths of tormented soul, these words, which sprang immediately to mind, on listening to Kick To Kill, might also be employed in attempting to express my feelings about Joy Division, and their extraordinary music. Equally they could be applied to Radiohead's beautiful/ugly torment.

I cannot pretend that Kick To Kill are as devastatingly dolorous, irrevocably intense; Joy Division was rare, like Radiohead, flickering spark of falling star, crackle through crack in ether,  but same palpable angst courses through their veins, its throb, battering beat to 'Avalanche', from first palpitating pulse of deep bass, to resonating, melancholic lament of synth, sorrowful shriek of guitar, tired trudge of drums and subdued, disenchanted, disenfranchised vocal, seeking warmth in dank underpass of drenching despair, "....your time is up...it's getting late...our sweat (?) is screaming...you're filled with hate..."

Kick To Kill, (chilling name), definitely has a deep, troubled soul, vulnerably but bravely exposed with gravitas and sincerity, a band I will be listening out for. www.facebook.com/KickToKill

Broken Broadcast- ‘Good Afternoon Mr Moon’/ ‘Our Joy’, Single

‘Good Afternoon Mr Moon’ manifests itself in mysterious, Morse code throbbing bass and single snaking strand of silver guitar materialising Morrison like vocal, theme continued in Doors like melodic construction and inflections of this mesmerising song, instrumentation minimalist yet completely enthralling, emphasising expressive voice, tolling its tantalising tale, Pied Piper which totally captured me “... open your eyes...follow the black rope...we don’t know which way to turn...we just follow you...” Play your tune and I will follow.  

Doleful ‘Our Joy’ circles round single needling, pinprick keyboard notes, mournful, chill atmosphere conjured from start, stark contrast to distant children’s voices bathed in warm sun; wistful, woeful vocal “... show me how to love...” lone melancholy tickled by trickle of scattered piano tears. Bravely baring tear stained face, stark without mask takes assured musicality, which Broken Broadcast most assuredly has, a song sung with moving simplicity and sincerity. www.facebook.com/TheBrokenBroadcast

The Chapman Family- 'Cruel Britannia', EP

Perversely preferring dolorous doom to clappy happy, The Chapman Family deliver gratifying glut of gloom from gloaming of melancholic mind, five definitively disconsolate songs in the same key of life, morosely minor.

'No More Tears', 'Cruel Britannia', 'This English Life' and 'Summer Song' drenched in despondency and cold sweat of anxiety, grating, grungy gnawing guitars, shrieking, shredding synapses, torrent of torment, bristling bass, briar of thorns, racing, pounding drums, palpable pain, petrified paralysis of helpless, hopeless, heaviest of hearts; maelstrom of misery from which emerges mournful moan, almost swallowed by swirling vortex of sorrowful sound. Lyrical themes reoccur, "...no more fear... no wasted time... no more hate ...no more hope...", "... falling apart...there is no hope...there is no time...", unifying songs in woeful wretchedness, which could become wearing, were it not for absolute conviction behind the delivery. 'Everyday Is Like Sunday' drowns dark and deep in stagnant air of  ".... coastal town they forgot to close down... seaside town they forgot to bomb....", funereal, vibrating organ, in remembrance of the forgotten, bereft, voice echoed from God's waiting room, tolls a living death, souls sucked dry but not laid to rest. Morrissey misery magnified by Joy Division desolation, buzzing with Radiohead despair.

INNER BEAUTY

On/Air- 'On/Air', EP

'Die By The Sword': I absolutely love this song, charmingly clunky, fuzzy, clangy and jangly with Velcro vocal, lush as velvet, deep as Bovril, poured like golden honey a voice which sticks in the head, as do its soul catching melodies and harmonies, tinkle of wind chimes, trickle of piano, shimmering like stream in sunlit haze, beauty of a song, emotive, emotional Indie expressed with heart warming conviction and musicality. 'I Wonder' also follows this mellow, maudlin, reflective theme, flowing melodically, male and female vocals melded in sympathetic harmony, wrapped in warm blanket of close knit instrumentation , skipping heartbeat of drums, shimmering guitar, glockenspiel pinpricks of light, illuminating dancing dust motes, musically this feels like an old room re-opened to a new light. 'Happy Is The Man' scintillates with same spirit, layering harmonies which ebb, flow, envelop, wash over like warm water, glitter, captivate. Though, all three songs seem to somewhat meld into one, in terms of key, intonation and instrumentation, the overall sound of the band is so integrated , enthralling and engaging, all three enrapture. I am not sure if 'Own Up' is part of the EP or a separate single, either way, it is just as ear catching, almost symphonic, sweeping, soaring to anthemic heights of delight and conviction. An inspired, highly musical band which I will definitely be listening out for. www.facebook.com/onairofficial

Rupert Stroud- 'Always', Charity Single (Proceeds to be donated to Alzheimer’s Research UK)

Touching tribute to a much loved grandma, church like organ tolls sorrow and hope, as Rupert sends his velvet voice soaring into spires on wings of angelic choir, illuminated by light of love, lifted to float with her sweet spirit, in symphonic chorus of anthemic adoration, entreaty and endearment, "...I'm still here by your side...always..." Wipe a tear from your eye, impossible not to cry.

Shibuya Crossings- ‘Gamla Stan’/ ‘I’ll Meet You At The Station’, Single

Intensely inspired Indie, intelligently inflected with inspirational influences whilst retaining individuality and integrity, it doesn’t get stuck in rut of what is expected but trusts to its own tongue, from which musicality pours like water, without pretention, clear and free. ‘I’ll Meet You At The Station’ best illustrates this, with its jangly, spangly guitars and one of those instantaneously engaging, liquid lyrical vocals, which wanders into wan woe, “...greyness fills the sky for me...” without preamble, a melodic line so captivatingly familiar it sounds like a classic on first hearing. Twangy guitars, chocolate bass and laid back, laconic percussion, mixing Americana with Steely Dan and touch of sixties briefly threatens to divert the train towards disconcertingly twee territory but, languishing, languid vocal, soaring into Radiohead melodic poignancy, hijacks it down more truculent, succulent sidings, a truly engaging ride.

Lacking spark of Radiohead radiance, similar strains, particularly and poetically those of Steely Dan, flowing like “...stolen wine....” through ‘Gamla Stan, travel and travail through less enticing, though still picturesque sonic scenery, hinting at hidden treasures yet to be explored.

Jake Morley- ‘Sideline’, Single

Naked voice and barest percussive pickings, shimmering shards of guitar, wistfully wonder “...lonely even now...as I try to push you away...hoping you will stay...a while...” before diving into warm ocean of deepest, tear jerk double bass, strummed guitar surrendering, worrying at wisdom, heart tug strings, where emotion swims, comes adrift, wallows deep in tender torment of torn, tortured vocal, pondering eternal human condition, “...all these loves...all these lies... think too hard... look too long... what is waiting... what is gone...”

This is a truly touching and beautiful number, fragile and slight, but like all good music, to the point, aimed straight for the heart, from the heart.

The Branco Heist- 'Brothers', single

Spirited sunshine, sparkling Indie Pop, jangly guitar grounded in gravitas of deliciously deep bass and drums lending warm depth to resonant, assured vocals and melodic artistry.  This group really does walk hand in hand, like musical brothers who rub along easily, happily whistling the same tune.  

The Fireflys- 'Dear Emily', Single

An endearing slip of a song, singing all the right husky notes in the right order, with a laid back American surf rock feel and some seriously sweet, shimmering, Dire Straitesque guitar solos. Melodic construction, though nothing new, maybe slightly clichéd, reliant on revisiting heart melting favourites, is none the worse for that, not overworked, restrained, tightly, musically played, perfect example of sensitive simplicity worthy of a smile.

DIRTY DANCING

I Am A Camera- 'Factory Boys', Single

Grabbing attention from first electronic shimmer, ratcheted to squeal, diving deep into deliciously delinquent, growling bass, drum machine’s metronome tap snaps rat-a- tat-tat, tutting its tongue at such depravity, while cool as cucumber, clear and calculated, yet plumy vocal, takes strict, whiplash control. Ladytron blended with Blondie, perfectly pretty pop pouting at progressive dance, embracing eighties electronica, totally beguiling, highly melodic mix, flavour which I favour, touch of class sullied by just a smidgen of dirt. The Hyena Stomp Delivery Boy Remix revs its engine, sprays mud in its face, musses make up, messes hair, pops hallucinogenic pill, bouncing funky bass feet and beckoning beat, into dance floor ecstasy. A touch restrained but, I think this might become a club classic, inspiration for many a remix. www.iamacameraofficial.com

Zahed Sultan- ‘Reuse Me’, EP

Packaged in roughly constructed hessian cover and obviously second hand inner sleeve, I was immediately endeared to this eco offering, despite press strap lines which left me wary that this was yet another in recent rash of rather anodyne electronica, reinforced by initial reaction to what sounded like annoyingly trite, twee vocal, on title track ‘Reuse Me’. However, increasingly intriguing, underlying sounds and effects, in contradictory contrast to la di da vocal and tinkling telly tubby triangle, deep dubby off beat bass, beeps, bounces, rat a tat percussion, cut up staccato yelps, morphing into eastern mysticism, drew my ear, recycled scraps unexpectedly melding into mosaic of shining shards, which manages to construct a clever aural delight of musically mixed metaphors. ‘Like This’ with its delicious dubby funky bass, ankle bell shakes, tabla taps, claps, clicks, clacks, scrapes and War of the World commentary, in style of Deepak Chopra (whose chocolate tone I love from ‘Desire’) drew me in deeper, until resistance was impossible.

Both songs have a Big Love remix, which shimmers them with echo, sucks them through gravity bending vortex, like freak show mirrors, intriguing for a moment but after a while a bit predictable, except when, half way through the ‘Like This’ remix, it takes a harder turn into more hard core dance territory which re-grabbing my attention demonstrates versatility of this artist, his universal ear and infinite avenues still to be explored.

Neon Indian- 'Hex Girlfriend (Radio Edit)', Single

Scribbled electrons, travelling radio waves, twiddling knob of time, accelerated to leap, precipitated precipitately  into eighties electronica, bass engine throbbing time machine, blipping lights blink their eyes at squawk of synth on wild slider ride, burbling, belching, sulphurous sigh "... does it make you feel alright?...", bilious fiddle of computer derision, flies craft away from cosmic collision. Tepid, vapid visitation rather than deep exploration but strangely appealing, in a guilty pleasure sort of way, lick off the fluff and pop it in your slot.

KICKING AND SCREAMING

Codex Leicester- 'A Mad Mans Lullaby', EP

From their music, I had assumed the name of this band was inspired by death core, Veil Of Maya's, 'Codex' and their current city of residence but turns out to be stolen from a collection of Leonardo da Vinci's scientific writings  (significantly, once known as 'Codex Hammer'). Name disambiguated, I fear, when it comes to sage reflections, it may turn out to be the oxymoron that this EP certainly is, lullaby of loudness, hypnotically enervating while vehemently vociferous.

Propelled by wired meltdown of trashed metal riffs, adamant Adam Ant drums, pulchritudinous, angelic electronica and nodulated screech modulated through hell's vortex, all six tracks; 'Strong Like Bull, 'Hey Hey Hot Legs', 'Van Sant', 'Oh Wichita', 'Concrete Stetson' and 'Supersleeper', are lost for words, both musically and lyrically, rapid high volume repetition rises above linguistically limited vocabulary, chords and melodic progressions, to forcefully ram home the point.

Despite first five songs sharing propensity to merge  into one , promise of differentiation disintegrating after first few bars, there is an addictively appealing quality to such exuberance, so freely expressed , sparks of unexpected electronica, though rapidly extinguished by deluge of destruction, lighting twinkling path, if not to bed, at least to raucous party.

'Supersleeper', creeps rather than sleeps through mayhem, restrained respite revealing more melodically articulate side to Codex before leaping yet again into head battering breech, echoing lyrics "....silence versus noise...." Though I wouldn't recommend shaking a baby to sleep, for the mad man of its title, this EP could certainly batter him into weary submission with its Codex Hammer. As a lullaby, though at times noise can be more soporific than silence, this is not likely to succeed, but as tonic, it definitely beats smelling salts, an oxymoron after all.

The Dalghetties- ‘Thought Crime', EP

Observation (is a thought crime)' showers cloud burst over tingling, echoed guitars, exhaling melancholic, resigned sigh, while tick tock percussion taps, tut-tuts beneath breath of  morose, why does it always rain on me, Morrissey vocal, soldiering through streets "...with a blunt smile...", bass  bouncing, bounding ,bowling along, taunting despondency with gleeful grin. After which, seductively, melodic maudlin guitar, meanders into 'Violent Violet', to be alarmingly wound up, abruptly accelerated to crazed clockwork, under which slips and slides marvelously mellifluous bass, liquid love, which together with tit for tat, nimbly precise percussion and racing percussive guitar somewhat steals thunder from woebegone vocal, which "...wonders what I have done with my life lately..."  'Oliver' careers along the same path, 'Iron Sky' injecting Pogues attitude, instrumentation, especially beguiling bass, though softly spoken, irresistibly drawing my ear from engaging, though not quite as endearing vocal.

Dead Sons- 'Room 54', Single

I find musical categorisations difficult, though my head tells me the heavy metal/hard rock tag attached to bands as varied as Led Zeppelin, Motorhead, Deep Purple and Aerosmith, should be accepted, my heart and ears refuse to acquiesce, clinging to belief that each is unique and quite different. A failing which somewhat hinders any modicum of review credibility I might possess.

So please forgive me when I say, Dead Sons seem to fall between a hard rock and heavy metal place which, in this case, collides screeching riffs with pounding drive, vocals impassioned, inclined more to Aerosmith than Led Zep but then... there are those individual touches, twisted effects, particularly pertinent percussion, a surprisingly sexy sound, seeds sown on what could have been fallow ground, nurturing yet another undefined category.

Screama Ballerina- ‘Papercuts’, Single

In February, I was impressed by a previous offering from Screama Ballerina, 'Rich Kids' ("....intelligently observational, caustic and hugely amenable modern day McLaren punk, poke with deceptively pretty face and a message to shriek....”  www.mudkiss.com/chumkifebsingles2012.htm).

'Papercuts’, just as relentlessly raucous, rides roughshod over rules and regulations, rearing, bucking, bowing to Bow Wow Wow's wild, wanton, Boadicea beat whilst acerbically articulating its own heartfelt creed.

Harnessing pure power of punk, set free by a greater musical and lyrical eloquence than usually attributed to that genre, this brain battering, breakneck track; defiant, indefatigable vocal in cheeky repartee with screeching, scintillating guitars, riding thundering, rumbling drums, unified in power of passion, pounds its message of our times, resolutely home; energy encapsulated, unflagging, fresh, inspiring, potently alive in what can be tame times. 

Sanguine- 'Simplify', Live EP

From first deep throated, throbbing bass thrust, 'Simplify' plunges ,cascades, careers into chasm of doom, wild cat vocals, growling, mewling, squalling, squealing, taunting, teasing, tearing each other to bloody shreds, "...I'll kill you....my aim is to simplify....", coffin nails definitively driven, pounded home by heavy hammer of drums and guitars, shaking foundations in united show of muscle and gristle. Melody simplified into one driving riff, succinctly makes its point. 'Bangkok Nights' buzzes like neon, flashing sanguine red, sibilant whisper, helium scream, raising the dead. Though at times Lauper raises her painted doll head, she is soon dragged through mud, make up erased. Less single minded than 'Simplify' but still arresting.  'Days Outnumbered', just as full of conviction, wanders a little too far, for my liking, into American hard rock and even more disconcertingly towards Kim Wilde.  Mysterious 'From Home' displays darker, more introspective side, instrumentation lugubriously louche, delicious treacle, golden syrup vocal emerging from banshee howl, entices, enthrals, mutating into angelic on 'Paradise' when, once again leaning slightly to the Wilde side of things, leaves me less than passionately wild.

A band of literally many voices, some more intriguing than other but in all cases impossible to ignore, sanguine by name but not by nature.

DeRellas- 'Stick It To The Man' / 'Go Go DeRellas’, Single

Whilst sticking to purity of '70's punk premise, paucity of chords, paltry words and plenty of attitude, the DeRellas sound is far too pretty for plain speaking punk. Though chords and riffs eloquently evoke that era, breviloquent bluster, posture of punk, is blunted, beautified by forays into other, admittedly appealing musical attributes of those times and into the '80s; on 'Stick It To The Man', adamant, Adam Ant drums and tribal chant, call gang to arms but swagger slides into "... slam, bam... stick it to the man...oh yeah..."Suzi Quatro warm embrace. 'Go Go DeRellas' dishes more dirt on deeply satisfying, recapitulated riffs, with grungy guitar and feedback but, melodic structures riffled more from glam and post punk, than hard core subculture and a vocal edging into Elvis, lacks persistent, envenoming, pin prick of punk.

Liking my punk neat and straight, in a dry martini hold the vermouth sort of way, I would say, while finding DeRellas invigoratingly refreshing, they don't make my mouth pucker nor my eyes pop but, neither do they make me spew in the street. Sometimes, a spoonful of sugar is exactly what's required to makes the punk go down and stay there.

IN A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

Vengeance & The Panther Queen- ‘We Who Feel Our Lobes Of Penitence Groped By Things Of Petrol Claws, EP

Worthy of accolade for name and title alone, I felt wary of approaching the music for fear of breaking spell so imaginatively cast. However, I needn’t have worried, Panther Queen really has sharp claws that cling, piercing deep, much more than sting, jaw that breaks, rips and shreds, with rabid roar tears off your head.

I have never heard anything like this tornado of tantrum, Patti Smith pugilist on performance enhancing drugs, Talking Heads on fast forward, at hyper speed, Bow Wow Wow G-string replaced by combat pants, laced with social awareness, The Velvets leather swapped for stomping DMs of disenfranchisement, prog and heavy rock, heavy artillery fused onto this armour plated anti establishment vehicle of destruction, obliterating social nonsensity in its path. Each of the four songs on this EP, This Is Not A Dignified Way To Make A Living (Floating)’, My Ebola , Party Fight and I Hate Work’ (written by Millions Of Dead Cops), batters brains, bludgeons  its way into consciousness, punches plexus, pokes in the eye, stamps, stomps, hollers, howls, tightens tendrils of acutely observational social commentary round jugular with such tenacity, there is no choice but to look it full in the bulging eye. Though each point is rammed home with machine gun rapidity, hard and fast, the lyrics are so well constructed and delivered, like high fire punk poetry, it is impossible to draw ear away. This could have all been high volume smoke and fire, paroxysm of pugilistic posturing but the virtuosity of musicianship, driving bass, drums which dent hell’s doors, guitars speaking in liquid, loquacious tongues, unrelenting vocal and acerbic lyrics, “...work, work, work for sweat and tears...we’re not going to fight in your stinking wars...”  definitively, impressively unite in solid expression of pure passion and then.... there is that hint of Led Zeppelin riff on ‘Party Fight’, nuance of Nirvana on ‘I Hate Work’ which means I am well and truly trapped by Panther Queen.

JUST LET GO

The Subways- 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang', Single

Beautifully concise, clean cut, perfectly formed, energetic Indie with pop edge, a trio in perfect control, rumbustiously rollicking yet tightly reined, flowing effortlessly on fluid bass lines, carousing choruses rousing rebellion but somehow chained, perhaps they should let wheels fall off the carriage, or at least wobble, let loose for some kiss, kiss, bang, bang, once in a while. Lyrics, lipstick red graffiti etched on white wall, exclaim "...she has a way of making me feel wild...has me feeling just like a child...", more stylised chic than crazed, concupiscent, crayon scrawl, passion burning bright, afraid to dirty her party frock.

WAIT AND SEE MIGHT GROW ON ME

Since Monroe- ‘Leech’, Acoustic Single

Reviewing Since Monroe's latest EP, 'Lost Generation' in May (www.mudkiss.com/chumkimaysingles12.htm), I concluded "Four tracks of tightly reigned, marvellous mayhem; deep, driving, heavy yet melodic metal, full tilt and furious... impossible not to be impressed, just give in to temptation and turn up the volume...."

So, I was very curious to hear what is described as their "softer side". Acoustic guitar and vocal, puts me in mind of Nirvana unplugged, 'On A Plain',  but without gravel, angst of torn, tattered, nicotine stained vocal and shredded skin guitar, 'Leech' , though beguiling, sweetly captivating, feels like fascinating foray into melodic makings of a song, one which captures my imagination but, has yet to be fully explored. There is definitely something about it, dark depths to be dredged, dragged kicking, screaming from its soul, so I look forward to hearing how this song evolves, in its journey to Since Monroe's 2013 album.

Joyce- 'Keep The Lights On', Single

Wallowing in lush and lovely landscape of Pink Floydish cover art and beauteous electronica, verdantly vibrant, echoed, boinging, bouncing, it is easy to be blinded by shimmering phosphorescent mirage, hypnotised by pixie like, cut up, staccato vocal with Bowiesque twang, into imagining this is more than strong shot of saccharine high. However, while tasting like candy floss, dissolving into sweet nothing, there is something strangely enticing about this fluffy concoction, innocently ripe for rapacious remix. You know me, I love dance/ electronica, however cheesy and anodyne, and this one has potential to develop some seriously strong odours, if it dares to dwell in dark caves. Up until now, the 'Clams Casino Remix',  "... keep(s) the lights on...until the morning comes...", cautiously and ineffectively dipping a toe in watery depths, heavily echoed through Vaseline lens, while the 'Bayou Remix' treads murkier waters, bravely anthemic but not quite daring to dive hard and deep. So, I am holding my nose, in hope of things to come, to see whether this will sink or swim.

HE WHO DARES: STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT:

Three chance encounters

Carousels - Some Tracks

Looking like they had stepped straight out of the sixties, an episode of The Monkees in particular, Mel and I were thrust towards three of the Carousels, carousing in thronging melee of Mello Mello, when on Mudkiss duties for Liverpool Sound City. The one doing the thrusting was inestimable Barry Sutton from the La’s, an irresistible mix of musical brains and beauty, which left Mel with no choice but to drag the boys off, down an underpass, for some snatched snaps.  Sadly we missed their performance that night and the night train to Aberdeen, where they reside. So, I have had to rely on some tracks they sent, to confirm wisdom of La Sutton, which they irrepressibly have. These boys, despite their callow youth, are accoutred head to toe, musically as well as sartorially, suited, booted, doused in spirit of the sixties; jingly, jangly, shiny, steely Shadows guitars, deep, dusty, louche bass, corridor cardboard drums, sunny earnest vocals, hum of harmonica, tinkle of tambourine, voluble violin, melodies conjuring haze of flower power summers, The Animals, Zombies and, somewhere in there, touch of The La’s.

Refreshing and charming as the boys themselves, despite obvious aged influences, the Carousel’s music sighs with sun, glimmering, vibrant, brimming with heartfelt musicality, nostalgic yet new, raising an inadvertent smile. Though enamoured of all the engaging tracks they sent me, I particularly love; ‘Winds Of Change’, with its lonesome harmonica and cheeky steel slide, worthy of a Spaghetti Western, slipping between sheets of American country and pure sixties swing and; the highly catchy ‘Mayflower’, a captivating tune which skips along like a long lost classic, “...meet me at the cross roads...meet me at the station...guide me to my destination....”

May the winds of change blow the Carousels, once again to this destination, Liverpool; failing that, the train also travels this way. All bow to the great and mighty Sutton, for introducing us to these precocious musical talents.

Derek Campbell - Three Tracks

Chance meeting, whilst inebriated, grasping ‘last chance saloon’ glass of faded red wine, flagging, flopped on flabby sofa in grandly shabby lobby of once magnificent, now down at heel Liverpool hotel, The Adelphi, perhaps not most auspicious start for a musical relationship, even when the musician is as silver tongued as Derek Campbell. I must admit to modicum of mistrust, suspicion of bluff, as he smoothly stroked Blarney stone, stoking his Irish credentials, but when he sent me some tracks, bluster peeled away to reveal a most sensitive soul.

‘Soul mate’, ‘The Fog’ and ‘You Can Do Anything’, though a bit unevenly mixed, highly melodic, reveal gentle, empathetic song smith with lilting, lyrical musicality, observational lessons of life and place expressed in evocative vocal, mellow as the brume, woven with ethereal, vaporous  instrumentation   recollecting Sixties, spacey synths, twinkling guitars, shake of tambourine, shimmered, striated effects, walking, talking bass and corridor drums, evoke atmosphere,  engage, entice, like fireside folklore wreathed in mystical mist, ordinary everyday made extraordinary through insight, compassion and caring to look deeper into depths of our human psyche. So Derek Campbell, old eyes in young head, has lessons for us all, “...the fog has lifted... everything is clear... stand up and notice how we got here... now we meet... on the street... and we take time to greet...” .....a reminder to  always gives strangers in hotel lobbies the benefit of doubt.

Cheap Thrills- ‘The Last Romantic’, Single

Third of this trio of ‘he who dares’, is a street encounter, when not seeking cheap thrills I was unexpectedly thrilled, to be chased down the road by dishy, though far too youthful youth, who thrust something excitedly into my palm, his band’s CD, along with apologies for eavesdropping. ‘The Last Romantic’, certainly not cheap but unanticipated deep dark thrill; glowering in the gloaming doleful drums, dramatic, despondent, spine tingling bass, youthful voice with Nick Cave eerie attitude, conjure stormy skies, Nirvana nights, as gritty guitars rumble a storm, magnificently morose, melodically moody, this band storms, creeps, crawls, like snake in dank corners, licking its whiff of Joy Division wounds, rattling its tail at door of The Doors. As the lyrics say “...right time is now...” and I am lucky that I, for a rare once, was in the right place at the right time, to receive this unsolicited glorious gift.

Reviews by Miss Chumki Banerjee
Photos of Chumki and The Carousels by Melanie Smith

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