Senses awakened by conception, synapses sparked by sensations, etch first marks of perception, on pristine brain, chaos converted to cognisance, universes constructed from collation of smallest drops. Thread of thought traverses crackling neural networks, exploring mind’s landscapes, metaphoric chromatophores, chemical chameleons, chromatising colour, electrons spinning humming bird songs, conjuring ghosts in virtual world, born into reality through breath of open mouth, invisible strings vibrated into living sound. Rippling fabric of reality, new universe awakes, jumping discontinuities as it replicates, riding ephemeral phonon waves, travelling time and space, multiple imaginings seeking to proliferate. Smallest of trickle infiltrates fresh ears, picks lock of perception, opening magic door, to lush and verdant pastures, where inner sunlight glows, minds melded, reinterpreted, here the universe can grow, inhabit infinite dimensions in which to co-exist. Something miraculous and real evolved from stuff of nothing, not alchemy but reality, a useful lesson in these days of austerity. So, I offer you below, new universes, almost absolutely free:
Goodbye, Labrador- 'A Thousand Times Before', EP
Six gossamer Indie tracks, vaporous, wistful, spinning round and round spikes of needling melody, washed in sea of heaving haze, emotive Indie's enticing musical phraseology stretched, inflected with more mystical tones, metaphors mixed, dancing new duet, taking it to a darker place:
Intrepid' Guitar, pernicious pin prick, tattooist drill on skin, modulates into melodic motif, engulfed in tide, booming in on waves of darkly rumbling bass, drums tactfully tacking, entwined with wheedling twin guitars, riding tremulous turbulence, tender, spectral vocals soothing, in discourse with eloquent bass, niggled by troubled guitar. A track which slowly charms, its wisp of morose yet uplifting, lilting melody weaving itself round my brain. Sirens' Voluble bass and guitar tangle with another haunting theme, drums solid ground beneath their jittering feet. Once again, vocal is balm, together with throbbing bass, modulating between melodic minor and sunnier major mood shifts, uneasy resolution rocked by guitars, disturbed, picking , tearing at tranquillity, tempting traversal to more torrid territories, melodious vocal rapping poetically in post punk tongue. Falling Away' Adds touch of The Cure and Smith's angst to the mix, more meandering, none the less its central motif musically resonant, in winsomely whiny sort of way. Opening riff and melody of 'Embrace The Stranger', for some inexplicable reason, is reminiscent, for me, of 'Three Lions'. Together with 'Silence Of Me', both follow similar melodic and instrumental themes to preceding tracks; tinged with turmoil, agitated guitars, loquacious bass, spacey, smoky vocal; but then detour down more experimental avenues, in terms of captivating effects, and vocal style, percussively punctuated, doubling female vocal adding extra dimension and definition, slight propensity to self indulgent wandering, perhaps diverting attention, at times. Final track 'Memoir' stands apart, more conventionally concisely catchy, magnetic maudlin yet hopeful, modern folk Indie, bottomless bass, slipping, sliding diving depths, guitar prickling its way through disquietude, shaded yet sunny, male and female voices in vocal solidarity singing same disconsolate song, resigned yet resolutely buoyed by belief, shivered with ghostly effects, irresistibly recalls a favourite group, The Cranebuilders, sadly no longer with us, who shared same darkling demeanour. A clutch of captivating songs treading different Indie path to the norm , intriguing , enticing, euphonious , bitter sweet tunes, seductively memorable. www.goodbyelabrador.com
Fantasy Rainbow- 'O, Weirdo / Para Parakeet', Single
Twanging guitars, strolling blasé bass, laidback, laconic percussion, lilting, jingly, jangly, swaying, slightly distressed Indie rock tugging on frayed folk roots ,misty eyed American West Coast, sprinkled with Sixties Psychedelia, stitched together by mesmerically meandering, ambling into adenoidal, vocals. This twilight zone of a track gives appearance of being one thing, sweet, sunny, prince charming, mask mutated by disconcerting undertow. At times discordant; sweet, twee harmony diverted, perverted, incongruously inserted, at others hillbilly happy, seductively fuzzy but cactus flower prickly, vacillating between catchy and disturbing, strangely bewitching.
Idles- ‘Welcome’, EP
Mysterious Mysterons materialise, distortions crackling through ether; bass glowering, sneaking; drums sinister, stealthy; guitar, pin prick prickling; vocal, brooding, creeping. ‘26/27’ sets Ominous Indie tone for this EP, caressing distress, as it slinks and skulks in nefarious nether world, Nick Cave captured by prog rock aliens, articulate in Goth, engagingly furtive, artfully anguished, woven round potent, hypnotic riff, this song irresistibly tempted me in. Though none of the other three , more rousing, rockier numbers quite match minimalist, eloquent, elegant melancholy of opening track, they have sombre allure of their own, in particular ‘MEYDEI’, with malevolently anguished vocal, churning, doom laden instrumentation; hyperactive guitar and bass brewing fear with needling, stabbing motifs, drums deep, driving, forcefully stamping , dramatically engaging, magnetically rhythmic.
‘Germany’ and ‘Two Tone’ follow similar musical and instrumental lines, throbbing with heaving, tribal rock beat, nagged by niggling guitar, ‘Germany’ with touch of The Cure. Like previous two songs, they engage, rotate cache of emotive, maudlin, gothic rock, melodic stock phrases, not quite as inventively but none the less pleasurably.
Exploiting highly appealing but similar melodic demeanours, albeit at different tempos, with different levels of instrumentation, these four songs might have been nothing more than pleasing Goth rock but, pertinently purveyed passion pervading ‘MEYDEI’ and inspirational individuality of ‘26/27’, sets this band apart from others in this genre, transforming them from well acquitted to revelatory.
Post War Glamour Girls- ‘Tragic Loss; He Had Such a Lovely House’, EP
Described as song cycle, these could be four movements in macabre, Machiavellian, nautical musical; less Gilbert and Sullivan HMS Pinafore, more Nick Cave dark, gothic fairytale, Brel’s Amsterdam, Doors’ American Prayer, Dickens’ dingy streets, transported to latter day docks of Leeds. Not as dramatically descriptive, nor articulate as those last four, none the less atmospheric, artfully employing theatrical rock to set stage, spin scenery, illustrate its tale. The four acts of this musically pictorial play, linked by thread of death’s ferryman’s tolling bell, like the sea, violently swings its mood from murky mists of uneasy calm, tinged with impending doom, to tempestuous tumult.
Doleful clapper clang heralds ‘The Trawler Man’s Code’, washed with atmospheric effects, as oars splash, wooden bones of ship creak, wind chimes clank, clink, courting expectation of Technicolor, cinemascope release, evaporating into scintillating guitar plinking pick, slinking bass, thudding beat, Nick Cave vocal, harmonious cohort chorus reinforcing its creep, rising to anguished shriek; more musical narrative than structured song, enticing, melodic immersion in first watery scene.
However, what follows, though dramatically gripping, sounds somewhat divorced from this build up. ‘Today I Am A Man’ gruffly spits out, stutters stream of consciousness, ‘... dancing with... cockroaches ...drinking with lizards....sleeping with the guillotine...married to ...scissors...” which, in Jim Morrison’s mouth, might have mutated into dark poetry, here, thrashed by metal, drilled by pneumatic rhythm, chorus twee tongue in cheek, though rousing, ardent , energetically engaging, seems out of place , even slightly pretentious, in a progressive sort of way, poetic punk by numbers.
‘Tremor’ returns to original mist wreathed scenery, female vocal doubling with disillusioned melancholic male, in memorable, maudlin melody, which could be theme to a Lloyd Webber production, tail of tolling bell trailing into ‘She Will Always Be My Anchor’, which collides elements of all songs into final destructive thrust, schizophrenic, swaying between melodrama beloved of Musicals, and twisted, tawdry Bad Seed tales. Not seamless story, at times wandering wondrously into Cure, Cave and Doors territory, at others bordering on bombastic affectation, but there is something about Post War Glamour Girls, especially when hair is un coiffed, left to naturally curl, which is intriguingly beguiling
Golden Fable- 'Sugarloaf', Single
Since reviewing 'Always Golden' in March (http://www.mudkiss.com/chumkimarch12.htm), and then hearing Golden Fable live in ethereal setting of Liverpool's bombed out church, '...emanating like heavenly choir...soaring stratospheric spires...showering silver...' I have been entranced by their angelic sound, craving more. So 'Sugarloaf', taken from impending debut album 'Star Map', is excitedly received. This track just as beatific, billows breezily; glimmering, throbbing guitar, shimmering keyboard, twinkling percussion, wafted through wisps of summer mist, luminously lit by honeyed sunlight dripped from lips of 'cello, bass and strings, diffused with iridescence of Rebecca Palin's clear as crystal 'choir boy' vocal, layered, echoed into celestial chorus, phosphorescence floating, riding thermals, on angelic wings. While it is true 'Sugarloaf' is imbued with similar seraphim, cherubim sentiment as 'Always Golden', the sound is so pure and enticing, melodies so enchanting, it is difficult to get too much of a good thing; approaching heavenly heights, an ambrosial, chilled concoction of Cranberries, Cocteau and McLachlan, pouring pure nectar. www.goldenfable.com
Shifting Buffalo- ‘Step By Step’, Single
Captivating melodic folk rock, memorable, gently melancholic, mellow, mellifluous; vocal floating on air like warm breeze, guitar glittering stream, bass beguiling, sensuous, seductive, drums whisper of autumn leaves. Luxuriating in ambrosial, laid back melodies, harmonies and instrumentation, enticing embrace of a song, which sings itself soothingly in your head.
Holy Vessels- ‘Springtime Bloom’, Single
Beautifully mellow, melodic modern folk, instruments melded into luminous glow, molten gold, mellifluous vocal honeyed flow, lilts and swings in harmonious sway. Bass drawls delectably deep, guitars spin sparkle, glinting and sweet, piano twinkles, tinkles, steel slides a smile, percussion saunters, skips, while bowed strings weave warmth round vocal's silken caress. Infused with inflorescence, a magical, tenderly tranquil track
This Wicked Tongue- ‘Provinces’, EP
Reviewing This Wicked Tongue’s previous EP, ‘Carry This’, in January, I described them as ‘...employing full palette of progressive tinted with hard rock....’ and their singer Tina V’s voice as, ‘...tiny but mighty... gentle yet persuasive, persistently full tilt...’ They were an enigma, ‘...fist of steel in melodic velvet glove...’ since when, I have been intrigued and eagerly expectant.
This five track collation, and scrap of piano reprise, builds on same elusive, impossible to define qualities, but is perhaps more cohesively driving gothic, progressive hard metal with deeply melodic core; an explosively egocentric, yet eloquently enticing experience, it struts but also soars. Tina V’s vocal continues to capture and captivate, unfaltering, elastic, slight but sure, laser precise, seeking small gaps between tumble of notes, sparring skilfully in rhythmic parry with barrage of flashing instrumentation, ninja sprite nimbly leaping, flying, twirling through maelstrom magic, conjuring mists of sulphuric Hades hell, which carry her lightly on its back, reverentially parting to admit their queen, wrapping round her like protective cloak. What is so extraordinary about this exuberant, ebullient, electrifying band is; the melodic centrifuge round which they spin their strident spells, soft core to hard shell; and the way they respect each other musically, racing, rollicking, rousing, they don’t fall over each other, nor step on toes, fleet but foot sure, intense, concentrated, but leaving halo of space, for each to shine.
It is this musicality which lifts them from battering ram, towards Rush blended with Banshees nirvana, illuminating dark fantastical landscapes with their sound, tremulous guitars tickling, ticking, building tantrums, bass slipping, sliding, elastic band twang, catapult for chaos, drums drilling, driving, rapid fire thrill. Though lyrics are not hugely inventive, it is their cut, thrust and inventive interspersion which engages. Whether sinister minor, melancholic maudlin, like ‘House’ and ‘Cape Pelorem’ or pile driving juggernaut, like ‘If This Is Me’ and ‘Discontent’, each song flees indefatigably along, foot full throttle, never off pedal and though all four songs sing from same shredded Goth rock musical palette, its colours are so luminous they weave into one glorious, harmonious whole.
‘Your Hands’ explores ‘...grass is always greener...’ other side, more overtly melodic rock, male vocal duetting engagingly but slightly incongruously with female, its gruffness stripping away, temporarily disarming svelte steel, to reveal tenderness within. For a moment, melodic core is laid beautifully but vulnerably bare, before raging battle with demons recommences. The piano reprise, pensively pondering glorious melodic central hook, exposes serene serendipitous heart of this tune, looks deep into Buddha eye of its storm, giving us a clue to why this music is so mesmerising. Zen in chainmail, my fascination for this band remains resolute. thiswickedtongue.co.uk
Louise Quinn & Kid Loco- ‘Oh Jackie’, EP
Marlene Dietrich with hint of Nancy Sinatra, crystal clear diction, exhaled in coolly calculated drawl, theatrically sleazy, Tarantino tinged, modern day cabaret. Louise Quinn’s expressive, languid vocal, engaging, descriptive lyrics and highly illustrative, inventive instrumentation capturing atmosphere redolent of smoky speakeasies, and old time music halls resurrected for current times. On ‘Oh Jackie’, Louise sashays, sinister, creeping, in duet with male vocal, his voice velvet lined case for her silver trumpet, mellow band , jazzy counterpoint to melodic sway, spiked with show hall organ.
‘Exactly Like You’, exaggeratedly enunciated, sinisterly enigmatic, guitar and vocal shiver, coy quiver of feathers flung aside, Monroe skirt flying, fainting melodramatically into arms of bordello bedroom passion.
‘Ghosts From The War (Bill Wells Mix)’ clinks coconut castanets, in sardonic Hawaiian, grass skirt lilt, idiosyncratic piano, plink plonk tongue in cheek, seraphic vocal, bedecked beau, carried home in finery, on seaside donkey.
‘Hate This Town’, chanson noire cabaret, Bonny and Clyde in feather bower, blowing cigarette holder smoke, serenaded by trumpet voluntary, exiting show in style.
A suite of enthralling songs.
Dreamstealer- ‘Girls Are Fun Again’, Single
Big band brass boogaloo adds Ska note, and certain sway, to cheeky, chirpy, folksy rhythm and blues of ‘Girls Are Fun Again’; vocal and bass nonchalantly sauntering, worrying sunnily at familiar scrap of bluesy melody. Refreshing for not re inventing the wheel, revelling in reverential recycling of well worn, but always captivating, chords, gloriously gleeful sound, old clothes loved anew.
‘Son Of The Big Smoke’, picks up its steel guitar, ‘...boy from a small town...trying to hit the road...’ and delivers exactly what you expect, big smoke western, bluesy rock and roll with hint of Dire Straits and Sixties hippy, hippy shake; guitar staunchly stoic, viewing open road with starry eyes, grit in sole’, drums haze of distant horizon’s tribal toll, vocal Coyote’s siren call, sleepy hollow Dolly, bedroom ride, clink of spurs his only goodbye, seduced by wild west’s beguiling lie. Once again riding familiar, yet faithful favourite, saddle shiny but eyes still full of life, son of a gun, sweet cherry pie.
French Boutik- ‘Les Chats de Gouttière’, EP
I am ashamed to say my grasp of French is rudimentary, so hope that I have correctly interpreted essence of French Boutik from their music, as being whimsically ironic, in that intensely insightful, philosophically observant way that only the French can carry off with such savvy, sophisticated aplomb. Rosbif with sauce béarnaise, French wit with crème anglaise, Audrey Hepburn meets Brigitte Bardot; four songs which comb English eclecticism into chignon chic; psychedelic sixties, Zombies crossed with Monkees, injected with electronic satire, parle de Parisian sophistication.
‘La Vedette’ (The Star), floating off on hallucinogenic wings of Hammond organ, Lucy in the Sky, dragging lead boot, inflated to catastrophic implosion.
‘Le Clope’ (The Cigarette), nonchalantly flicks ash where English fall in line, mini skirted, bee hived strut, long leggy boot defiantly grinding stub, steps back to more fragrantly smoky times.
‘Les Chats De Gouttiere’ (Alley Cats), undulates its Birkin cat walk hips, sleekly sashaying back alleys, boulevards, mistress of its streets.
‘New Bossa’, the only song in English, though quirkily diverting, rather loses its swagger and sway, comedic fop with ragged mop.
Self labelled as ‘pop moderniste’ and ‘groovy’, the former is open to many interpretations, not always flattering and the latter may have lost something in translation; French Boutik certainly ‘sont tellement raffine’, though their milieu might more properly be described as exaggerated entendre, delightfully continental, but like andouillette, maybe an acquired taste.
Lizzie Nightingale- ‘Tiny Teardrops’, EP
I think it must be surety and purity of unfaltering vocal prowess possessed by appropriately named Ms Nightingale, and her wistful, whimsical turn of musical phrase, which inspires comparison to likes of Annie Lennox and Kate Bush. It is true her style is redolent of both, not quite as inventively, intensely individual, lyrically, melodically or vocally, but these are early days, sounding somewhat like perfect audition, slightly earnest but resolutely ravishing none the less, this Nightingale is only just testing her wings. On her second flight, ‘Tiny Teardrops’ chirps five tender cobweb tracks; ‘Alone’ , silken symphony of sorrowful strings, spinning doleful dreams; dramatically pounded by heavy hearted drums, slashed by lightening, piano drawing hot tears on ‘Footsteps’; wound to tumbling trickle, plinking, plonking droplets, instrumentation figuratively alliterative, sparkling through watery wash of trancey effects, on ‘Tiny Teardrops’; illuminated by cinematic score, lustrous shimmer, spaghetti western heat haze, bass rumbling thunder, percussion whip lash slap across the face, on ‘Sparkle’; tumbling piano keys, staccato picked strings, pluck heart strings as hope re-emerges, roused by roaring kettle drums, riding stormy seas, on ‘Light’.
Tracking tears of a broken relationship, this suite of songs, rife with gorgeous melodies, skilfully draws on classical techniques and harmonic structures to arouse emotion, enhance emotive qualities of Lizzie Nightingale’s passionate vocal. At times, whilst beautifully employed, such lush musicality can become a bit predictable, even overwhelming, artefact softening sting, but touch of urbanity in Lizzie’s vocal cuts through contrivance. More literally illustrative, both in terms of lyrical and musical narrative, than either Lennox or Bush, ‘Tiny Teardrops’ makes up for lack of enlightening metaphors and esoteric poeticism , with its candour, its direct honesty, staring deep into eyes of personal experience, tracing a tale which touches every heart.
The EP also includes two remixes, ‘Alone-Matty Parka Dubfix’ and ‘Sparkle- Team Tartan Remix’ , which though pleasant enough, do not fully achieve what I feel a good remix should aim for; reveal hidden structure, ruffle edges, play with voice of the song. Both manage to gather courage, a third of the way through, but not enough to kick over traces, rearrange beautiful harmonic bones, to any meaningful extent. www.facebook.com/LzNightingale
Liz Lawrence- ‘Oo Song’, Single
The fashion seems to be for this kind of ‘eee’ xaggerated, rounded vowel pronunciation, so addition of ‘Oo’ is, I suppose, nearly a logical next step. Though this might be how some people speak, I must admit to growing intolerance of this aggravating affectation in others. Thankfully, in this case, though tortuous vowels are lurking, the ‘Oo’ is entirely appropriate, beguilingly mesmerising, especially when wound whimsically yet rhythmically, round wisp of mercurial little melody, trumpeter’s enchanting embouchure echoing its ‘O’, bass, drums, piano and guitars skipping in its sun.
Beautiful slip of a song, modern day Om, deliciously delivered by clear hearted voice.
Fireflys- ‘Jenny Play Your Guitar’, single
Alluringly appealing, catchy, bluesy, emotive Indie rock with sunny soul; moleskin vocal, fuzzy, warm, addictive stroke, gentle caress; bass, divinely deep, sanguine saunter, sexy swagger, long slow kiss; drums skip, swing, swaying hips; guitar ponders, pensively picks, ‘...does your soul cry out for love...one that you’ve been dreaming of...heartache like no other...burn your blues for another day....pick up your guitar and play...’ ‘Jenny Play Your Guitar’ finds the Fireflys flitting, glittering, sprinkling a little magic, pouring potion of pleasure.
Michael Emmerson- ‘Back To You’, Single
Plaintive piano plucks heartstrings, trickles, tumbles, twinkling sunlit tears, misty eyed; soulful, sultry bass , pours soothing solace; vocal gentle as lover’s touch, catches, breaks, trembles; spinning eternally emotive melodic lines that speak of wonderment, succour and salvation. Voice, piano and bass, Billy Joel dawn haze, breaking on life seen anew, eyes clear , plunging into Santana sunlight of re-acquaintance , guitars shining, fondly bright, ‘...as I come back to you...just for a day...’
A beautiful song, steeped in sincere emotion, laced with shivers of fluttering palpitations, setting it apart from others who might have struck similar chords with less sympathy.
Presley Johnson- ‘Anita’s Last Dance’/ ‘My Muse’, Single
‘Anita’s Last Dance’, glimmering, skipping folk pop, tapping country feet, merrily, melodically, bounces familiar hillbilly beat. Blithe, breezy bass, sparkling, gleeful guitar, gentle, sonorous thigh slap drum, sprightly, carefree vocal, gospel harmonies stoking its soul, slip of sunshine in the hay, winsomely wayward as its theme. ''My Muse' adds an element of grit, rasping, vibrating guitars, bass and drums drawling deep, vocal luxuriating in rockier, poppier blues, country screeching, sliding into thrumming, strumming, wail of soft metal rock. Again, effortlessly, guilelessly exploiting well loved melodic hooks with such respectful, uncontrived candour and musicality, it is impossible to cast jaded eye, classics not reinvented, just enjoyed.
Blak Magik Society- ‘Our Time (Keep It Heavy)’/ ‘Our Time (Keep It Heavy) clean edit’, Single
Both versions explosively energising, redoubtably dancey, impossibly alluring, addictive, I love this song and sound. Bounding like excitable pup, dragging its hapless handler gleefully through mud, it is impossible not to let loose and engage in the fun. Folk roots torn up, glasshouse demolished by sledgehammer stomp, cross pollinated with Lou Reed , replanted, rampaging over bluesy rollicking Stones rock , watered with radioactive waste from wildly turned electronic knobs , blossoms a wanton bramble crop from genetically spliced graft, fecund , ripe bursting pod, rocketing its seed in glorious, joyful spurt. The ‘clean edit’ has marginally less dirt under its fingernails than the entirely uninhibited, unashamedly abandoned , gone wildly to pot, ‘dirty’ version, which rolls rampant in the earth. You can guess which I prefer. Entrancing as Voodoo, this could certainly be the time for a bit of heavy Blak Magik. www.blakmagiksociety.com
The Riots- ‘Truncheons, Shields and Size 10 Boots’, Single
Two tone, mod filtered through haze of disgruntled sound; taut, tantalising, tantrum of drums, deep, stabbing dubby bass, guitars scratchy, scrunchy, bristling ferment, vocal defiant but disconcertingly punch drunk, slurred, hounded by distantly shrieking sirens, racing dub steps echoed through electronic under tow. ‘rebelsteppa Dub mix’ stamps its size ten boots with even more dub step force, infiltrating the song with smouldering, seething cauldron of dub inspired electronica , perversely pushing, pulling, jostling its beats, transforming this song from tempting to tantalising. A magical concoction, especially the deliriously delicious dub mix.
Ragweed- 'Double Chalker', EP
Grunge metal, assailing senses, assertively strumming, shredding, screeching, rampaging its way through a limited, yet riveting, range of redoubtable, rousing heavy metal riffs; four tracks, ‘Mind Bothering’, ‘Habit’, ‘New Tricks’ and ‘Fat Collapse’, of full on ferocity, tamed by violently vociferous yet well tempered instrumentation, pleasantly modulated guitar screaming with passion, grinding in grit, drilling drums and percussion ridden hard, without wheels falling off, taut and tight not just wild and, most beguiling bass, dangerous, dark, rounded, deep, elastically mobile, fleeting, swift, especially magnetic on last track, ‘Fat Collapse’. At first, vocal sounds like crazed satanic shriek, tantrum torn, vehemently shaken from tortured, incomprehensible lips, but settles into staccato, precisely punctuated, percussive, chant, where rhythms replace words.
I was unsure, but then I got to feel heat of Ragweed’s beat, twirled in their tempest, devil stomping on my head, spat out of malevolent maelstrom, I emerged cleansed and refreshed, cobwebs torn to shreds. From moment of insertion, this CD made me fearful of Hi-fi explosion, I half expected it to self implode or expel itself forcibly, pinning me to the wall but, sucked into its black hole I became strangely afflicted, addicted to its glowering call. Sounds like it is going to blow your head off, but not just raw fire, as you taste more, subtleties emerge and then you’re hooked.
Autopsy Boys- ‘Rich Kids Playground’/ ‘Negative 8’, Single
‘Rich Kids Playground’, poke in the eye punk, punchy, pertinent, musical weaponry dangerously aimed and armed , battalion united in strident chant, defiantly declaring its FIGJAM (Fuck I’m Good, Just Ask Me ) stance, waking the dead, shaking them to dance, eviscerating without recourse to dissection. Sex Pistols/ zombies on speed metal, spiked stake through head; barrage of battering drums, screeching skittering guitars, pugilist bass, vocal rapped shriek, punk’s safety pins ditched, replaced by tight zip, breathtaking rollercoaster of wildly whirling limbs.
‘Negative 8’, inventively adds Devo, New Wave, Numan and eighties effects to the mix; drums pounding, sinister bass throbbing, guitar squealing like pigs stuck with science fiction probes, in unholy experimentation, ratcheted knobs imparting excruciating electrification, vocal intoning incantation. All this might seem like torrid tangle of bedfellows but in actuality, an irresistibly alluring bit of strange.
Black Page Turns- ‘Riot Graves’, EP
Rebellious metallic rock, riding driving beat, writhing, thundering, throbbing, churning, squalling, squealing, scrambling full tilt. Energy encapsulated, seething American gasoline fumes, seducing iron maiden. Though Black Page Turns woos with well worn words and musical phrases, hint of punk satanic spirit adds Lynx spritz, unsubtle but bewitching.
Trails and Ways- 'Mtn Tune’, Single
Promising, atmospheric, ethereal electronic intro, delved by delicious subaqueous bass, delightfully dirtied with crackled clicks, anticipated pleasure dramatically doused by dive into torrid guitar turbulence, luminous but churning, annoyingly upbeat, twee, manic little motif; rescued by deranged, delirious bass, cracked whip blips and mellow male, spacey, surreal female, vocals, their rhythmic, staccato delivery, at first avoiding saccharine. Subsequently, sliding between pretty cheese and besmirched please, makes for slightly schizophrenic, though still beautifully sparkling, uplifting, extremely catchy, dancey track which, for my taste, could do with a touch more spice in its sugar
Shishi- ‘Nick Of Time’, Single
Deep throbbing, drubbing , darkly dramatic, melodramatic electronica employing stock, mesmerising, musical phrases and sounds, trancey rapped vocals, floating in maelstrom of sci-fi, spin dry space time, distorted by alien interference ,sonorous repeated beats skipping an eighties organ heartbeat, to spiral out of time. Rescued from another era, perhaps not quite in the ‘nick of time’, but even light years late, no longer futuristic, still exerts a fascination on me.
INDIE JUNGLE WORLDS
History Of The Trade- ‘One Arm’s Length’, Single
Emphasising offbeat, lends this track an unexpected, yet appealing hiccough. Musically astute Indie, duetting vocals and instrumentation in close choral, harmonic and rhythmic unison, singing same tale, inventively engaged in catchy counterpoint exchange, each ‘voice’ clear, precise, perfectly considered and formed. Following instincts, History Of The Trade blaze their own tribal path, tread with sure footed musicality through Indie jungle, to emerge uniquely themselves.
Loor A Los Heroes- 'Forever', EP
Radiant, shiny faced Indie, wearing Northern credentials appealingly and proudly on its sleeve; harmoniously jingly jangly guitars, scintillating cut and thrust, bass svelte and silky, ardent, exuberant drums. Troubadours of our times and towns, Loor A Los Heroes speak Indie street tongue, a musical linguistic which through familiar, is always appealing and engaging. In this case, particularly articulate, standing slightly apart from the crowd by virtue of musicality and accented, plummy vocal, delivering more depth than usually expected. 'Barbara', 'Dog And Bone' and 'Won't You Wait' brim with high energy, homespun observation, bounding breezily along on tried and tested, tribal chant, Indie melodic bones, while 'Amy' takes more poignant, tender turn, towards rockier climes, to fashion poppier classic, indulging in touch of air guitar acrobatics, turning up spacey effects. Though not extremely inventive in terms of musical construction, cadences which ring through much of Indie pop, yet each tune is anthemically alluring, expertly and enthusiastically delivered, standing artistically strong, which is a great achievement in Indie immersed times.
Showbizheroes- ‘Thinking and Drinking (Radio Edit)’/ Thinking And Drinking (Album Version)’, Single
When reviewing Showbizheroes’ ‘Sinner’, last December, I was taken , concluding they ‘...aren’t afraid to wrench angst, twist emotion to the edge of tearful despair, taking this band from light of more ordinary Indie into shadows of a deeper place...’Moving on to March and ‘Climb To A Fall’ , I was torn, but ‘...tightly played, beautifully beguiling bass, touches of enthralling vocal gymnastics, and sprinkling of synth sparkle, [beckoned] me out from behind sofa, a game of two halves...’
‘Thinking and Drinking’ still left me thinking, trapped behind sofa, reaching for a drink. Certainly most commercial of the three , if your poison is Guns N’Roses style Americanised softly hard rock, with throbbing bass line, churning ‘air’ guitar and pretty boy/girl ‘...I’d die for you...I’d cry for you...’ vocal; highly melodic, still tightly and beautifully delivered but, traces of ‘Sinners’ edgy angst and sparkle of ‘Climb T o A Fall’ , largely obliterated by what, for me, is rather ubiquitous genre, making it less interesting, to these pernickety ears. A shame, because I really like this Jekyll and Hyde band, even though their current side is influenced by potion I least prefer, but as they say, one person’s poison etc. For now, I will carry on cowering behind sofa, in hope that Jekyll mutates back into Hyde or vice versa, depending on your stance.
IN A WORLD OF THEIR OWN
Two Bit Dezperados- ‘Blind’ & Beat Mark- ‘Speed Of Sound’, Split Single
Ordinarily, these mangled mutations wouldn’t have made my reviews, except in transcending taste so spectacularly tortuously, with such exuberant yet atrocious aplomb, they deserve cult status. Unfortunately, like perniciously potent mouthwash, these songs will destroy your taste buds, have potential to burrow mind worm into brain, may even become shamefully addictive, so listen at your peril.
Managing to be manically upbeat and drearily tedious, catchy yet clichéd, well played yet cumbersome, all at once, are but some of the extraordinary feats, achieved by this deleterious duo. They also commit serious sacrilege, shiny face of Sixties psychedelia, splattered, mired in mud, hard rock gouged in the eye, Abba, bound, gagged, dragged like drugged, drunken donkey, burned at stake, New Seekers drained dry of serendipitous serenity, speeded up on nauseous saccharine high, sadly not beyond speed of sound, safely beyond reach of ears. I will not be sending this to the bands or their label; believing in equality when it comes to musical expression, my words are purely personal view, both these bands obviously believe in what they do, so there are bound to be others, more astute than me, who will do too. However, until then, it remains between us, a painful, yet guilty ‘pleasure’.
Reviews by Miss Chumki Banerjee - Golden Fable image by www.mudkissphotography.co.uk