QUANTUM HARMONIC OSCILLATOR
No Ceremony - 'FEELSOLOW', Single
In May 2012 I chose No Ceremony's 'Heartbreaker'/'Breaking Hearts', as single of the month, writing many adoring words, including '... Provocative whisper diving dark, deep and hard into grinding synth and gloaming drums of doom, 'Heartbreaker' stole and broke mine from first seductive sneer, impossibly, irresistibly intoxicating, I knew there was no escape from fervour, however fetid...' At that time, shrouded in mystery, unbeknown to me emergence of butterfly from chrysalis was imminent, as that same month No Ceremony emerged in puff of smoke, to much ceremony, as extraordinary live act, since when they seem to have been touring, unfortunately not near me. So, deprived of a follow up fix, I slipped this latest sliver of a single into my yearning stereo, with shiver of anticipation.
Immediately engaged by gloaming, poignantly pondered, piano chords, glowering in midnight glow, I knew I was once again entrapped, lured, reeled tumbling into tenebrous nether world, wooed by eerie, echoed, woeful whisperings, in rhythmic counterpoint with timorous plea of disconsolate soul, "...can you let me go...can you let me leave this place...I'm a godless captive...of something no one knows exists..." trapped by meniscus of gloom, intimations of doom, heaving heart throbbed by quaking bass, off beat clap, catch in dry throat. The break, intense yet subtle, heralded by lonesome piano soliloquy, gathering crashing storm, flashed with lightening of staccato motif, choppy waters of sliced, spiky sound breaking on rocks, vocal soaring like banshee in frustrated distress, harmonising with echo of itself, wreathed in maelstrom of weeping, cut up, sampled strings, used as percussion, drowned in dolorous electronic glimmer and deliciously inky bass.
To conjure such marvellous melancholia, desolate dolour, so effortlessly from vapour of thin air, without melodrama, is a marvel in itself, to then make it move your dancing feet, is miraculous. Encapsulating complexity in simplicity, completely mesmerising, what electronica is all about, No Ceremony continue vibrating electrons to higher excitable state. www.facebook.com/noceremony
The Keys vs. Cian Ciaran (Super Furry Animals) - ‘I Tried To Find It In Books’, Single
Fabulously feisty, brimming with acerbic attitude, delivered through clenched teeth “... tried to find it in Jesus….tried to find it in Jesus…tried to find it in books…tried to find it in drugs….”hissed like hypnotic, satanic mantra, writhing with silver snake of squirming tune, thrillingly throbbed by dark, deep bass, pulsated by ethereal, analogue filter, warped wash. Very Velvet Underground, tinged with The Cult, vibrated to higher state of excitation by oscillating shiver of enigmatic electrons, mine sweeping scintillating spectral spectrum, other worldly, warped consciousness dissolved in ether, permeating fabric of art house grunge punk; irresistible, innovative illumination of an old book, which, for me, makes essential listening. www.facebridge.net/thekeysmusic
Eli & Fur - ‘Tonight’, Single
Heavy, bouncy, growly dance beat drives this trancey track, with its sugary, baby doll vocal, to a harder place; snipped into snippets of infectiously catchy, cut up rhythmic bytes and loops, wafted with menacing mist, tickled with trickle of ticking effects, roughed up by scratchy stomp, perforated by prickling spikes of sound, riding waves of relentlessly grinding bass. At times, rhythmic impact is overwhelmed by overbearing vocal but, in general, a delicious mix of light and dark, with potential to move many to dance and many others to remix. Two such remixes are released with the original, both of which do the honour:
The ‘Jimmy Edgar’ remix eradicates some vocal excess whilst retaining rhythmic essence, chopped into microtones , brought into line by snap of clap, buoyed on bounce of burbling blips and blobs, accelerated electrons ricocheting from wall to wall, chattering like effervescently excited alien, ready to explode with ejaculatory excitement; a gloriously riotous remix. While the ‘Breton’ remix opens creaking door to supernatural, spectral, distorted world of mutated sounds, effects knob violently, twiddled and turned to destruction, marking time in menacing, manic throb, vocal squashed into epigram, looped, detuned, rallied by military percussion,, rolled in mud by deep and grungy bass, dirtied up, stamped on by squelch. With the warm, plummy sound of analogue synth, this remix adds irresistible mayhem which removes any remnant of synthetic, sugary taste, transforming this into a classic dance track. https://en-gb.facebook.com/eliandfurdjs
Heads Hearts - ‘Fear’, Single
Swallowed into sinister ether of amorphous electronic soundscape, pulsated, quaked by reverberating aftershocks of deep vibrating bass, stalked by light sabre lucent sweep, ominous cautionary shot across the bows, fatally deleterious to mortal, casually disarmed, power absorbed, by weaving nebulous wisp, sighing susurration of siren call; Banshee vaporised to ethereal, echoed vocal, striving to escape entrapment, entreaties barely escaping parallel dimensions, yearning through tenebrous mists, whisper of itself, stretched, entangled in clinging tentacles of mutated 'cello, heart slowed to pulsing throb of drums, execrable evil in shiver of cymbal and cymbal quiver, three note, eighties thriller inflected, melodic motifs accentuating menace.
Promise of hard core dance action, sucked up by seductive echoing mists of trance, simple and sweet: "...wipe the tear away...put it in my pocket for another day..." Too smooth to hurt like real dance should, almost anime cinematic, saved from quotidian by conglomeration of enigmatic sounds, skilfully given warmth by traditional instrumentation and unapologetically stark juxtaposition of malevolent and innocent; a dichotomy for me, lover of extreme electronica. But this is so well put together, deceptively simple yet mesmerising, its workings elusive, marriage of new and unusual flavours, inspirational, rather than gratuitous for shock’s sake, I cannot help but be intrigued. As instrument of Art House soulful Goth Punk, Pandora’s Box of intriguing, beguiling electronica and effects opens up endless opportunities for exploring dark, twisted universes but its price is even greater propensity for melodrama, than presented by more traditional approaches. Let loose in whirlwind of virtues and vices, it is easy to lose ones head, spinning out of control, but Heads Hearts, while following their hearts, manage to keep hold of their heads, concocting magical elixir of electronic Goth, rather than wicked witches’ brew.
As teaser for 'To Pieces' EP launch, late March, this promises much, especially as having also listened to 'To Pieces' ,which I assume will be one of the included pieces, I have been even more smitten by its harder, heart of glass, fractured rhythmic route. www.facebook.com/HeadsHearts
Kosheen - 'Spies', Single
Enticing me to move to its tune from first glimmer of gritty pulse, snip of sampled mutated, man on moon speech, snap of clap, grinding beat and thrill of Darth Vader laser sweep; an epic, insistently catchy dance tune, stomping with Blondie/Ladytron "...snapping my bones ... stripping my skin..."attitude and orgasmic sounds, vibrating, lustrous, eighties inflected synth, reverberating pan pipes, electronic toy town brass, deeply delicious resonant hum, luminosity gloriously rioting, kicking dirt, that mixture of beauty and the beast which I find so appealing, crafted to perfection. Included with three beguiling remixes; 'Moth Equals Remix' slows time down to lugubrious, misty, murky, underwater depths , where strange creatures screech in mutated howls, ominously elongated sounds, sinister vocal and darkly glowering instrumentation take menacing turn, taking original from sprightly sleaze to maliciously minacious, on spin of a coin; 'Polarity Remix' once again flips lid, going spaghetti western with steel guitar and clip clop distant cow bells , plunging into potent pleasure of drum and bass, squelchy big foot footsteps, squashed through filter, dissected, zipped, mutated, dissolving in mirage shimmer, before stamping off; 'High Frequency Remix' does what it says, speeded up to frantic, manic , techno pace, it jitters like cold turkey, foam flecked, spraying sweat, allowing no respite, caffeine high, exploding with squealing energy, full on, with little variation, for me this goes on slightly too long, but maybe I am just showing my age.
All stand remix test, not disintegrating under dissection and apart from the last one, encompassing enough variation to make them almost as interesting as the original. However, I think the original holds enough juice to be squeezed into many more flavours yet, so am looking forward to a particularly bitter sweet, acerbic version. https://en-gb.facebook.com/kosheenmusic
HYPERBOLIC PARTIAL DIFFERENTIAL
Alek Fin - 'Mull', EP
Totally beguiling mixture of New Age electronic jazz and drum and bass rhythmic intrigue, Hillage illusory worlds rent with Roni Size racing offbeat evolving new and fantastical creature. 'Mull': Striated with heaving shimmer, like thoughts which rise and fade, as fractured, hushed vocal mulls, explores inner universe, blood pulsing, trickling, leaping into fast moving river of bass, flowing through verdant, misty tributaries of recollection, rising with echo , pattering with sickening anticipation and fear, in flurry of rapidly ticking effects and heart sink bass. 'Rocks In Paper' : Syncopated cut and thrust of twinkling cymbals, drums and twittering noises, niggled by tensions of deceptively innocuous, hypnotic repeating motifs, on bass and sweetly lulling chimes, somnambulistic vocal, mesmerising poker face, rocking senses, undercurrent of jittery, perspiring anxiety, racing hard beneath. 'Waiting Like A Wolf': Washed in phosphorescence, languid, stalking vocal tickled with danger of prickling effects, bathed in celestial twilight as velvet night creeps; rising through its mist, luminous moon, twinkling guitar stars blinded by its icy stare, vocal lupine howl, echoing through time, senses tingling in shiver of silver cymbal, steady heartbeat calm to racing, as bass prowls with languid, graceful fluidity, melting into invisibility, merged with inky midnight. 'Gone': Cool ice flaring to flashing fire, fleeing rhythmic offbeat of shivering cymbal, insistent, pulsing drums and skittering glow fly pulses, bass grumbling, growling, nimble fingers tumbling in tireless race, vocal echoed progressive scat, languidly liquid, floating in freefall, riding ethereal waves of spectral effects; Entirely bewitching mixture of beautiful sounds, scraps of gossamer melody and energising, captivating rhythmic exchange.
Alek Fin's 'Mull' is a triumph of electronic musicianship, without trace of pretension which so often afflicts such epic endeavours. Conjuring fantastical, evocative soundscapes to get lost in, it takes some mulling to penetrate its layers, wander its wondrous paths, but worth the effort for magical worlds which unfurl. www.facebook.com/alekfin
mnttaB - 'mainsHum', EP
Messing with musical norm, just as they do with mother tongue, mnttaB's style is in your face, irresistibly arresting, begging for attention; cryptic crossword of a band, addictive intrigue defeating potential for annoyance, fears of superficial affectation falling away with increasing excitement, enticed by incitement of a band absorbed in exploring electronic wastelands, fragile beauty of thorny, wiry, wild flowers, emerging from weeds.
Courting controversy, even before first note, with street cred name (Australianised abbreviation of ‘meant to be'), back to front capitalisation cocking snook at linguistic etiquette, email signed with contracted double entendre, 'love dik', emphatically emphasised with extended dik.dik.dik, in its alliterated address, which, catching cacography, I dutifully added to my 'diktionary'; I was filled with apprehension, afraid of what to expect, especially as electronica is my affliction. 'We Touch' and 'mainsHum', travel back to dawn of electronica, with unadulterated, synthetic, old school, dance beat, before taking leap into seething hell's fire of death metal freak, gratifyingly grating, grimy grunge, throbbing, pulsating, stabbing, kick in the teeth, to rat a tat military tattoo, inflammatory rant, filtered through distortion and interference, errant satellite emission from pirate station, rabble roused by hunters horn of analogue synth.
Though these two songs irrevocably mark the territory with their insistent rhythmic stamp, showing little mercy, it was '...but you didn't, did you?', 'drained' and 'Moons and Stars and Things...' ,which, for me, released full potency of mnttaB's musical muse, unravelled their vernacular, to verbalise with eloquent, articulate literacy an electrifying language all their own, fabric of fabricated sound shredded, idioms and metaphors mixed, into fantastical fury of electronica, new sounding old.
Bass wound down to thudding, vibrating, drum and bass growl, jazzy drums dragging feet inexorably to space between, eccentrically offbeat, distortion knob turned to max, guttural, spitting out scraps of riffs, prodding, needling, spinning, throbbed with mellow menace of enticing analogue sounds, dark skies rent by jagged silver streaks, shivered by space age thrills, vocal provocative broadcast, punk chant to surreptitiously insinuating; this is a thunderous sound which sounds random, snippets from various energising electronic eras rewound, remixed into vibrant, drum and bass meets death metal disturbance from another dimension, renting fabric of these tangled times. Somehow, mnttaB have managed to mutate artificial intelligence into highly animated, improvised sound, give technology a fiery soul, which races like Roni Size, thrills like Orbital, holding me enthralled, hanging onto every unpredictable sound, in this highly orchestrated cacophony. www.facebook.com/mnttaB
Gabby Young - 'Walk Away', Single
Combining tremulous, soprano quiver of Piaf, with her friend Dietrich's syrupy depth, Gabby's captivatingly clear voice is intriguing mix of fragility and soaring strength, with an unusual but bewitching, lilting, intonation. In swaying counterpoint with metronomic, piano scintillation , jazz band instrumentation , lightest flick of drums, mercurial trumpet and hint of husky, rhythmic backing vocals, dirtied up with gloriously grungy swagger of cheeky bass, heaving to high cabaret plain, in elegant swoop, sweeping effortlessly to celestial registers; a beautifully constructed and delivered piece of pure, classy pleasure. https://en-gb.facebook.com/GabbyYoungandOtherAnimals
Florelie Escano - ‘The Liberating Kind' (LOTEK Remix), Single
Modern day diva, with seductively smooth, beguilingly magnetic, effortlessly fluid vocal; combining R&B soul with cabaret jazz, lit by impudent reggae smile, innocently impassioned, slightly flirtatious , like waft of summer breeze, coquettish yet demure, full of hope; capriciously capering, bountiful bass bounding in her wake; guitar spiky shards of attitude; serenaded by ardent, jubilantly joyful trumpets; strolling with warm sun of youthful liberation on her back, a radiant blithesome song, leaving restrictions behind, leaping into life, an inspiring little number. www.facebook.com/florelie
Josh Savage - ‘Mountains In Hurricanes’, EP
Stunningly melodic, emotional singer/songwriter folk, empathetic vocal with sweeping range, evocative timbre and endearing cockney twang, laden with candour, weaving poetic, beguilingly alluring, heartfelt message of utter trust “...give you my bones to break .. ‘cause I have faith....” Burnished by belief, ‘Mountains In Hurricanes’ glows, flows with compassion, and through operatic voice, full of vibratory depth, given character by slight edge, could stand alone; earnestly impassioned, it gathers even more emphasis by effortlessly leaping an octave without even reaching for swoop; sweetly strummed guitar, wash of heaving strings and deeply diving, calm stream of bowed ‘cello adds another illuminating, totally enchanting dimension. Track two on this EP is ‘Figure You Out’ ponders mathematics of being, an unsolvable conundrum of myriad approximations which never quite make the whole; “....equations...formulas... figures and numbers...you’re not that simple...you’re a tangent to a circle...Pythagoras won’t solve this one with a theory...” Lone picked guitar and contemplative, determined vocal start meandering speculation, joined in enticing, ethereal harmony by forest sprite, fleeting, elusive object of this observation; thoughtful flute broods, mulling infinite shades of the soul, seeking combination that opens a heart. Take Off Your Shackles’: tender, swooping vocal and violin tangled in dolorous duet, ‘cello deep stream beneath, drowning in river of bass, building to crescendo in flurry of frustrated, sharply bowed strings rousing rumble of tethered tribal drums to strain against restraints, beseeched by vocal, echoed through battle smoke, to break free, selflessly letting go, in the name of love ‘Mountains In Hurricanes (Maximillian II Remix)’ , inspired remix which picks at “...bones to break...” sampled to rhythmic, stammering skeleton, repeated through echoed mists like spiritual mantra handed down from above, religious connotations drawn out by sweeping majesty of classical strings and parody of gospel clap, dancing to devil’s scratchy beat, in guise of squelchy, underwater sensuous throb of drum and bass; An illuminating re interpretation which draws out unexpectedly dancy beat, which could not have been predicted from the original.
From theory through to conception, simplicity spun from complexity, a musical calculation of sparkling inner perception. www.facebook.com/joshsavagemusicMaglia Rosa Group -‘Nighthawks’, EP
Redolent of whimsical folk, merged with Cocteau quirk and Kate Bush expressionism; dusky drums, giant's stomp; clanging, clamorous, rhythmic guitar, hiccoughing hiatus, mischievous sprite stalking each song; dusty, doleful lugubrious bass, shuffle of hobbit's feet, gentle sigh; mesmerised by, clear as bell, sweet as honey, soaring Elfin song; sprinkled with handful of shimmer, artfully applied. Woven with magical melodies, moving between folk and theatrical musical, fragrant charm of Maglia Rosa entices with Pied Piper call.
'Nighthawks' dips and soars on Kate Bush wings, vocal hovering on up draughts beneath its wings, weaving like mist over hazy landscape below, rising, falling, sweeping, swirling, scrap of melody blown on the wind, caught in hot breath of twirling bass, prickled by currents of picked guitar, tethered by pegged to ground drum, air rippling, shimmering with moonlight motes of flute and percussion; musical mindscape, artistically painted, with subtle, deft strokes. 'Fallen Daughter' takes hymnal turn; tremulous organ, sinister vibration, speaking of shame; drums shivering, head held low; silver tongue of guitar, cutting sermon; confessional whisper of incense bass; percussion chiming sacrament bells; angelic vocal showing off its incredible timbre and range, swooping like Sarah McLachlan, worshipping at Charlotte's Church, plunging into Bush's lower register. A song with a Phantom Of The Opera feel, dramatically theatrical, melodies flowing like silver streams, at times losing their way but pretty view, none the less. 'Blood Orange' follows same musical theme, showing off the holy voice, but adds touch of welcome grit, with tetchy percussion, gravelly edges to jingly, jangly, spiky guitar and some vocal 'body popping' tricks, adding percussive edge, as well as wonderment. 'Buckling' weaving round loop of melody shared by guitar and vocal; soft patter to swoon, tumbles back down, a little way, towards earth, organ background hum, bass sensual grumble and throb, prickling interference adding texture, perfection endearingly slipping and sliding, intentionally slightly off key.
Less high church, though all songs entice, this stands out as being most human, with lyrics which engage with more mortal beings and feelings. www.facebook.com/magliarosagroup
The Ambersons - 'The Magnificent Ambersons', EP
Glimmering in with 'A Little Love', "...wrapped up in rainbows...”. all gushing piano, twinkling effects, glittering guitar, soft focus bass and drums, vocal anthemically earnest, seamlessly blended into perfectly polished performance, awash with luminosity, lulled by Ambersons captivating ambience, it is easy to be blasé about their beauteously soothing sound, melodies fit easily into familiarly pleasing Indie Folk slots, effortlessly sincere, everything to like, nothing out of place. This could be tarnished with stain of modern being, 'an easy listening life' BUT, two thirds of the way through, a quirky hand rocks the cradle, squelchy, telly tubby synth bounces out of echoed mist, inveigles with toy trumpet call, hinting at what lies beyond green hills, before swirling back into controlled clamour, comfortably cacophonous. 'The New Adventures Of Superman' spins the magic windmill, sprinkles musical box magic dust, flying to a higher plain, with its infusion of wit and whimsical Bowiesque melodic and vocal inflections, tumbling with piano arpeggios, in duet with tenderly bubbling vocal and voluble guitar, throbbing with bass, delicate drums tracing elegant tracks, weaving welcome touch of kink through slinky silk, this bright eyed, "...I can see through wall with laser eyes..." burns hole in previous perception, a song which stands out, especially as Bowie is my Superman. 'Mary-Anne' burbles, clips and clops on to Spaghetti Western set, retaining idiosyncratic charm, mouth organ and sliding steel guitar morphing Bowie into Jim Reeves country, who though he bakes good cherry pie, doesn't possess the potent super powers, which drew me to previous song. 'A Beautiful Mistake' takes Orwellian turn, wandering into mixed up Danger Mouse meets American space cop, electronic world, blipping, blobbing, galumphing, mixing eighties analogue synth sounds with disco and rhythmic dance, vaguely vocoded, new chemical code concocted by mad scientist frantically manipulating knobs. At first I wasn't sure but, enticement soon overwhelmed me and I became addicted to this unexpected offering.
A very intriguing EP, fluent musical artistry swinging between deliciously sweet and salivatory savoury, with a few muddled flavours in between. As they say themselves "...even superman has bad days..." but mostly they wear those pants well. www.facebook.com/theambersons
Henry Green - 'Shipwreck'/ 'Shapes', Single
As every musician is individual, comparisons are not always useful but, in this case, spirit of Benjamin Francis Leftwich floats so immediately to mind, it is impossible to ignore echo of his ghost; in wisp of peat smoke in eloquent voice; in choppy, yet tenderly strummed guitar; hallmarks of his evocative Indie folk style. Like Leftwich, Green paints luminous soundscapes with little more than voice and guitar, engaging flute like effects to emulate eerie underwater world, drifting, at its mercy, through carcass of sunken shipwreck, washed by melancholy waves, which shimmer of cymbal and boxy percussion takes crashing to the shore; power of nature and our fragility encapsulated in briefest sweep of musical artistry.
Flip side, ‘Shapes’, rings with resonant guitar, strummed emotional and lonely, shimmered with shadows of glittering effects, vocal rising out of mists, harmonised by spectres of itself, steely strings picking up Lonesome Dove, spaghetti western theme, hope and despondency hand in hand, mercurial wonder and tragedy of life. Green’s music swims, brims with understated emotion, spun from silver strands of melody, shining with clarity, infused with introspection, atmosphere glowing like magic lantern, mirror reflecting inner mind. www.facebook.com/henrygreenmusic
Coasts - 'Oceans', Single
Deep soulful Indie Folk, moving seamlessly between calm contemplation and crashing emotion, ebbing like pulsing tide, rolling like swell, drowned in pounding waves of intense, emotional sound, thundering, vibrating, fit to burst; fathomless bass, profound guitar , twinkle of cymbal , buffeting drums, beguilingly harmonious vocal, rippled by trickles of intriguing little illustrative sounds and effects, which lift this from the expected, washed through rainbow mist, rung with glockenspiel droplets, abrasive salt sea spray of synth. almost hidden beneath maelstrom of mellow sound, adding edge and grit, makes for gorgeous, totally beguiling sound. www.facebook.com/coastsband
The Delaplains - 'Gypsy Blood', EP
'Eleanor': Melodic, harmonious, poignant Indie wearing heart on sleeve. Sparkling, twinkling, jingly, jangly, steely guitar, winsomely voluble, mellow bass, modestly slick, sympathetic, jazzy drums and Beach Boy emotive vocal, sprinkled with Sixties magic dust, stealing memorable shimmering, circular riffs, this may not be Eleanor Rigby but glimmers with luminous light from another era, thoughtfully and lightly reworked into gorgeous, lucent sound, emotionally connecting past to present. 'Gypsy Blood' throbs like fevered blood through veins, exuberant bass gloriously racing, pulsating, slipping, sliding, drums palpitating heartbeat skip, guitar jubilant weep, capricious strum, vocal imbued with adoring, wide eyed love, crescendo of excitement building. 'Statues', opens up sound from tight knit mesh, like sun through rain, guitar gleams, bass beams, drums tingle and thrill, each element stands defined with space between, evoking inherent loneliness inhabiting yet connecting us all, expressed in perceptive intuition of buoyant vocal. 'Sleeping With The Lights On' returns to Eleanor, in instrumental feel; spinning beguiling, mesmerising maudlin, pulling on minor seventh heartstrings, tune, "...blue skies...floating away from me...." , glockenspiel stars twinkling in night skies. Entirely endearing in its rueful candour, it is impossible not to heave woeful sigh, wishing to wipe away such chagrin from such a youthful eye.
For a 'debut D.I.Y. release' from a new band, The Delaplains surprised me with their musicianship, light touch and instinctively integrated, enthralling sound. Without pretention yet quite a revelation, let us see where they wander next. www.facebook.com/TheDelaplains
The Vestals - ‘Perfect Pain’ / ‘Seventeen’, Single
‘Perfect Pain’ leaps into full on frenzy of flailed iridescent guitars, racing bass and pulsing drums; flickering, flashing with fervent effervescence, weaving familiar emotive Indie melodic patterns, racing through signature riffs, The Vestals encapsulate a certain , ever enduring, ever endearing sound, bass heart palpitating in ecstasy of concupiscent agony, vocal impassioned, ardent, brimming with fresh faced guile, voice of innocent's first taste of how things might change, bring pain, wrung with entreaty for things to remain, guitars wallowing in shimmering shine of tears and hope. Though rifling familiar melodic and emotional cadences, The Vestals bring fresh face to eternal themes, with musical flair and aplomb and memorably catchy tunes.
'Seventeen', more anthemic, not quite as catchy, though just as fervid; intense wall of warm swirling sound protectively enveloping teenage angst, vulnerable soul exposed by tender vocal, circulating melodic riffs like churning thoughts, at time swooping off into rock territory while still retaining its Indie soul. Like Vestal Virgins, The Vestals stoke sacred fires of Indie, its light still burning bright in their eyes. www.facebook.com/thevestals
Arc & Stones - ‘Arc & Stones’, EP
Five melodic, emotive, rock and roll Indie tracks with American twang: ‘Silence’ ,‘Say Goodbye’ and ‘Rise’, take unlikely combination of comfortably familiar, anthemic style rock; toted like guns, guitar riffs, writhing off into soaring soliloquy, beautifully fluid, velvet bass and mellow rolling drums; Guns and Roses Americana; singer/songwriter folk; and atmospheric Indie, to concoct warmly endearing sound, which escapes being melodramatic or trite by virtue of poignant instrumental interludes, rippled with piano, lustrous soundscapes, gritty, glimmered effects, maudlin melodic tangents, moody, attitudinal vocal and hint of Velvets/ Nirvana edge. ‘Let Me Down’, more stripped down, with tender piano, gently strummed guitar, resonating bass, touchingly aching vocal, washed with shimmering sostenuto effect ,travels David Gray route with moving, sing a long, effect, while ‘She’s Mine’ goes a bit Meatloaf spiced with Alice Cooper sleaze.
This is definitely rock and roll; with slight slant, hint of shadow cast on shine; in safe hands, performed with accomplished ease; surprisingly appealing, despite the fact that none of the tracks veer wildly into unchartered lands, charmingly steered away from comfortable conformity by subtle twists and turns. Perhaps Arc and Stones slightly coasts, when they could rampage, throw more stones, but nonetheless alluring. www.facebook.com/arcandstones
PARALLELOGRAM OF FORCE
Mark Tremonti - ‘Wish You Well', Single
Furore of Satanic sounds and beam me up special effects; devilish mayhem in china shop, nightmare elevator to Hades, demonic vocal extruded from its fires, hound of Hell straining to escape leash of growling bass; unleashes firing squad, tornado of sound so hard and tight, no beam of light escapes its black hole gravitational pull; pure, driving, hammering nails rock. Should there, by fluke, be one regular reader of this column, he or she will be well aware of my antipathy to Americanised heavy rock, with its free flowing, melodic licks , locks and provocative pelvic thrust. Well let me tell you, starting with hugely engaging , inventive intro, Tremonti has turned me, kidnapped by hurtling train of battering drums, defence destroyed by machine gun guitars, drowned in their torrential squall, carried away on their weeping wings of racing , seduced by impassioned swoop of tantalising voice, I will never be the same again.
I didn't think it was humanly possible to harness such tremendous energy through mortal efforts alone, fuel such an incendiary explosion without falling apart, so let us hope Tremonti has sold his soul to the devil. https://en-gb.facebook.com/MarkTremonti
Lost Souls - 'Black Eyes', Single
Despite myself, I find myself drawn to this pair of enticing eyes because of imaginative electronic effects, burbling, bubbling beneath surface casting distorting Hyde light over outer Jekyll carapace wearing stock expression of Brit Pop with American twang. Melodic structure rolls confidently along predictable, catchy convoy road, interspersed with unexpected soliloquies, sprinkled with eye-opening effects; ripple of piano, circling like bird of prey round twittering sparrows; sampled Disaster Movie commentary; vibrating, vacillating, Sci-Fi sound effects and rattle snake shake; cut with menacing slice of bass and slash of guitar, "...eyes, black like oil..." riding biliously on swell of choppy, steely, rock and roll riffs, vocal veering off into American Rock God territory, chased by New York sirens.
Once again, a genre lost to me, melodic yet malodorous, rescued by Lost Souls, I'm on a run! www.facebook.com/LostSouls5
Chronographs - ‘Nausea’ EP
‘Technical metal’ label, and confrontational photographic pose, despite posed scowls, is inadequate indication that such an innocent looking bunch could deliver mayhem that explodes from this EP; On ‘Opticks’ , death metal ,hoarse as the devil, ectoplasmic vocal , whips prolifically racing, screeching progressive guitar on speed , to foaming ferment, battered like punch ball by pugilistic drums and bass. Such protracted turbulence could indeed induce sea sick nausea but setting their compass for less predictable climes, the Chronographs sail into more mysterious, deeper waters, where solo guitar displays its twirling virtuosity in graceful dolphin speak, sprayed with sparkle of shivered cymbals, while dangerous undercurrents of gravelly bass, grumbles, seethes beneath, tumultuous troubled turmoil rising to crashing waves, battered on serrated rocks by delirious, deleterious drums.
Melodic distinction tenuous, all five tracks ride same see saw ride, absolute annihilation, tumbling torrential rapids, interspersed with detours, riding raging rivulets of potently assured progressive tributaries, ‘Veritas’ entering murky underworld of tortured souls, ‘Inanis’ with Rush like interlude, ‘Nausea’, my favourite, with touch of Floyd, while ‘Resolve’ ,another full on Nosferato track, takes respite in rather cheesy Americana.
Assault on the senses, like chilli very addictive, but I must admit that the unrelenting, gruff vocal shriek, is very distracting, all at one unremittingly, throat shredding, nodal inducing level, with no light and shade, it starts to niggle and grate, diverting attention, relegating remarkably accomplished musicianship to unjustified undertow. But that is just me, for some this may be the ultimate energising experience, while I wish I could hear more of the subtlety which all too briefly shows its face. https://en-gb.facebook.com/chronographs
Mercury Tide - ‘Searching’, Single
Running riot with glorious glam melodic, heavy metal riffs, driving guitar, bass, keyboard and drums, hand in glove united, furiously focused, with elastic, soaring vocal, seamlessly swaying between impassioned screech and ballad sweet.
Iron Maiden softened by Guns and Roses, brushed by lips of Kiss. Like their eyeliner, not as extreme, more smudged kohl, better fed and certainly prettier; Mercury Tide may not raise temperature of heavy rock, but exude clement weather, tongue in cheek class, warming cockles of heart. They may not smelt iron, but succeed exceedingly well in melding harmony, freak and hard core, to smote liquid mercury glistening ore.Welcome smooth ride in uncertain time, turn up loud, forget your woes, will make you smile while hopefully your neighbours won’t weep, in fact they might join in. www.facebook.com/MercuryTide
Bombers - 'Drawing'/ 'Buddy’s In A Cult', Single
'Drawing'; Scratchy, rapping rant, Iggy Pop punk, twisting round three note acerbic melodic phrase, emphatically emphasised by doublespeak knife of guitar and dusty throbbing bass, speaking in unity, until guitar skitters off to share stabbing , rhythmic, attitudinal vocal, drums pointedly prodding home its cleanly delivered, piercing message, which irrepressibly inserts itself in memory. For me however, 'Buddy’s In A Cult' is even more captivating , once again regurgitating scrap of seductive riff, tinged with touch of Cult/Cave/Cure and Velvets, in pulsating ironic menace of bass, shiver down spine drums and cymbals and mesmeric mantra vocal “...Buddy’s in a cult... I think they’ve got his brain...” Rolling into Adam Ant drums, adding Bow Wow Wow tongue in cheek, measured and chic, sounding very New York, Bombers deliver full impact of rapid musical fire, with rumbustious restraint, a lesson in the art of precise targeting, where less is more. www.facebook.com/bombersband
March 2013 reviews by Miss Chumki Banerjee (Please forgive my questionable mathematical allusions)