Where Words Fail…: Getting the Bands (Duos and Solo Acts) Together

Where Words Fail…

 

Getting the Bands (Duos and Solo Acts) Together.

I’m not sure if this will be a pie-in-the-sky thing; whether I should like a demented bride planning her wedding- an idea occurred that I could not get over.  To distract my mind from the horrible stress and anger of my home life; the rising tide of financial uncertainty (this month)- a wealth of other oddities and annoyances- something occurred to me.  I am always being asked (by acts I have reviewed and keep in touch with) to come see them.  From the Scottish warriors Universal Thee, London lovelies like Lisa Marini and Los and the Deadlines; Lincoln folk The Moth Lantern- Yorkshire wonders such as ISSIMO.  I have a huge love and respect for all of them (and the acts yet to invite me up for a beer) and one thing always holds me back- exorbitant train fares.  Having roughly bugger-all to survive on (for the rest of the month), I am finding I am home-bound and limited- unable to come up and say ‘hi’ to my music darlings.  As I type this, another journalist has been beheaded- religion kills again, it seems.  The sheer evil and scariness of life continues to fart in the Devil’s face; the lice and rats of human society are being given air time- shown in newspaper headlines and seeing themselves as martyrs and heroes.  As cowardly and pathetic as they are, you cannot how unpleasant and awful the outside world is- the world is a horrible and nasty place.  I am not saying it as a fatalist or to throw in the towel- there seems to be meagre glimmers of light among hailstorms of fire.  Two of the constants- that have kept me ticking and busy- are music and charity.  The former has seen me consecrate and solidify my music writing; start to- finally- recruit a band; get things going.  I am taking on managing a new band- local to me- and looking into managing a second- keeping myself nice and busy.  In addition, I am still reviewing and keeping my hand in- you can imagine how wonderfully rich my social life is at the moment (he says, ironically).  Charity is something I have not often- in the past- spent a lot of time (and money) on- mainly because the ‘charity muggers’ where I live are the most irritating humans on the planet.  Following family tragedies and a need to take (some form of) action, I have been involving myself in half-marathons- planning on completing one every three months (for a new charity).  This sort of brings me to my main point…

There are a good 30 or 40 acts (I have reviewed) I would love to meet; see in the flesh and share a drink (with)- I have been getting requests through thick and fast.  Whilst it is not economical or realistic to get all of me to all of them- it may be doable to get them all to me.  I am pretty determined- nay, psychotically determined- to pull together a charity fundraiser/event.  I have a list of my review subjects in front of me- there are 36 different examples listed.  I wanted to get all of them together (several will be reading this right now) and put them under the same roof.  I am looking at February next year- the night(s) of the 14th (and possibly 15th- depending on feedback and recruitment).  The event will take place in London, and aim to get all the tremendous bands, duos and solo acts to the capital- for one night (or two) of charitable debauchery; music festivities and a Valentine’s Day massacre of sound.  From Yorkshire stunners like Jen Armstrong, Allusondrugs and ISSIMO; Scots Universal Thee, London/Surrey-ites Los and the Deadlines, Lisa Marini, Nina Schofield and Chess- I want to do this.  Let me explain a bit further…

The Name:

Where Words Fail…

Dates:

I had originally intended to have this set for Christmas time- or around the 23rd December.  It is still a possibility, but what with raising funds and booking the venue- it seems like a bit of stretch.  February seems to give me enough time to get those things sorted; send out the invites and plan the gig.  The aim of having it on Feb. 14th was to do something useful on Valentine’s Day- give love to people that are not used to it; bring lovers, sweethearts and new faces together for one big blind date.  I am sure my venue may be booked then (see below), but a boy can try, right?  If there is enough demand- and lots of people want to get involved- it may have to extend into a following night.

The Aim Behind the Gig:

The show(s) will be a chance for a lot of acts- who until now do not know one another; or only connect on social media- to play together.  A lot of acts will be unsigned and seeking representation.  The aim is not for a record label boss to come scout, but the possibility is all there- hopefully word-of-mouth can get can them in.  The main point is to raise funds for charity.  Each act would nominate their chosen charity- play on behalf of them- it can be local, national or international- there will be no profit to be had.  When the ticket sales are accrued and calculated, the total (that does not go to the venue) will be divided among the artists- they then would take that back to their nominated cause.  Having been appalled by events in other countries; the growing tensions of the world stage- a lot of concerns and issues are being neglected on our doorstep.  Working in a job where I get to read of some pretty serious cases- I work in adult social care- it is disheartening and painful to read of such woe and horror.  This is no cynical spur-of-the-moment thing; not a plan I will abandon- something that should happen and would do a lot of good.

The Venue:

At the moment, there is only one that stands in my mind: Under the Bridge.  The Chelsea-based music venue is situated under Stamford Bridge (hence the name)- it is one of the most reputable and wonderful venues in London.  Take a look at the website- http://underthebridge.co.uk/- and you can see how glorious it is.  Situated near Fulham and Broadway Tube- with easy public transport accessibility- it is in one of the most prosperous and nice parts of the capital.  The venue is renowned for its beauty, cleanliness; quality and atmosphere- there are few others that match it.  I understand there are bigger venues, yet U.T.B. holds 550 people- standing room only.  The state-of-the-art sound and lighting seems perfect; the décor and setting is immaculate- just the sort of place to host a musical repas du soir.  Acting as an impresario and organiser, I want to get all of my wonderful musical pals together- put them in this venue; let the capital see what they are capable of.  Under the Bridge seems just the place to host this.  Whether the cost of staging the event will be too exorbitant (I am not sure) – but I am going to enquire and get some quotes.

The Financing:

Unfortunately this is not the sort of endeavour that can be funded via a Kickstarter campaign- as it is a charity event.  I appreciate that it is going to cost a bit for the acts to get down- train fare; accommodation and the like- yet I will plan to make some allowances and try and organise something.  The idea is to pay the venue based on ticket sales- a certain percentage of the door will go to them.  I am hoping- provided we can get full capacity crowds on the night(s)- there will be plenty of money left over- ticket prices will run at about 15.00 GBP for the night.  As it is a 550 capacity venue, it seems likely there will be a healthy profit- meaning each act will have a fair amount for their charity.  It is hoped I can parlay this into a second night- meaning more money can be raised.  I am going to get quotes and ideas- from the venue- but hoping that bugaboo money does not stand in my way (as it is at the moment).

In the Lead-Up:

There is a long way to go, so it seems like a lot of things need to happen.  Near the bottom, I have listed acts I hope can make it; others can add their name and let me know.  It is important I get rough estimates of numbers- so I can go forward.  Towards the end of the year I hope to raise some finances- through other sources- make some plans and get everything sorted.

On the Night (and Before):

It is going to be important- assuming this thing happens- to get all the acts together prior- rather than shove them all on stage and expect it all to click.  There will need to be planning meetings, itinerary and rehearsals.  This first stage- the timetable- does not need all the acts to be together- I can do this via email and social media.  When it comes to run-throughs, this will need all of the acts- so they are attuned and confident on the night.  I will put together a rudimentary running order prior to the get-together, but it vital everything gels and runs smoothly- it will not be an arduous or elongated practice/rehearsal.  I am aiming for it to take a day to do; the acts get a chance to meet for the first time- and see each other perform.

What I Need From Each Act:

As (I hope) there will be a lot of ‘yes’ votes- it is unlikely each act will have a chance to play too many tracks.  The way I see it- depending on how many are in, each artist will play a 20-25 minutes set.  One of their songs will be an older/established number- the other will be a new song or cover.  I am hoping each act can bring a new song to the evening- give it its first airing.  That not only gives the audience something fresh, it is a chance for the acts in question to premiere their latest offering.  If there is a huge demand- and a second night is feasible, then it is likely a third song can be added- split things so half the acts play the first night; the second (half) the next night.  What I require in the short-term is some feedback and ideas- whether this is something anyone would be interested in doing.  I will have hugs, kisses, beer and pressies waiting for any acts that are in- ensure that it is a night(s) not to forget.  Being an Arsenal fan, I am skeptical heading Under the Bridge, yet it is a magical venue- there is no doubt people will get in.  The venue does not have a huge waiting list, so I am hoping my intended dates are free- they are fungible at this point.

Intended Acts:

Forgive me if I have missed out any acts- literally anyone else interested is going to be included.  I know so many U.S. and Canadian acts I want- I have excluded them assuming they will not be able to make it.  If there are any international acts- reading this- that can make it and get to London- hell, yeah!  Here is a rough list of peeps that I hope will throw their support my way:

ISSIMO

Allusondrugs

Gypsyfingers

Bianca Bazin

The Moth Lantern

Broken3ways

Chess

Boom Tales

Eloise Lovell Anderson

Marisa Rodriguez

Jingo

El Born

Jen Armstrong

Emily Kay

Alison Levi

The Bedroom Hour

Los and the Deadlines

The Verideals

Dana McKeon

Kobadelta

Sarah Collins

Calgaris

Lightknife

Ivy and Gold

Braver Than Fiction

Emma Nadine Stevens

The State of Georgia

Universal Thee

Lisa Marini

Sophie Sweet and Her November Criminals

Nina Schofield

Crystal Seagulls

Lydia Baylis

Little Violet

Chenai Zinyuku

Second Hand Poet

CryBabyCry

Play Record Erase

RKZUK

Steve Heron

Annie Drury

Sire

Rosie Bones (and band)

Shiftin’ Shade- with Adam Hume

Gorilla Punch Radio

Bi:Lingual

Little Sparrow

The Indigos

International:

Moons of Jupiter

The Updraft Imperative

Vanessa Soto

The Open Feel

Black Lady Soul

Quinn Archer

Ellene Masri

Little Dove

Surprises and Possibilities:

I know it is going to be a feat getting this all sorted; making sure everything is realistic and workable.  If it CAN happen, I am hoping to throw some surprise guests in there- if social media can spread it far enough, who knows who (the event) will attract?  I am not suggesting Paul McCartney will pop by to end the night with a rousing rendition of Hey Jude- it is not unreasonable to get a few fairly well-known acts to come by.  On my wish list, people like Gaz Coombes, Jessie Ware, Anna Calvi, Ben Howard, Plan B and Kate Tempest lurk; a boy can aim at least?  It is not out of the question- to rope in some big draws.  That will be a tertiary concern, but would certainly add some spice and surprise to a (hopefully wonderful) night.  Another surprise.  IF it can be put together I will put my procrastinated ideals to one side and perform- either solo or part of a band- yup!  To punctuate the music; hopefully something interactive can play- Under the Bridge is known for its interactivity and facilities.  Either a pre-recorded piece/comedy or snippets can play between acts.  This gives chance for my actor friends; me and others to formulate something cool- add another layer to proceedings.  I hope some of my actor, model and director friends can pitch in; do and provide something- make the event a fully-rounded and unforgettable thing.

So…

I have probably left something fundamental out; negated a key chunk and element- I hope not, at least!  I am pretty ambitious and can usually pull things together- I really do hope this is one of them.  The mystique, magic and mayhem come from the musicians- you guys listening and reading.  Initially I am keen to hear thoughts- whether this is something that appeals- and what the general consensus is.  Granted people reply, I will post updated and statuses to Facebook and Twitter- earmarking the next months and outlining the future steps.  Thanks for reading, get thinking and let me know.  If there is a weight of popularity and approval, I can get things moving.

Track Review: Princess Nyah- Champion

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Princess Nyah

 

Champion

 

8.8/10.0

 

 

Champion is available via:

https://soundcloud.com/princessnyah/champion

GENRES:

Dance/Hip-Hop

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In a music scene with few original players and intentions, Princess Nyah is a bold and stunning artist.  Mixing confident and evocative shades of Destiny’s Child with Foxy Brown and FKA twigs- she is an artist that demands respect.  Champion is a stunning cut that hints at a very bright future indeed.

____________________________________________________________________________

MUSIC seems not to get any fairer or easier to…

Deal with.  Just as I type, I am haunted by the weight music (puts on shoulders); how dreams can be crushed and unrealized- how the finest and brightest musical talents struggle to meet their expectations and ambitions.  It is always sad and upsetting when superbly bright and eager musicians decide to call things quits- lambasted by expectation and reality, they hang up their microphone (for good).  I can understand the reason behind these trends: why some musicians feel they cannot keep pushing and striving.  With so many humans being crammed into the world; so many new acts emerging (by the week)- there is precious little room for maneuver.  I love music and all the possibilities it provides- I feel not enough is done to encourage those that deserve kudos and true success.  Give these facts; one wonders how the successful succeed- what makes them stand apart (from the masses of young hopefuls).  Perhaps it is down to some luck and soft positional bargaining- maybe the public are kinder to some musicians.  Whatever the reason behind this phenomenon, I know this much- it isn’t fair.  Not even close.  It is worrying that so many acts are buried and overwhelmed.  I suppose there is nothing much that can be done; when the numbers keep rising- as they do- what is one to do (in order to ensure equality and fair community)?  One of the great things (about music) is the acts that come through and evolve- keep going between releases and see their stock rise.  In addition to having a distinct and popular sound (the successful elite) has a never-say-die attitude- the spirit to keep going through the tough times.  So many great bands are starting to emanate (from new music’s circles)- the solo act always has a tougher time of things.  There are no band members to help shoulder the workload- I know I have covered this subject a number of times- and no way around the realities of the task at hand.  I am filled with admiration for the lone star- those that go out into the music world by themselves.  It takes a hell of a lot of fortitude and guts (to even take the first steps); a bag-load of nerves and determination- a thick skin and a fungible calendar.  My featured artist is one of a few that has managed to keep growing in stature- having faced some (slow early days), she is among one of the most promising Hip-Hop/Dance artists in the U.K.  I have another point to raise, but for now, shall introduce Princess Nyah:

Talented. Ambitious. Driven. These are just some of the words that spring to 
mind when seeking to describe UK musicʼs brightest new star, Princess Nyah.
Whether sheʼs laying down the vocals on a club anthem, rapping over a Hip
Hop beat, being the boss of her own clothing label or cutting deals with
industry execs, Princess Nyah is an artist and a businesswoman who is
destined for big things. After the phenomenal success of her smash hit,
Frontline Nyah is ready to take on the world with her new single ʻCrazyʼ, her
new EP Destroy & Rebuild, and an even greater determination to make her
music dreams a reality.  Nyahʼs desire to perform manifested itself at an early age. After winning a
local dance competition when she was just six years old, Nyahʼs mother
recognised her daughterʼs natural talent and encouraged her to develop it. ʻI
think thatʼs the first time my Mum noticed that I was really into music. After I
won the dance competition, I started going to classes at Sylvia Young Theatre
School on the weekend. At school, I starred in every cabaret there was.ʼ
As Nyah grew older, her passion for music developed alongside her other
great love in life: fashion. ʻIn school, I did art and textiles, because I wanted to
be a fashion designer.ʼ But, eager to pursue a career path that would enable
her to provide financial support her single mother, Nyah put aside her creative
ambitions at college and chose to study media. ʻI wanted to do performing
arts, but my mum didnʼt think Iʼd be able to get a job. So I half-heartedly
started a media course.ʼ But Princess Nyah is not a woman who does ʻhalfhearted
ʼ very well. With characteristic boldness, she soon made the decision
to drop out of college and started working full-time.
Ironically, it was at this point that her creative streak re-emerged and she
began to embrace music once again. With the help of UK producer Def1,
Nyah ventured down the path of songwriting for the first time. ʻDef1 was
rapping and making Hip Hop music and he helped me to get started.ʼ At the
same time, Nyah also rediscovered her natural gift for performing and became
Def1ʼs on-stage hype girl.  Like any true music-lover, Nyahʼs passion was never limited to just one genre.
A life-long fan of Hip Hop, Nyah soon developed a real love for dance and
house music and began taking regular summer holidays to the Mediterranean
party islands. ʻI went to Ayia Napa one year with one of my best friends and I
heard ʻTell Me What It Isʼ by DJ NG ft. Baby Katy (now known to the world as
Katy B). As soon as we got off the plane, we just threw our stuff down and
went to straight to a club and we could just hear this bassline. It was the first
time I heard the song and I fell in love.ʼ  Nyah returned to the UK determined to start making the kind of hypnotic club music that she had danced to in Ayia Napa. ʻWhen I came back, I knew I
wanted to try something different. I was driving home from work one day and I
just started singing this hook in my car. So I called Def1 straight away and
said ʻIʼve got any idea.ʼ   That idea was Frontline, a track that would become one of the biggest club
hits of 2009. A relative novice to the ins and outs of the music industry, Nyah
drew upon her innate business intuition to ensure that the track was played by
the right DJs, in the right clubs, and on the right radio stations. ʻInitially, I burnt
just five CDs. There was a big rave coming up where I knew Marcus Nasty
from Rinse FM would be playing, so I went down there with my CDs and gave
him one. It just had ʻPrincessʼ written on there with my telephone number. The
next day he rang and told me he loved it. Thanks to Marcus, a lot of people
started calling me for the track. He basically pioneered the record through
hammering it in the clubs and on Rinse FM. I ended up recording over 100
specials for DJs on stations across the UK, and it went on the 1Xtra playlist.ʼ
Buoyant from the success of Frontline, Princess Nyah wasted no time in
throwing herself into her music, and released her self-funded debut E.P. Diary
Of A Princess, which included the follow up club smash Hooligans, with
Ghettz and Griminal on the remix, and Butterflies.
Besides working with notable MCs such as Wretch 32 and Wiley, Nyah
worked with one of the UKʼs most prolific producers, Donaeo to help incite the
clubs once again with the remix of Party Hard, another UK club anthem.
Fast forward just a year and Nyah has not only recorded an explosive official
remix of Major Lazerʼs party anthem Pon De Floor but is also adding the final
touches to her first album, the aptly titled Patience and Persistence. Diverse,
vibrant and bursting with energy, the album showcases the best of Princess
Nyahʼs music, as well as herself. ʻI grew up on Hip Hop so thatʼs been a really
strong influence, due to my Jamaican heritage there are lots of dancehall
influences on there, too.ʼ   As well as working with long-time collaborators Ill Blu, Princess Nyah has
teamed up with legendary UK producer DJ Wonder, True Tiger & Terror
Danjah to create an album that ultimately ʻ…reflects my love of house and
dance. I wouldnʼt describe it as dance music per se, itʼs a more a reflection of
my influences, the English club experience, which varies depending on where
you come from.ʼ  At the same time, Nyah has continued to develop her clothing store Binghiʼs
Boutique, as well as launching her label RoyleTease Records, , and
mentoring young women interested in entering the music industry. Itʼs a
lifestyle that many would find exhausting, but Princess Nyah sees it all as part
of the bigger picture. ʻI think that itʼs really important, not just as a female but
as an artist, to understand what it is youʼre doing and your main objective.
You need to be in control of your own direction and destiny, it is very easy to
get lost. I know where Iʼm going, I know where Iʼm headed. Patience and
Persistence are the keys to success.ʼ

Like contemporaries RKZ, Princess Nyah has an entrepreneurial spirit- that restlessness that means she insinuates herself in multiple realms of life; takes the effort to benefit (as many as she can).  She knows how much patience can pay off- what it takes to achieve your goals and ambitions.  Having started from humble backgrounds, the young heroine has come on leaps and bounds- growing and evolving with every new release (and year).  Complete and armed with music that is original and distinct- Princess Nyah is going to be a serious name to watch.  Stations and venues around the capital have attuned themselves to her dizzying arrays and multitude sounds- the sort of music that does not come around that often.  As much as the God Particle could wipe out the universe- according to Professor Stephen Hawking- apathy and ill-education can destroy the music universe.  Too many terrific acts are being marginalised and sublimated- pushed into the mire in order to foster space for undeserving acts.  The anger and depression evoked- from this queasy and proclivious paradigm- is not a detriment to deserving and superb musicians- it is always wonderful to see them succeed.  In a way, any resentment and disgust is transformed into an osmosis of positivity and support- the mind and heart roots for the indefatigable and thirsty hopefuls.  Princess Nyah has gained some huge momentum and fandom- her numbers rise; the amount of (positive feedback) she has garnered- it is the catalyst that sees her galvanise and augment her presence.  A businesswoman; a campaigner and role model- Princess Nyah understands the vitality and importance of control and dreams.  Being a new convert to her music and ideals, I have been back-peddling and catching-up- sifting through her bounteous treasure chest and discovering a wealth of wonder and range.  Champion is a necessary and expected step forward- one of her most assured and stunning cuts, it showcases how naturally the young heroine can up her game and surprise the audience.  With her vast love (of multitudes of different genres) she incorporates these multifarious threads into her latest testament- a stone-cold gospel that is primed to get the summer-fatigued feet rejuvenated and ready.  Too few musicians go out of the way to give the public something different and genuinely fresh- supersedes expectations and traditions to subvert critical predictions.  In a country where the genres of Dance, Hip-Hop and Rap are among the most thriving and startling arenas for creative brilliance- this is where more eyes should be trained and strained (towards).  It is good to distance yourself from the vast swathes of guitar-led music- those bands and acts that tend to tamper with the same three chords.  Embrace the beat and the sound of the concrete jam; twist your head around something elliptical and upbeat- dangerous and low-down.  The equation and maths is quite simple, see: discard electronic twangs; throw in some head-spinning sounds; divide and conquer- multiply the fun and fever- to create a total that cannot be refuted (or improved upon).  Princess Nyah has many years ahead of her- and is not quite at the top of her game- but shows incredible promise and strengths.  Accountable and second-par to nobody, her distinct motifs are rife with original intent, personal input and nuance.   It is hardly a shock (that) Champion has been gathering such impassioned praise and paen- a slice of life that is as affirmative as it is sexy; hard and raw as it is smooth- a stunningly cocktail concoction of sound.  I am wholly confident the young star will be making some serious impressions through the next year.

BigBoys

It is worth looking back to some of Princess Nyah’s earliest works.  London to Ibiza is a rousing and spirited club beat.  Befitting of its name and itinerary, the song does not go to sleep- neither does out heroine.  Constantly moving and upbeat, our star does not settle and rest.  Driving a Bentley and living the life, there is a sense of wealth and glamour- bling and jewels gleam in every note.  With hard edges and a primal tongue, the song swirls to the sounds of ‘90s clubland- there is a great nod to the better days of Dance.  That is not to say London to Ibiza is pale by comparison- it has plenty of modern grit and braggadocio stride.  Our heroine treads the line between boastful and restrained; human and celebrity- the images of evocative sounds melt wonderfully together.  Perhaps suffering from some weak production values, some of the song sounds rushed and too packed- a little too busy to truly capture.  What you do get is a great glimpse into the songbook of the young heroine- the unique sound (that defines her later work).  Crazy showcased itself as a more subtle and modern number.  Slinking and nuanced, the song sees Princess Nyah being driven crazy- by her insatiable and addictive lover.  The beats crackle and bubble; slam and sizzle- they are not as hard and pummeling as in her embryonic moments.  The sound here is of the modern club floors; the sweat and Pop sounds that compel 2014 revelers- it has its heart set in the grime and heat of the late-night avenues.  A bit of a step forward- a leap in the right direction- it is an early sign of Princess Nyah’s sexual prowess and scintillating lust.  Butterflies possessed and showed its romantic side.  Big beats do arrive and patter—they are not as full-on and swelling as expected.  Instead, what you get is something with some R ‘n’ B edges and soothe- temptation and sensuality.  The sounds rolls and trickle; flow with energy and soul.  Sounding quite familiar to (some of London to Ibiza’s layers) our heroine ensures her identity is kept intact- but that quality and ambition grows.  Our heroine’s heart has been sent a-flutter- there is some tease and coquettishness afoot.  Big Boys starts urgently and determined.  Not a hardcore and relentless beat, here there is more melody and punctuated intention.  Before you know it, the mood expands and grows; the intentions get bigger and harder- it is a banging swathe that has serious ambitions.  The vocal is addictive and urgent; impassioned and bold throughout.  The production values are more assured and polished- allowing the song to shine and flourish.  The crispness and clarity means the beats and vocals are up front and clear.  The entire performance is a push forward and development- Princess Nyah comes across as intent and meaningful as possible; nobody can stop her.  Sticky is as evocative and striking as its name; that big club flair and sound reigns- the hard beat and swagger punches forth.  Our heroine is bonded together by love and romance; things are getting real and sticky- there is that mixture of hardship and adulthood.  Maturity and fear mingles with possibility and love; that whirling combinations of emotions.  Princess Nyah does not let things get to her; she remains levelled and in control- determined to get through and make sure things work out.  The lyrical shift- away from sexuality and youthful naivety- has blossomed into something more rounded and deep- a song that has some grown-up centres and a shift in perspectives.  As great as Princess Nyah’s rambunctious and sweaty side is, here we hear something more earnest and real.  Heartbeat is a more recent track; something that has led to Champion’s fighting spirit.  Her best track-to this point- that quality jump continues; the directness and fascination is at its peak.  Fast and rapped vocals mix scattershot speed with dizzying beats and full-bodied electronics.  Bills are piling up; tabloid newspapers come to the fore- our anonymous heroine is seeing her face put out into the world.  Her growing name and stature are being investigated; when she walks the street people stare and recognise her- celebrity culture is investigated.  A more interesting cut than on previous numbers, our heroine provides her most impressive set of lyrics- a scenic and episodic tale that is evocative and detailed.  The emphasis on words and vocals takes control over force and beats- the production values are as crisp and polished than ever before.  The entire track has a gleam and shine; a combinative rawness and street-level dirt- grime and smoke fuses with sweetness and heartache.  The myriad themes and diversions are more melodic and layered; our heroine’s heart keeps beating on- she is going through trials and the results of popularity and acclaim.  From the dizzying and assault of Heartbeat, arrives Champion- a track that returns to earlier agendas.  That raw and hardness has returned- our heroine has her mind set on hip-flexing considerations.  Distorted vocals and sexualised intent comes in; a confident and ego-boosted boy is looked at- the street vibes and edges are sharp and stinging.  The developments are clear to see.  Although strong and assured on her debut seconds; Princess Nyah has evolved and strengthened her sound- become more rounded and confident.  Our heroine’s vocals have become more unique and personal; the star has grown in ability and direction- she is very much her own woman and artist.  From early tracks of love and urgent passion, themes of celebrity and spotlight have been traded with sweetness and romance.  Champion marries early shades and subjects with that new and inspired sense of freedom- some of the strongest lyrics and most unexpected sonic shifts (are to be witnessed here).  This means that future movements and songs are likely to be as assured and stunning- mixing in new aspects and tones.  Having cemented and perfected her streetwise persona; Princess Nyah has plenty of attitude and directness; ample barrage of sensuality and tenderness- such a huge range of possibilities and potentials.  That core and galvanized central identity (is what sticks in the mind).  With every song comes another layer of confidence and surprise; something new and unexpected- plenty for the public to enjoy and appreciate.  With such a strong and authoritative set of songs (to her name), we are likely to see a lot more Princess Nyah material- who knows what will come out way!

When comparing Princess Nyah with other acts, it is pretty hard (to draw others to mind).  Her fusions of Dance, Hip-Hop and Pop have few comparables- the young star does not try to be anyone else.  In terms of her darker tones and mixture of Dance and Hip-Hop elements (recent eye-catcher) FKA twigs can be levied in.  The Mercury Prize-nominated solo artist can be heard in other artists- including Princess Nyah.  Both shares a high priestess personality that brings so much force and conviction to their music- few can ignore their urgency and prowess.  Ethereal sensuality and sheer authority (that both artists possess) mingles with unconventional and drug-like mixes- strange sounds mingle with hard and pummeling moments; softer and layered beats- a cornucopia of sound.  Sometimes fragile; always singular- FKA twigs’ debut is seen as one of the finest creations of this year.  Princess Nyah has her own blend and brand of this consideration- a unique and insatiable cocktail that enriches the ears and takes the breath.  Princess Nyah’s urban beats and street flavours are a hypnotic proposition that seamlessly fuse with sweeter and more melodic Pop strands- an artist that has the innovation, intrigue and potential of FKA twigs.  If the potential Mercury Prize-winning artist has shown anything, it is that expanding the palette; subverting expectations; going beyond what is normal- that is what the audience is looking for.  Two other acts that have made a mark on Princess Nyah are Estelle and Neneh Cherry.  The former is a London superstar that has been influencing waves of Soul, Hip-Hop and Urban artists.  If we look at Estelle’s 2012 album All of Me- it remains one of her strongest and more assured efforts.  Critics noted how the feel-good factor (of the songs) was balanced with powerful mandates and lush love songs- gruff and edgy moments nestled in the mix.  Princess Nyah instills all of her work with contrasting emotions and strong statements; catchy melodies and effervescent grooves.  Our heroine presents smart, evolving and head-smart jams that have plenty of tongue and bite.  What All of Me contained was music with transatlantic appeal; sounds that could appeal to the U.S. (as much as the U.K.)- songs with plenty of potential to win over legions of different listeners and fans- Princess Nyah has that same talent.  Songs like Champion have an American voice; they are not just confined to London clubs and our shores- there is a distinct possibility Princess Nyah could well be a future fixture in the U.S.  Neneh Cherry is an idol (of our heroine’s).  Cherry’s latest album- Blank Project- was lauded for its stark sound and big ideas- bracing and emotionally vulnerable (at every turn); confessional and honest.  The scuzziness and fuzziness- Cherry throws in- is met with startling results; her Beat-style poetry and unconventional melodies are rare indeed- the high assault of rhythms and percussions does most of the talking.  Demons, confrontations and lovelorn confessions have seen Cherry gain new respect and pan- her inimitable soft vocals have broken many new hearts.  Princess Nyah mixes koans and ruminations with rebellious treaties and sharp proclamations.  Princess Nyah shares Cherry’s usage of baleful and agitated words with angst-ridden beats and electronic whirlpools- to elicit the sound of rousing and immerse sounds.  Both put anxiety themes and broken dreams near the front; the songs that look at ill-suited boys and losers- the mixture of subjects and layers is incredible.  Neneh Cherry’s riveting and spellbinding music has had an effect on our young heroine- she has managed to distill (Cherry’s) magic and mystique into her own original and enlivening songs.  The final comparable act- I will draw alongside Princess Nyah- is Foxy Brown.  The New York Rap star may not be the first name one would think of (when listening to our star), yet she has had an impact- the two have some similar shades.  Whilst Foxy Brown has not released material for many years- and has received mixed reviews throughout her career- her album Ill Na Na (released in 1996) remains her high-point.  The sexy and assured deliveries (throughout the album) were granted a distinct edge- thanks to some incredible production values.  The charisma Foxy Brown gave the album; her sleek and contemporary stylings captivated many critics- impressed by her sheer vitality and alluring attraction.  Princess Nyah has more quality in her locker; she instills Foxy Brown’s sprinklings of sass, sexiness and scintillation- whilst injecting the mixture with her own British voice and identity.  There are few artists that come to mind- when listening to Princess Nyah- so it makes it hard to bring names to the party.  If you are a fan of any of the above, you will find some familiar and similar sounds;  recognisable and classic edges- look beyond.  Whilst our heroine has her best days ahead (and still has not really hit her peak) her growing reputation and confidence will see her go far- she is getting stronger with every new release.  In a music industry that is overcrowded and tightly packed, there are few that stand out; try to distinguish themselves apart- Princess Nyah has signs of huge potential.  Able to engage with listeners; throw together multiple genres and avenues- wrap it around her stunning voice- and you get something quite special.  It is a sound that is likely to expand and galvanise over the years- on her current evidence, she is likely to inspire a host of up-and-coming female singers and artists.

Hard, distorted and low-down vocals open up Champion.  Lasting only a few seconds, they give way to some brief and brutal beats- it tees the song up and welcomes in the mood.  Sounding a little like Rockafella Skank, the vocal-beat combination is an urgent and pressing sensation- making sure the audience is suitably knocked back.  Scratched electronics and a female vocal- stuttered and jumping- mixes with the foreground to provide some lightness and sense of relief.  It is an introduction that differs from most Dance/Hip-Hop tracks- there is a definite sense of primacy and mixed emotion; that unexpectedness means the song is an instant catch- before Princess Nyah has stepped up, you are hooked in.  Presenting a vocal that has a Reggae vibe and laid-back chill, our heroine can see the fear “in his eyes”- speaking to an unnamed hero, the words are presented with a sense of detachment and aloofness; there seems to be no sense of accusation, sympathy or support.  Our heroine lets her voice slink, seduce and conspire- she lays in her story and builds up the sense of intrigue and promise.  Juicy hips and lips are wound in; swaggering electronics (and beats) slither forth- Princess Nyah is never seen when she perspires.  Backed by that infectious composition, our heroine sounds confident and wholly in control- her soulful and impassioned delivery lets her words hit the mark.  Aiming at her subject- and the audience in general- her name is (already inside him); she wants her name chanted and screamed- there is a mixture of sexualised allure and musical ambition.  Nobody is immune from the swaggering and tempting rhythms; the sensuality and beauty of the heroine- that dangerous and indelible concoction is a hard potion to refute.  Champion lays out its stall quite early; getting down to business and riding the crest of a wave.  Her mandate is being sent out- she asks why (he) couldn’t hear her coming.  Such is the potency and projection of her music; the boldness and strength of her personality- it is hard to ignore the heroine.  Princess Nyah mingles simplicity alongside complexity- the words have a straightforward and direct approach; the music is more layered and intricate.  The beats and electronics may seem one-dimensional and forcedful, yet have layered and nuanced qualities- you can hear a lot of work has been expended to ensure they hit with as much resonance as is possible.  The listener pictures scenes and images- that endless mix of sweat-inducing sexuality and music directness tangle with one another.  Laying down her factory of majestic sounds, Nyah has a sense of cockiness and stunning self-assuredness.  Her music, beauty and name are those that cannot be overlooked or forgotten- speaking to her boy, the huge trip and stagger is that which aims for the bones and soul.  Presenting the same sort of feminine strength and confidence the likes of Beyoncé would be proud of, our heroine is the champion- she always wins the fight, whether it is in the studio or in love.  As one half of your brain is mesmerised by the tribal beats; the Dance-cum-Hip-Hop electronics; the other half is grabbed by the stylish and even-flow of the delivery- the striking images and confident proclamations.  As the song progresses, there seems to be a battle forming- a showdown and personal game of cat-and-mouse.  Nyah (can hear her subject’s) heart beat; that rushed flow of blood- as the scenes take us to the club floor.  Trying to take on and better our heroine, one false move and that will be that- she is ready to strike.  The double-meaning nature of the song always keeps it compelling and open.  One part of you imagines a seduction and chase; the heroine on top and getting her man- owning the night and calling the shots.  The passion, sweat and allure (of the vocals) puts those thoughts in your brain.  The hardcore and effusive sounds being laid down engage your brain towards themes of music-making; the fact no one will match the potency and quality of Princess Nyah- pretenders and fools step up; only to be swiftly dispatched.  The vocal delivery is one of the most stunning facets of the song.  That delivery- mixing Reggae temperament and coolness with Urban-inspired bruise and force- is a gleaming and shining jewel; a distinct and confident sound that adds meaning and urgency to all of the lyrics.  Few other artists have quite that same style and sound; that ease to cross and splice genres- whilst retaining a very focused and stunning central sound.  Backing vocals- by our heroine- look at “reservoir dogs” and those without love; Nyah has no time for the fakers, posers and players- she has her mind set and knows exactly what she wants.  The champion of the music scene; the fighting spoils of romance; whatever she damn well pleases- try and stop her if you can!  Mixing in sounds of classic-day Beyoncé/Destiny’s Child with modern-day Hip-Hop beats- that blend is sure to draw in a host of new fans.  Having a lot of respect for the best Destiny’s Child had to offer- that confidence, quality and unending sense of pride and focus.  The band did not just focus on aimless Pop and self-absorbed subjects- they spoke to a generation of women and listeners; provided solace, inspiration and motivation.  Although Princes Nyah has a more inward and personal drive (on this track), she has an equally potent voice- Champion is a statement that is intended to inspire as well as catch the imagination.  Among the braggadocio and lustful swagger, there is plenty of thought-provoking lines- images and words listeners can vicariously take on.  The central message and theme is “say my name”- our heroine wants it chanted by the masses; screamed and cried out (as a lover would).  Perhaps my interpretation- about the boudoir and lust may be off the mark- but it is hard to overlook that libidinous and sexualised punch- the stunningly pressing beats do little to quell these thoughts and interpretations.    Towards the closing moments, those initial stuttered vocals blend with staccato beats and punctuated slams- the lead vocal subsides and that central mandate interjects (with new meaning and unending confidence).  When the final moments start to die down, the listener is overawed by the weight of determination and drive- the pace and consistency never drops at all.  Marrying the luster and quality of the Estelles, Beyoncés and Neneh Cherrys of the world- our heroine proves herself to be one of the most vital and engaging voices on the music scene.  Champion shows just what a future she has: it is her strongest cut and could lead to some wonderful possibilities.  Growing with every new release, I would love to hear more Champion-esque jams; those songs that are rife with self-direction and confident.  Nyah has also showed she has a tender side; can master social commentary and wit- her palette is vibrant, diverse and endless.  This means 2015 could well see (this sense of range) parlay into an L.P.- a dizzying cut that could match the like of LP1 (from FKA twigs); bag a Mercury nomination, no less.

Having assessed a fair share of Urban/Hip-Hop artists; Rap stars and Dance idols- they always provide something different and unique.  Indie bands have evolved from Monkeys; devolved into flunkies of the Arctic warriors- the original intentions and unique riffs seem to be left at the door; everybody wants to be Alex Turner.  That is fine if you are Alex Turner; if you aren’t then it sounds desperate and devoid (of uniqueness).  Practically every new Rock or Indie band has too much the whiff of copycat- the boys and girls do not offer anything new or truly distinct.  When you go underground and dig deeper, you can find something wonderfully different and bold.  After reviewing the likes of RKZ, Kate Tempest (a Mercury nominee); The Emsee and the like- for every new experience comes something stunning and compelling.  The greatest potential (for music) lies in Hip-Hop, Rap and Dance endeavours- the artist here seem to be more pioneering and impressive.  Not relying on guitar riffs and woe-is-me tales, they are free to expand their mind and do things differently.  Princess Nyah- having been inspired by some wonderful musicians- caught onto this from a young age.  Her earliest cuts pushed away from convention and expectation- the flavours and sounds caught critics and listeners by surprise.  Having amassed a wealth of social media followers; it is clear her music is making impressions- not hard to see why.  Champion has elements of some of her past work- the stories of personal drive and ambition; the feminine confidence; the ability to own anything she wants.  Inspired by her idols and musical heroines, Nyah has ensured she throws her hat into the ring- marking her out as an empowered and inspirational figure.  Although the strongest songs detach themselves from arenas of the personal and bold- Princess Nyah manages to make (these ideals) sound gripping and original.  Her latest slice is an authoritative and stunning blend of sounds, lyrics and vocals- a song that is as complex as it is simplistic.  Making sure her words can be understood, quoted and chanted- that directness and confidence are easily extrapolated and absorbed.  The music is a more complex and layered beast; the sounds mix vibrant and hardcore with melodic and sweet-natured- ensuring the track stands up to repeated listens.  From the very first moments, you are hooked-in and compelled- few listeners will be immune to the charms and mesmeric grip of Champion.  It is Princess Nyah’s voice that shouts the loudest.  Able to blend concoctions of island vibes; Reggae seduction with Pop-inspired sweetness- it can then transform into an explosion of Urban grit and Hip-Hop trip.  Few singers tend to mutate and stretch their voice; bring in and unite multiple genres- meaning their songs can sound too flat and predictable.  Nyah manages to whip up a frenzy of emotion and styles- a singer that understands the importance of range and projection.  I was seduced by the calmed and laid-back moments; struck by the bold and stabbed drives- the vocals twist and turns like a suburban viper.  All of Champion’s winning fight is achieved by some exceptional production values.  Too many Dance songs tend to be too cluttered and busy; notes and vocals get buried under one another- meaning clarity and decipherability is seriously lacking.  Here, there is none of that occurring- all of the notes and utterances are crisp and polished.  The shining and gleaming production allows Princess Nyah free reign- her effective words are sharp; the vocals clear and direct- nothing gets lost or passed-by.  If you are a fan of Hip-Hop and Dance, you will find a lot to recommend (within Champion) – it is a song that melts the ‘90s legends with modern-day examples.  Pop fans will appreciate the softer and more melodic elements; there are Reggae-flavoured vocal vibes happening- some elements of ‘90s Trip-Hop too.  Rock and Indie acolytes will appreciate the hard and hitting beats; the confident and emphatic deliveries- same goes for lovers of Punk, Grunge and Alternative.  Able to unite and temp followers of multiple genres, it means Princess Nyah will gain some new followers for sure- if she keeps this pace up, awards and acclaim will coming to her.  Perfect for sunny days when you are driving down an open highway; the late-night dancefloors and clubs- Champion is the queen (and king) of every location it dares to adorn.

Around and inside of the masses of same-sounding bands; the heaps of disappointing and generic solo acts- few linger within the gaps.  Over the past few months, I have been fortunate enough to discover some terrific distinct acts- artists that have something different to their sound.  Too many musicians come into music with little regard for distinguishing themselves; overall projections that do not stick in the memory- those that aim high are the ones that should be preserved.  I have seen too many great artists- in music and film- that have abandoned their dreams- found the pressure of expectations too much to bear.  Every heartbreaking story (like this) makes me sad and angry- it is unfair that so many terrific humans are forced to relinquish their focus and highest thought.  Being ‘normal’ and ‘human’ is very boring and irritating- what’s the point of being like everyone else?  Working routine and average jobs; workaday thoughts and hopes- it is a horrible waste of existence I have no intention of becoming embroiled in.   I fear these people- that have to give up on their dreams- may slip into beige trousers; breed and brood- becoming that must horrible and predictable sort of human.  In so much as I try to reassess their mindset- assuage my own guilt and annoyance- I am keen on promoting the most fervent and dedicated musicians.  Prince Nyah has some growing and developing to do- she shows signs that she will be a huge future star.  The way she has grown and developed- between releases- hints at mesmerising and exciting future trajectory-2015 Is sure to see the young talent do big business.  Champion is a big statement from one of the nation’s boldest and most impressive Dance/Hip-Hop artists.  Her vocals and deliveries are fresh and alive; the lyrics and scenes stunning and evocative- her passion and urgency are endlessly gripping.  In the current climate, it is vital- as much as any time- to ensure we give breathing space to the different and promising- eliminate those that aimlessly wander and soullessly chatter.  Princess Nyah is likely to be a festival stalwart of the future; set her sights abroad- rock the likes of the U.S. and Canada.  Having her mind set in multiple arenas; charitable endeavours and business realms- it is clear there are few as ambitious and hard-working as her.  Champion points at a tantalising next few months- maybe an E.P. or album will be on the horizon?  Give her previous output- her E.P.s and singles- it will not be too long until something full and authoritative is dropped- another insight into the mind of the young heroine.  Before I sign off another review, it is worth looking at the solo market- the hardest of all the music arenas.  I get how difficult it is to succeed and grow- most (solo acts) have such big aims, it can be hard to realise them.  It sucks that a lot of terrific artists have to bow out- accept that they may never get to where they want to go.  Music is an impossibly hard industry to crack- like most in the entertainment industry.  Being on your own means having to assimilate huge responsibility and burden- having nobody to help lighten the load.  It is worth sticking around; making plans and taking things as they come- the rewards can be phenomenal.  If I have learnt anything, it is that there are too many fakes and posers (in music); few that offer substance and inspiration- the small percentage that do are deserve to go a long way.  Princess Nyah has an edge over her contemporaries and genre peers- her original blends and concoctions are a refreshing sea change (to the usual miasma and greyness).  Hip-Hop and Dance are styles of music coming back in vogue- starting to see some wonderfully inventive examples come to the fore.  The way (the very finest) mix beats, sounds and emotions is tremendous; that passion and flair can result in big bangs- seismic shifts that stick in the mind and resonate in the heart.  Prince Nyah is the case study of a young woman who has realised her dreams and goals- raised from hard beginnings to achieve something spectacular.  Not some pissing nauseating X-Factor sob story; a whiney cretin wailing about some relative popping their clogs- she is a real artist doing things honestly with no motives of fame and crass fortunes.  That reality and honesty is reflected in her music; the way she evolves and develops her craft- a striking voice that is always growing and developing.  Champion is a stunning slice that should see more fans and ears come in; a tight and memorable number that puts you in a better frame of mind- the public will want to hear more (from her).  Whether this (forthcoming) success translates into an L.P., E.P. or additional single, I am not sure- it is clear 2015 will see a lot of movement and mobility (from Princess Nyah).  With this year starting to fade and die out, we all are looking towards the future- what sort of music will be celebrated and promoted.  If Princess Nyah continues on her assault course, it is likely she will be a big fixture throughout 2015.  If her colleagues and fellow musicians decide to follow this example; aim high and provide (the eager public) with something different and unique, then the overall music landscape will improve and flourish.  Let us hope this sensation and evolution does happen.  Because if it does…

THAT is likely to be a great year indeed.

About the Author:

http://musicmusingsandsuch.wordpress.com/about/

 

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Follow Princess Nyah:

 

Official:

http://www.princessnyah.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/princessnyahofficial

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/princessnyah

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/princessnyah

Last F.M.:

http://www.last.fm/music/Princess+Nyah

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For gig dates visit:

http://www.reverbnation.com/page_object/page_object_bio/artist_1038678

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Princess Nyah’s music available at:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/princess-nyah/id411620181

Princess Nyah - Do What I Want

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Princess Nyah videos can be seen here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKBfEjtsFFBMlM8VlNEyMjQ

E.P. Review: Bear VS. Rhino- Vulture Song

E.P. REVIEW:

Bear VS. Rhino

 

Vulture Song 

9.0/10.0

 

Vulture Song is available via:

http://bearvsrhino.bandcamp.com/

TRACK LISTING:

Beck up, Back up- 8.8/10.0

Milli80seconds:publicist- 9.2

A letter to my brother and sister, fuck him, he doesn’t know what paracetmol is- 9.2

If it looks dead and it smells dead, it’s probably fucking dead- 9.1

Daisychain- 9.0

STANDOUT CUT:

Milli80seconds:publicist

DOWNLOAD:

Milli80seconds:publicist; A letter to my brother and sister, fuck him, he doesn’t know what paracetmol is; If it looks dead and it smells dead, it’s probably fucking dead

RELEASED:

13 July, 2014 

VULTURE SONG WAS WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY:

 Bear VS. Rhino 

BEAR VS. RHINO ARE:

 Carlo

Bass + Vox

Dan

Drums

Markus

Guitar + Vox 

MIXED AND MASTERED BY:

 Daniel Mills

ARTWORK BY:

 NJX

GENRES:

Alternative, Hardcore

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Ensuring London’s music remains some of the U.K.’s finest, Bear VS. Rhino provide a scintillating and memorable E.P.  Vulture Song is an attacking bird of prey- it picks at the bones and hovers with menacing intent.  For those bridling at the thought of ‘just another Hardcore/Alternative band’, have faith- these boys provide plenty of wit, heart and composure.  Capable of exciting future festival stages, they are a band who do not linger in the shadows; they rule in the spotlight

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 HAVING experienced a technological comeback worthy of Lazarus…

I am unexpectedly back reviewing- much sooner than I would have predicted.  This eventuality has trained my mind to the issue of benevolence and kindness.  In the coming weeks I am working with a stunning singer: an artist putting a band together that is a serious name to watch.  Having approached said singer- I will not reveal her name as to jinx any future movements- complimenting her voice and artistry, she approached me with an intriguing possibility: the chance to manage her career and help her with her first steps.  It is always great to see eager young musicians come through; inspired and rallied by support and patronage- reaching out and embracing.  Embarking on new possibilities and excitement, I am looking forward to getting stuck in- putting together plans and ideas for a wonderful new talent.  This may all sound ineloquent and off-topic, but it brings me around to music itself.  The artists that reach out and unite with fans- and potential supporters- are those that will merit the greatest acclaim and long-term respect.  In my capacity as reviewer- at the moment guerilla, part-time reviewer- it is terrific hearing bands and artists come to me- take the chance to write and promote their music.  Not sensing an easy chance for acclaim and ego-boosts, the musicians are keen for their music to be given an in-depth analysis and study.  For me, it provides opportunity to delve into new music and sensational sounds; discover acts that I would otherwise not hear of- help passionate and striking youngsters get their sounds heard by a wider audience.  This passion and reciprocity has inspired the music on show- the very best and most fervent are those that genuinely want to bring in the audience; take the trouble to get ears and eyes focused.  My featured act is throwing their hats into a pretty busy and colourful ring- one populated by a huge amount of competitors and performers.  Bear VS. Rhino promise all the battles, conflict and energy (their moniker suggests).  Critics have been setting their sights on their terrific endeavours; seeking out as much (of their) music as possible- the feedback and praise has been sensational.  Being a fairly new and sapling act, they are not getting too comfortable and assured- their latest E.P. suggests a band that are vital and endlessly passionate- the inventiveness and energy (they whip up) is as urgent and raw as any out there.  Before I introduce the band, it is worth looking back at the band market; looking at the variation and contrasts that are on offer- what the hungry and open-minded listener has to choose from.  Being in a unique position- where I have the chance to help promote and proffer a wonderful new act- I am looking out at the competition; the other newbies making their voices heard.  There are few genres unaccounted for: whatever your tastes, loves and proclivities- there is a musician out there for you.  Variations of shades of themes are recontoured and revised; the core sound tweaked and fiddled with- how much originality and surprise are we being given?  It is an interesting point that has no easy answer- the word ‘original’ is a fungible and ill-defined term.  To be truly original- and retain unimpeachable quality- is next-to-impossible- that does not mean you cannot be distinct and unique.  The bands and acts that stay with me the longest; resonate in the imagination- they are the ones that do not lazily cling onto predictable expectations.  Bear VS. Rhino are a vital group of lads that hit the jugular and provide immense force and style- music that strikes the heart and head.  Before I continue, let me introduced our featured act:

Hello we’re Bear VS Rhino. We’re an alternative hardcore rock band from London, a noisy 3 piece, with Markus and Carlo up front on bass, guitar and vocals, and Daniel behind on drums. We’ve being going for about 18 months, cultivating our own sound, an interesting blend of sound which we love, for fans of Rueben, Deftones, Biffy Clyro, Code Orange Kids, mayors of Miyazaki and the Melvins. But how did all this come to be, I hear you ask.  Bear VS Rhino started after Markus decided he’d had enough of being a solo folk artist. Markus met Nico, Markus and Nico clicked, Nico introduced Carlo, who is awesome, if not a Japanese bass playing lesbian. Nico decided London sucked and moved away to become a farmer. Before Nico left, Bear VS Rhino recorded their first EP, Fake, Fake, Fake, and the single Goddamn Motherfucking Panda Bear and perform their first and last show with Nico at Nambucca on Holloway Road which is now gone.  Bear VS Rhino needed a drummer, so we borrowed Ed for Johnny can’t dance (RIP) and Dom from Boston Departure Lounge ( now back up and running) before Daniel joined and played the Miller in London bridge, the first gig in this current line-up of Bear VS Rhino and now we reside in a shipping container in Aldgate East where we rehearse, write and sweat, mainly sweat. The band are taking their noisy brand of alternative rock metal ruckus around London, playing everywhere from The Finsbury to the 12 bar to the New Cross Inn to O2 Academy, playing their cotton socks off and becoming the best gosh darn band they can. All of which has lead to this, Vulture song, the next EP to be released by Bear VS Rhino. We hope you dig you lucky motherfuckers.”

Not too many acts are presenting Hardcore and Alternative hardness- going out on a limb and trying to take the breath away.  It is a hard mixture to cement; not obviously the most melodic blend of sounds, many can be put off from the start- that is not to say every act (who play this type of music) are divisive.  Bear VS. Rhino may have bonkers and pretty silly song titles, but it is part of their charm and humour- if you want traditional and normal, then you may have to go elsewhere.  They are pretty down-to-earth and likeable- a group that want to connect with as many people as they can.  In an industry where there is too much safety and expected movements, it is nice to hear a band break away from the mould- offer music that is distinctly theirs; hard to compare with anyone else.  Their E.P. Vulture Song is one of the most scintillating and electrifying of the moment; it has resonated hard with reviewers and fans- all entranced by the strange beauty and vitriolic potency.  The next few months will see us end 2014: looks ahead to the next year and what it has in store.  It is hard to predict the bands and acts that will be embraced- there seems to be so much diversity and inconsistency (I am stumped really).  In my opinion, the best music of 2015 will be that which breaks away from the mainstream mediocrity- showcases inventiveness and personality of the highest distinction.  Bear VS. Rhino certainly have their own voice; songs that will stick in the memory- projections that are hard to ignore and shake off.  They are gathering great pace and praise at the moment; their E.P. is garnering some tremendous respect and feedback- it is not hard to see why.  Even if you are not a fan of the Hardcore genre, you will find much to recommend- the boys provide ample passion melody and depth.  Given all of this- and my conversations with the band- I was eager to investigate Vulture Song- see just what the intrepid.  The results are certainly impressive; the songs sit inside your brain and cling on- they are a young act that has serious intentions indeed.

It is worth looking back at Bear VS. Rhino’s early movements.  Their E.P. Fake Fake Fake dropped in May 2013- the first chance for the public to witness the band’s studio cuts.  More restrained and less ambitious than current works, they marked impressive beginning.  Useless possesses soft beginnings; it is quite funky and seductive.  The vocal performance is louche and sexualized- mixing in some Jim Morrison mixed with Ian Drury.  As the composition builds and builds (bit by bit), the track gains momentum and energy- the percussion is heavy and rumbling.   Electric scream comes in (and starts to become more demented).  The song is a bit of a tease in that it never explodes or catches fire- the lines and elements are all kept in check.  The track remains a concrete and gripping number that showcases a unique and distinct band.  Linseed Oil is a smooth and gentle thing.  Distinct accents and evocative lyrics stand the track to attention.  With the bass coming in to steal some of the honours, the song has humour and cutting-edge remarks.  Matching slurred and masculine vocals into their palette, the boys present another take on their distinct artistry.  GDMF Panda Bear came along in August 2013- it saw the boys notch up the volume and crank up the offensive.  Whereas their debut E.P. seems a little safe; not willing to let the lungs reach out and rapture- here there was development for sure.  Harder and more biting; the necessary edge and grit is all present.  Compositional tones are more Punk-edged and ecstatic; the London trio started to make a real mark.  I would say their current offerings are their strongest yet.  While their early material has promise and potential, their full Hardcore potential was not realised- on a few numbers they sounded too limited and honed-in.  Although Vulture Song has some berserk and peculiar moments, it is honed and focused- the lads have ensured every song remains tight and sensible.  Whereas a lot of Hardcore bands are as predictable and ambitious as crap, Bear VS. Rhino inject something unique into the genre- it is much-needed given the slew of banal and pointless examples.  Not all of their moments are feral and carnivorous- in fact they present more passion and composure (into the E.P.) than anything else.  The band has not compromised any of their ethics and reputations- they have simply improved their music and developed with necessary (and pleasing) aplomb.  Given their rate of growth and mutation, it is clear they will be making some serious moves in the future.  Vulture Song is a hugely impressive work- yet I feel Bear VS. Rhino have not hit their peak yet.  Among the stunning mandates are some rough edges and loose moments- things that can be tightened and improved on their next release.  Saying that, they do not need be to tell them how good they are- the wave of adulation that has come in (for Vulture Song) has been staggering.  There is plenty in their armoury to set them aside from their peers- ensure that few listeners will ignore their freshest movements.  With elements and hints of their heroes- including Biffy Clyro- the London boys are on a charge- determined to nestle with the finest musicians of 2015.  It is clear the trio have a very distinct way of working; a sound and sense of direction that incorporates a number of different bands- very much based around their ideals and styles.  It will be great to see what Bear VS. Rhino have to offer in the coming year- whether they keep improving the quality; stick with the sounds of Vulture Song; ramp up the volume and intensity even further.  Who knows, hey?  It is great to hear them sound more alive and vital (than their tender days); the confidence has increased and multiplied- the performances are tighter and more fascinating; layered and nuanced.

When it comes to finding like-minded acts- that have inspired Bear VS. Rhino- there are a few that come to mind.  Rueben are a band that has compelled the London trio.  In Nothing We Trust (is the best album comparison). The band has not garnered a lot of critical praise and reviews- their early work was largely overlooked by larger publications.  Their 2007 work was seen as a damning rebuke- a glorious swansong.  The music- on the album- broke new ground for the band; they ensure song structure and proficiency is as high as possible- considerations that were missed from their early work.  Whilst sapling work stuck with rigid formats and simplistic arrangements, it was on In Nothing We Trust the band started to experiment and expand- lengthening tracks and becoming more musically ambitious.  The trademark aggressive remained intact and firm; the band augmented the force and rabble with some excellent and captivating vocal harmonies- offering something softer and more melodic.  Anger and loss sat with themes of sadness and dislocation- quite new ground for Rueben.  Bear VS. Rhino instill these contradictions and qualities into their music- they have managed to ensure Vulture Song is rife with emotional balance and surprises; plenty of structure and surprise- that sense of engagement and drama.  In Nothing We Trust saw lyrically maturity come into effect: the band sounded more responsible and grown up; aware of the need to step up their game- whilst keeping their solid and pulverising foundations complete.  Moving on from their Hardcore one-dimensional releases of old, the U.K. kings provided something more experimental and refreshing- it was an album critics could not really overlook.  Each band member came into their own- the percussion and bass really stood out.  Fuzzy and compelling bass notes were only matched by primal and ecstatic drumming- the band never sounded tighter or more determined.  Like the lads of Rueben, our boys have some similar qualities.  The lyrics (from both bands) ae tongue-in-cheek and humorous; dealing with drunken nights and youthful endeavours.  The words hit the mark and do not deviate; they are to-the-point and direct- lodging in your mind.  Backed by vocal screams- that are enlivening and hugely atmospheric- full-bodied during attacking moments; quiet and reserved during more emotional codas.  Deftones are a band that has propelled Bear VS. Rhino- and with good reason.  The first Deftones album I will introduce- as a comparable piece- is Around the Fur.  That album was lauded for its incredible drive and hardened assaults.  Rawer and more demented (than their debut), the album saw insatiable drum work marry with metallic guitars.  It was a sophomore album that suggested the band has phenomenal potential- even if they lacked necessary hooks and a fully-fledged sound.  The music and lyrics- from that album- looked and inner depression and personal doubts.  Quite heavy and hard themes were explored; the performances were raw and upfront- that redemptive spirit always managed to break through.  Following on from their triumphant effort, The Deftones developed and galvanised- their self-titled album marks one of their career high-points.  The 2003 album saw the boys become more experimental and abstract.  The lyrics were particularly abstract and unusual; the musicianship of the highest order- few were expecting such a stunning album.  The heaviness was all back and (stronger than ever)- Metal was flagging in this period; the band ensured their new material was original and groundbreaking.  Their self-titled cut opened with huge strikes and a determined sense of purpose- that endless grip and heaviness was hard to ignore.  Over the course of tracks the album built in more depth and diversity- coming across as more fully-rounded (than earlier cuts).  The American Alt.-Rock outfit is still around and inspiring young bands- it is their sheer passion and unparalleled destruction that excited and invigorates new musicians.  Bear VS. Rhino have been captured by this; their music ties in those mixtures of quiet and loud; the music they pen has that same stylistic flair and sound- you can definitely hear embers of the U.S. legends.  Biffy Clyro are a band that have intrigued and inspired Bear VS. Rhino.  If comparing a couple (of Biffy’s albums) to our boys, Only Revolutions is the first (that comes to mind).  That album signaled a high-point for the Scottish band- one of their late-career gems.  Commercial accessibility mingled with earnestness and huge anthemics- the band upped their game and drew in a lot of new fans.  Primed for radio- but possessed of seriousness- the band turned in a massive and bold L.P.  Sinister Biffy’ threw orchestral grandeur with hard screams and unabated noise- there was not a huge amount of cohesiveness.  Tracks did not always join together well; there was plenty of sloppiness- it did not seem to put off critics and fans.  The wide net was cast to appeal to populist demands; the band mixed ebb-and-flow with balls-to-the-wall bombast- a lot of reviewers praised the album as an all-out classic.  The short and concise songs looked at progressive elements and developments- the boys threw in catchy hooks and plenty of memorable tunes.  Ear-pleasing choruses, juddering guitars and scintillating guitars sat with sharp dynamics and plenty of risk- resulting in an album that remains their finest.  Opposites was released last year- the last Biffy Clyro album- and was seen as a natural development from Only Revolutions.  Serenity and huge intentions sat with one another; jagged edges and beautiful luster- the album shifted styles and sensations (as it progressed).  Expansive and mood-twisting it remains a hugely impressive work- something that has pushed Bear VS. Rhino.  Our boys have a concision and tightness; they match moods and themes- shifting between primal rushes to more composed introspections.  Opposites saw Metal-infused arrangements take in elements of ‘70s masters; dichotomous moments mixed with anthemic staggers- the boys sparred complex hooks with intricate melodies.  Our London trio have that sense of adventurousness and ambitions; they take in the finest elements of Biffy- expanding it in another direction; something more byzantine, hard and unique.  Code Orange Kids have made a mark on the Bear’ boys.  The U.S. Metalcore newbies made huge strides with their debut album- Love Is Love/Return to Dust.  The thunderous Hardcore insanity of the album had little chance for softness and light- yet some of its final moments resonated in the mind.  Calm/Breathe was a relaxed and soothing diamond that marked a great relief and necessity- it was the rest bite and light after primal darkness.  Tar-thick rebellious guitars screamed macho ambitions- on their latest album the American kids are trying to sound all grown up.  Colourful shades and variegated diversions come out (through I Am King); there was a sense of difference and ambition.  In a scene and genre that is ruled by convention and predictability, Code Orange (as they were renamed) went beyond the envelope- did something different and introduced new sounds and maneuvers.  Bear VS. Rhino instill the same sort of cave-dwelling tribal bursts; the neophyte raggedness and lust- unbearable tension and pressure.  At the end of their E.P., you get the same reaction (you do when listening to Agent Orange)- the breath has been clean taken away.  Mayors of Miyazaki and The Melvins are acts that have had an impression on Bear VS. Rhino.  The former’s vital blends of Math-Rock and Hardcore and melodic.  The male-female vocals and combinations have airs of Blood Red Shoes- indeed the London three-piece have remarkable similarities with Bear’.  Openness and honesty rules the sounds (of Mayors’); they ensure every guitar line shimmers and captivates- those incredible vocal performances stick in the imagination.  The Melvins’ have had a long and illustrious career- their vital sounds have helped to mold the London trio.  The bizarre and wonderful song titles (from The Melvins)- Sesame Street Meat and Exact Paperbacks- were only topped by the exhilarating and scintillating music.  Herky-jerky flails and epic fun (go into The Melvins’ best moments)- the band are synonymous with head-pounding and bone-shifting smashes.  Our Bear VS. Rhino trio have that same flair- for odd riffs and wonderful energy- and offer their own take.  It is the wonderfully odd/stupid song titles- The Melvins have made an art form out of- that our London boys share- they seem constitutionally incapable of offering a title with personal pronouns and subtlety.  Perhaps that stands the band aside; means they are more intriguing and interesting- it certainly does not make them boring.  All of these bands have played their part; molded the lads- you will find a little of each (with Vulture Song).  For the best results; the most complete and reliable overview- take other acts from your mind; assess the band on their own merits and personalities.  In spite of my reflexive pronoun usage- tut, tut- influence and inspiration is important- too many critics focus heavily on it.  Our trio is one of the most innovative and original around- meaning they cannot easily be compared with other artists.

Beck up, Back Up kicks off Vulture Song.  A combination of swaggering riff and punchy percussive beat swing the song in; it has a cool and leather-clad introduction.  Propelled by a louche and bristling start, the issues of vegetarianism and murder are brought in- the vocal presses and scrambles among the notes.  When the chorus comes into effect- first time- there is a “line in the sand”- our hero seems at his angriest and most fueled.  While quite a few of the choruses words lack complete decipherability and clarity- making it hard to extrapolate and understand lyrics- the chorus has more intelligibility.  Emphasis is on the mood and vocals; the combinations between the band members- that crunching and beast-like build-up.  This song- and these words- are “all about you”- a subject that is under close scrutiny; being given a good going-over.  There is a looseness and sense of rambunctiousness that puts me in mind of The Libertines- the same sort of sound and delivery that appeared on Up the Bracket.  In the same way Pete Doherty perfected that mix of drawl and sharpness, our hero lets his voice weave and stagger- idiosyncrasies and tics are added in to give the performance a sense of flair and individuality.  The contrast you get- between the chorus and verse- is quite stark.  The chorus is a darker rumble; a beastly growl that mixes concrete with chanted vocals- emphasizing the sense of danger and judgment.  The percussion and guitars spar and duel; caught in a mesh of heated emotions- they tangle and fight for glory.  Temporised and restrained- after a few seconds- the composition changes pace once more.  Bored thoughts, elongated vocals and “bubblegum” are levelled in and repeated- you can hear our frontman is building up for another assault.  Letting the vocal reach fever-pitch it screams and stretches- eliciting the most wracked moments so far.  The final moments of the song are a concoction of stumbling and rifled beats; driving and determined bass- backed with strong-armed guitar.  With a final throw of the dice, the band calm things down- ensures the closing notes are softer and calmed.  Wrapping things up elegantly and beautifully, Bear VS. Rhino ensure they kick off the E.P. with a triumphant cut.  Milli80seconds:publicist is one of the E.P.’s most bizarre and odd song titles- among several.  Not expecting what is to come, it is the bass which plucks and pushes from the front.  Mood and slow build lead the song into the spotlight.  You imagine scenes of Westerns or maybe a tense Indie flick- with the hero loading his gun and walking into the sun.  Rather than go for ballistic and instant strike, the band emphasise melody and emotion- allowing you to picture scenes and possibilities.  Sounding like a cross between Radiohead (Amnesiac-period) and Leonard Cohen, the boys start the offensive.  When our hero steps to the microphone, his voice is mixes between a controlled and low-down groan- before exploding into a feral and insane bellow.  Again, clarity is an issue for the track- it is hard to pick up a lot of the words and sentences.  As with the opening number, there is more attention to the sound and pace- that mixture of threads and detours.  The vocals swing between polarized emotions and band unity- backing vocals are introduced to add weight and tension.  Hard truths are investigated; our hero seems like he has a burden (on his mind)- paranoia and unease linger in the song.  Casting his eye to a particular subject, it seems (they) are on the brink and edge.  With vocals looking at “righteousness”; tripping and shouting; straight and loose- our man ensures his tones keep things fascinating and unpredictable.  Whilst the song’s subject falls to their knees blinded, the band increase the pace and volume.  The compositional elements are not as attacking and bellicose (as one would imagine); meaning you are given greater opportunity to decipher the lyrics; appreciate the core performance and hear the band in a new light- the track has a Punk-inspired sound.  Scratchy and frantic guitar strings give way to bouncing and taut bass- that blend of rushing and funk-laden is a heady brew.  Stepping into more restrained territory, our hero lets his voice skip and dance- it jumps and hops with energy and soul.  With (the song’s subject) “obscuring the view”, the delivery and pace puts me in mind of Once in a Lifetime (Talking Heads)- you expect to hear David Byrne pop up any minute.  Towards the final seconds, the boys do not let the mood and intrigue slip- that sense of grip and fascination remains until the very end.  After Vulture Song’s finest cut, the lads need to keep the grip tight- A letter to my brother and sister, fuck him, he doesn’t know what paracetmol is possesses one of the most unwieldy and long titles ever.  Capturing you with its oddities and byzantine edges, it sounds almost like a lyric- the remnants of a verse or chorus.  Preparing your mind for something equally strange, the band go in fighting- the tense and focused guitar introduction stands you to attention.  Not hard and violent, it has a superb riff; a danceable and catchy sound.  The wolves are after (the little girl); circling her and coming close- the world is a big and scary place.  Getting things off to the races, the pace and drive is infectious- the boys unite instantly.  Tight and focused, the compositional coda is a throws in so many colours and twists- going from straight and direct; it weaves and snakes its pace without warning.  Catchy, uptight and graceful, the guitar notes get inside your head; the bass burrows in and keeps things level- the percussion splatters, smatters and punches forth.  The vocal performance has that inimitable quality- that drunken swagger the masculine growls; that sense of authority.  Coming off like an Ian Drury-cum-Tom Waits performance, the berserk and repeated mingle.  With walls closing in and coming into the fray, our hero lets his voice rap and spit; his repeated codas hit the mark- that infectious blend of Punk, Rap and Hardcore flourishes and explodes.  Without any warning shots, the vocal scratches and yelps; feasts and leaps- the shift is quite a dramatic one.  The band is up to the task as the overall sound tightens and becomes more dangerous.  Angular guitars mutate into assault weapons; the percussion is more defined and rampant; the bass sharpens its teeth marvelously.  Elements of groups like Sonic Youth appear briefly; the machine wreckage and breakdown is a sound that lingers and grows- ensuring the song builds in stature and meaning.  Keeping the listener, the boys ensure they do not miss a beat or step- notching up the offensive with borderline-arrogance.  The song’s subject is being given a talking-to; eviscerated and smacked-down- our hero’s voice is as urgent and insistent (than it has ever been).  Completing a glorious one-two, the Bear’ lads take the E.P. past the half-way mark- and leave the listener salivated and hooked.  If you thought the previous song has an odd title, then If it looks dead and it smells dead, it’s probably fucking dead is not far behind.  Making you smile- before a single note is laid-in- we have a short and violent burst.  The most overt Hardcore song on the set, it treads into Thrash-Metal territory- the vocal is as growled, graveled and animalistic as any I have heard.  Matching the seriousness and disturbed possibilities (of the title), you would not expect a Jazz-Rock swooner- the boys are in no mood for a vanilla latte (with soya milk and a dash of cinnamon).  The vocal attacks are not a consistent and merciless ting- they are uttered in short bursts; compositional punctuation then comes through.  Decipherability- once more- is a bit of an issue; hardly shocking given the sheer force and satanic rituals of the vocal.  I’m guessing scenes of hand-holding and carpet shopping are not being presented- you imagine something more morbid and interesting is afoot.  When the composition does take charge it sets up our frontman- who allows his voice to return to the land of the living; lighten slightly and regress to its previous state.  Presenting as much diversity, shift and change- as in any number- the band keep you on the edge of your seat- they pack a hell of a lot of rollercoaster into the ride.  Grotesque and macabre visions lead into wretched and rapturous vocals- perhaps not the song I would choose to have at my wedding.  Whilst a lot of Hardcore bands offer nothing but demented and blood-curdling screams, Bear VS. Rhino go deeper- making sure they provide melody, contrast and lyrical intrigue.  Not contented to slash your throat with a razor blade, the boys provide ample musicianship and depth- ensuring the song appeals to multiple listeners.  Perfect for stress-ridden times, the track is the perfect thing to thrash to- the mosh pit anthem that gets you moving and motivated.  Containing a strangely catchy and appealing chorus, the song almost makes you sing-along- how many Hardcore songs/bands do that so easily?  The sound of the rhino, bear and vulture feasting on one another, it is a trippy, intoxicating and drugged smoke that seeps into your brain- a lightning storm of biblical proportions.  Giving me plenty of inspiration for my own music, the trio has crafted a concise and memorable slam- a song that lasts a little over two minutes.  Taking Vulture Song to its conclusion- Daisychain has more positive and upbeat potential.  The grumbling and swaggering opening notes take your mind out of fields and arable scenes- we are back in the avenues of the violent and direct.  Lo-fi and raw, the song has plenty of menace and meat.  The percussion is particularly impressive- avalanching and rollicking with determination and grit.  Weaving and spiraling guitars blend with pulsing and rhythmic bass- the combination gives flair and potency to proceedings.  Our hero wants vengeance and blood- his voice is sharp and out for justice.  Propelled by his comrades, he is casting accusation and vitriol at a particular heroine- a “bitch” that seems to have caused a lot of strife and pain.  Whilst not as fascinating and developed as previous numbers, Daisychain acts as a marvelous and appropriate swansong- a track that leaves you wanting more.  Containing one of the most authoritative and urgent deliveries; our hero is at his most pissed-off and annoyed- in no mood to talk things through.  The final seconds (of the song) are as insistent and hypnotic as the first- meaning you are left intrigued and hooked.  The entire E.P. packs so much in; covers a lot of ground- surprises and inspires.  While some moments lack necessary intelligibility and focus, they are minor detractions- the abiding sensations is one of pleasant surprise.  That is not a bad thing: the boys have managed to supersede and subvert expectation- craft an E.P. that delivers at every turn; will appeal to masses of different music lovers.

It is great bands like Bear VS. Rhino exist.  Having progressed since their debut days, the trio has laid down a huge statement of intent- an E.P. that offers so much wealth and diversity.  If you read the term ‘Hardcore’- you may balk and assume the music will be awful.  It is true- a lot of the genre’s players- are sheer awfulness; the type that can make the ears bleed- that is not the case with our heroes.  Perhaps not quite at their very peak, Vulture Song is a packed, promising and passionate quintet of songs- nothing outstays its welcome; there are myriad incredible moments.  If you are captured by the imagination and the originality of the song titles- or are somewhat amused by their length and oddity- that may define your listening experience- the boys present wit, humour, directness and hard-hitting honesty.  There is profanity and accusation; enough aim and missile hit- nestling within genuine emotion and some reflectiveness.  I am not sure what the next year (will hold for the boys): whether they choose to release an E.P.; maybe put out a full-length album- may just present a couple of singles instead.  Their confidence and sense of togetherness has never been stronger- they are as assured and tight as they have ever been.  This passion and urgency means all of their tracks- on Vulture Song- will appear to multitudes of listeners- the tracks do not simply linger and shuffle awkwardly.  Classic albums- that have been celebrated as masterpieces- have never really hit me.  Having been listening (again) to Oasis’ album Definitely Maybe- I am finding myself bemused by its ‘legendary’ status.  Critics and fans have salivated over the L.P. (for twenty years now)- proclaiming it one of music’s finest albums.  Whilst I would be foolish to overlook the genius and staggering anthemic lift of Live Forever- none (of the album’s tracks) come close.  Laziness, boredom, uninspired lyrics are matched with samey compositions and whining vocals.  Plagiarism is another issue with Definitely Maybe- T-Rex are suitably ripped-off during Cigarettes and Alcohol- Noel Gallagher didn’t even bother to disguise his theft of Get It On (Bang a Gong).  In addition, The Beatles are stolen from- Noel Gallagher imagining himself as a reincarnated John Lennon figure- there is little original talent or ideas.  Critics are too eager to overblow and overhype mediocre and undeserving albums; hold aloft some truly terrible records- too many great bands and artists get overlooked.  Music in 2014 still suffers plagiaristic intentions and overinflated egos- too few musicians have a genuine uniqueness; few still have any sense of modesty and focus.  I am not suggesting we are in a desperate state- it is the fact music has suffered a dip in quality.  Beleaguered new acts are falling by the wayside; established artists are finding it hard to remain consistent- discovering something different and promising can be a very hard task.  Bear VS. Rhino have entered a genre that is defined by its limitations and weaknesses- adding something exciting and superb (to Hardcore’s annals).  The bearded infantry is one of the most vibrant and focused acts around.  The vocal work throughout Vulture Song is inspired and varied.  Our hero’s voice can go from a settled and contented croon to a full-bloodied scream- the sound of a fox roaming and screeching in the night’s cold climate.  Virile and staggering; composed and romantic- few other singers have such an immense amount of ammunition.  It is not just the range (of the vocal) that impresses- the way the voice mutates and shifts can be instantaneous and unpredictable.  Possessed of its own particular sound- few singers can claim to be original and incomparable- the listener is not reminded of other vocalists- giving them the chance to appreciate an incredible and honest talent.  The guitar work is consistently engaging and scintillating- at its most raptured it is an unabated weapon of destruction.  Nuanced and melodic (the one moment); riff-heavy and juddering the next- it then climbs and evolves into a blood-baying monster.  Most bands do not let their bass work shine and stand out- in fact, few acts are notable for their bass innovation and experimentation.  In Bear VS. Rhino, they have a superbly confident and invigorating player- someone with his own personality and way of working.  Capable of stealing focus, the bass strings have plenty of melody and passion, rhythm and fluidity- able to punch and swagger with fighting spoil.  Combining a range of sensations and personality traits, the bass acts as a strong pair of lungs- something about to shout support and make is voice known.  Not capable of fading into the background it drives the songs; keeps the heartbeat strong and alive- ensures there is plenty of contours and layers.  Percussion work manages to summon up a hell of a riot.  When more calmed and fastidious, the drum is able to intrigue and grip; when rising and building it is teasing and promising- when it explodes and erupts, few are immune from its stunning graces.  Primal and fierce; defined and structured- Bear’s percussion king is one of the most adept and mobile artists around; a stick smasher with a big future.  When the band unite and combine, they are at their strongest- the passion and understanding they share ensures all of their songs resonate and effect.  Constantly tight performances elevate the witty, angered and detailed songs- ensure those oblique song titles are not in-jokes, juvenile thoughts and angst-laden half-thoughts.  Each track is sharp and direct; never lingering and bloated- the music is sharp and chiseled.  The production values combine polish with raw meat- the songs sound live and first-hand whilst being clearly audible and defined.  No notes and vocals are buried deep or overly-gleaming- the mixture is perfect.  The boys have no intention of slowing or restricting themselves- they will be making music for many years to come.  With music capable of being festival favourites- not niche Metal festivals- the lads could be mixing it up with some modern-day legends (before too long).  Building and honing their sound- with each new release- they are on an upward trajectory- a projectile that is going to see them go from strength-to-strength.

The next few weeks will see me embark upon managerial preparations; plotting and planning; music video imagining- a whole host of different musical possibilities.  Reviewing bands and acts less frequently than normal- about one new artist a week- it has been good to step back a bit- my daily life is not so busy and rushed; I am able to step back and fully appreciate music.  One of the great things about new music- and my reviewing life- is the sheer range of sounds around.  Different acts have different personalities; no two are exactly the same- there is always something a little unique and individual.  Bear VS. Rhino have the band make-up and E.P. designs of the likes of Them Crooked Vultures and Queens of the Stone Age- in addition to some Grunge legends of the ‘80s and ‘90s.  In a way the boys share similar D.N.A.- they have the same gutsy and rampant primacy and overt passion.  Whereas the likes of Homme and Cobain have their own distinct styles- they share hypnotic personalities and potent songwriting.  Our heroes are making impressive strides; attempting to put their stamp on the music world. Perhaps their song titles are a bit long-winded and byzantine- that may put off some listeners.  It is clear their projections and force could knock the enamel from teeth- there is ample melody and restraint to be found.  It is never a great idea to judge any act on surface values and appearances- you have to investigate the music and draw conclusions from that.  Vulture Song is testament to the vibrant ambition and determination of our young stars- the ammunition and potential they have at their disposal. With a tongue and vocabulary- your mother might not approve of- the rambunctious and ragged London boys have a swaggering sense of pride and longing.  You can hear they want to achieve big things; their music speaks volumes- their sounds are direct and utterly gripping.  In a city that is growing in reputation; providing as much diversity and fascination as (any other location); it is not shocking to see another tremendous band come through- I am sure we will hear a lot more from the Bear VS. Rhino boys.  If we did pit these two terrifying and unsociable beats into battle, I am not sure which one would win- probably the Rhino by a shade- but there would be bloodshed and horror.  The noise, pandemonium and carnage would be eye-watering and memorable- that is the kind of festival and riot the London trio offer up.  Vulture Song has oblique and striking titles; plenty of oomph, panache and ruckus- a selection of songs that lodge inside your brain (and settle in for a long residency).  The music world needs more noise, pummel and fight- although not too much- so it is great to hear from the Bear’ lads.  Whatever the future holds for them, they are sure to tackle it with an unabashed and hardcore bite- I am sure the lads will be festival favourites in years to come.  Their rousing and primeval myriad concoctions are the sort to dispel fatigue and dishevelment- they can blow the cobwebs from a cloudy and confused mind.  The sheer infectiousness and memorability (of the music) is what lingers and compels- they are the sort of tracks that cannot be digested after a single listen.  This instance sense of nuance will stand the group in good stead- future cuts are likely to be just as addictive and layered.  I will leave with a thought about bands in general- what makes them tick; who we should be supporting.  I am sick and tired of hearing swathes of bands that seem naturally born to score teen dramas- the weepy and saccharine acoustic guitar-wielders that put the ‘I’ in ‘I’m tempted to commit suicide’- that kind of wainscot-rotting crap we can all do without.  I guess every musical animal has a place on the ark- bizarre and un-temporised market forces will always give certain acts a place and relevance.  I am a man and fan of heavier music; that which reaches down the trousers and has a good rummage- there are limits that must be put in place.  If the band- that offers this type of music- is vague and aimless- they can jog on.  Similarly, we do not need hordes of these groups coming through- at times we need some control, quiet and difference.  Bear VS. Rhino look to be making- their best moves- at just about the right times- laying down their philosophies at a juncture where there is a dip in overall quality.  New music is bubbling away nicely; throwing up plenty of distinction and range- the mainstream has let the hairline recede and the waistline expand.  For that reason, many ears and eyes are casting their attentions to newborn flavours- seeking out the best new music is popping out.  If you like your sounds and stylings a little bit on the rampant side, then check out Bear VS. Rhino.  If you like music that provides compendiums of lust, grace, emotion, humour and quality- attune yourself to the wealth of the London lads.  As much as anything, the trio provides a necessary escape through the Looking Glass- a way down a rabbit hole of unending fascination and multifarious trips.  You might find it- their music- a little bit off the realms of normality; a little disjointed and angered- you cannot deny the sheet vitality and purposefulness coming through.  Vulture Song is a brave and bold missive from one of London’s most compelling new bands.  In a landscape where the likes of Allusondrugs are making some great strides- their motifs of Nirvana-cum-Pearl Jam are exhilarating- it seems Bear VS. Rhino have definite leverage- they could well scoop the rusty crowns of Biffy Clyro.  With so many formerly- reputable bands starting to wane and fatigue, we need some new kings and queens- fresh blood to come along and kick the dust away.  A lot of Vulture Song was recorded in a basement- of a local wine and spirits gaff- and has that natural and sparse quality.  Back to basics; to the bone- the boys have that youthful rebellion comes out.  This passionate and unusual paradigm resulted in the lads recording vocals in a shipping container (in Aldgate, no less)!  This freewheelin’ and D.I.Y. musical approach has created a golden nugget- an E.P. that is clear to send intent shockwaves through music.  As I type, I am vibrating, singing (along in unison to) and swaggering to Supergrass- Going Out to be precise- completely intoxicated by its merriment, anthemic joys and sheer beauty- songs (and bands like this) come along seldom.  Bear VS. Bear may have transposed and reinterpreted Supergrass’ sense of bonhomie and vitality- the levels of intention and force are comparable- that unending electioneering and sense of campaign.  Give our London boys a trial; extend your thoughts and considerations to them- allow their brand of brilliance do its job.  When it all comes down to it…

 

BEING boring is a fucking awful fate.

 

About the Author:

http://musicmusingsandsuch.wordpress.com/about/

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Album Review: Jingo- The Art of Loving

ALBUM REVIEW:

Jingo

The Art of Loving

9.7/10.0

The Art of Loving is available from 1st September. Pre-order the album at:

https://jingomusic.bandcamp.com/

TRACKLISTING:
Black Flowers- 9.6/10
Sky Punch- 9.7
When You Want Me- 9.7
Belong To You- 9.6
The Art of Loving- 9.7
Home- 9.5
Blue Wail- 9.6
Before You Were Born- 9.6
Jacyln- 9.9
Same Without You- 9.8
IQ84- 9.5
Don’t Call It Love- 9.8

STANDOUT CUT:
Jacyln

DOWNLOAD:
When You Want Me, The Art of Loving, Jacyln, Same Without You, Don’t Call It Love

RELEASED:
1st September, 2014

ALL SONGS WRITTEN AND PERFORMED BY:
Jack Buckett, Katie Buckett , Joe Reeves and Chris Smith

ADDITIONAL INSTRUMENTATION AND VIBES:
Sahil ‘Saladin Hacksaw’ Batra

RECORDED AT:
Strongroom Studios and Snowman Studios, London UK

MIXED BY:
Jingo and Ganesh Singaram

MASTERED AT:
Soup Studios

ARTWORK BY:
Katie Buckett

GENRES:
Alternative-Rock
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Having reviewed Jingo on several occasions, I was excited to hear what The Art of Loving would offer. Fascinating stories, heady vocals and insatiable compositions hypnotise with ease. With such a huge amount of range, wonder and genre-splicing; the incredible quartet have unveiled one of 2014’s finest albums- few can deny its incredible spell

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AS I arrive at my final trio of reviews…

(before becoming a functional member of society), it is with a slightly heavy heart. It is great to discover new bands and promote terrific work- experience something first-hand (that few others will). While I ponder the future and the balance of work, I return to survey a band that have been with me since the start- one of the first bands I reviewed (all those long months ago). Having assessed a few of the group’s singles, it is terrific to see the arrival of their debut L.P.- a dozen tracks that showcases the full range and potential of Jingo. I shall dive into them in a second, but (they have reminded me) of a point: unexpectedness in music. It was only a few days ago I was expounded the virtues of Go Wolf- a Belfast trio who inject female and male vocals inside their myriad threads of electronic gold. Having tied them with Fleetwood Mac- another band are in front of me- that have spooky embers of the U.S./U.K. greats. I mention the legendary group, because I am falling in love with their music- especially the genius of Rumours. After hearing some plastic and facile ‘singer’ murder Don’t Stop- for some ungodly and horrible advert- it is sad that people (discover certain bands) through advertising- I despise all commercials and find them nauseating and horrendous. In addition to it being commercial and sell-out (flogging tunes to advertising companies is something even Queens of the Stone Age have reverted to), the young should be discovering music the honest way- connecting with people and going to their local record store. Spinning the likes of Rumours (on vinyl) redefines the perfections and seduction music can offer. Jingo has American and British leads- a husband-and-wife duo that incorporate essences of the legendary ‘Mac. Their music is as diverse and authoritative for sure- they mix genres and styles to create songs of the highest order. In modern music, you are not shocked that often- pleased to find an act or band that you do not expect. Aside from the same old male-only quartets and twee Folk singers, how many acts come along- those that stand out from the crowd? In 2014, it is still rare to find bands that mix male and female performers- fewer than 10% of all acts contain both genders. Not being a statistician of music, maybe that figure is a little artless- regardless, few acts mingle different genders and nationality. Like genetics, music is at its strongest and most vivid when you incorporate diversity and difference. Being in the process of recruiting four members for my band- they don’t know it yet- I hope to draw in a northern lass, Portuguese chap- one American and a guitarist. A jinx-filled caper and bit of persuasion will be in order, but my point is this: not only are the personalities and talents phenomenal; it will (not be a band) that is homogenised and predictable. My jingoism towards diversification is well-founded- so few acts take the trouble to ensure their ranks are distinct and stand-out. When you have different personalities and perspectives coming together- the music becomes richer and more full. No matter how good a male or female singer is- when leading a band- the sounds are undeniably fuller and more intriguing (when adding in the opposite sex)- a different accent and point of view. Bands like Fleetwood Mac and The Magic Numbers compel because of these mixtures- it enforces their creativity and opportunities. Although albums like Rumours occurred among turmoil and hell-fire relationship break-ups, it should not act as a warning sign- bands who contain lovers and spouses are not going to (necessarily) break up and squabble. Katie and Jack Buckett combine their transatlantic genetics together and bond it around their unified and rock-solid relationship- the intuition and sympatico goes into their startling music. Were Jingo and all-male band, they would not sound as passionate, beautiful and scintillating- it is Katie’s distinct voice that adds so much richness and multitudinous. Having inflamed and amazed reviewers- including me- with their stunning and assured music, the quartet have worked their socks off. Their L.P. The Art of Loving has a cover that defines their sound- a sense of angst and force; strange and odd beauty; plenty of vivid and unforgettable scenes- things you will not easily ignore. With critics comparing the band to the likes of Portishead, The Kills and The Magic Numbers; it is clear the four-piece have a tremendous name- a natural quality and excellence that makes these comparisons just and fair. Before I raise another point, let me introduce Jingo to you:

KATIE BUCKETT – VOCALS/KEYS
JACK BUCKETT – GUITARS/ BACKING VOCALS
JOSEPH REEVES – DRUMS
SAHIL BATRA – BASS/KEYS/BACKING VOCALS

JINGO IS A DYNAMIC AND CURIOUS FOUR-PIECE AFFAIR. THEY ARE, CONSEQUENTLY, JACK BUCKETT, HIS WIFE, KATIE, JOSEPH REEVES AND LATEST ADDITION, SAHIL BATRA DISCOVERED FROM THEIR OWN WAREHOUSE OPEN MIC NIGHT. THE FOUR HAVE BEEN MAKING MUSIC WITH OTHER BANDS IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK AND LONDON FOR A FAIR FEW YEARS BUT HAVE NOW EMBARKED UPON A SHARED VENTURE AND HAVE A LOYAL AND DEVOUT GROUP OF CO-PATRIOTS IN THE UK AND US. SUPPORTING GRAHAM COXON OF BLUR AS THEIR FIRST GIG IN MARCH 2013, THEY WERE OUT OF THE BLOCKS AND RUNNING. SINCE THEN THEY HAVE BEEN KEEPING BUSY IN THE STUDIO, WHILST TOURING ACROSS THE COUNTRY RECIEVING WIDESPREAD ATTENTION FROM ONLINE BLOGGERS (INCLUDING A FEATURE IN FHM). IN NOVEMBER THEY WON THE MADE IN SHOREDITCH MUSIC FACTORY COMPETITION ALONG WITH 2 DAYS RECORDING AT THE LEGENDARY STRONGROOM STUDIOS. JINGO IS A UNIQUE GENETIC COMPOSITE, AND ONE THAT HAS NOT BEEN SEEN TOO OFTEN ON THE MUSIC SCENE. WE HAD A SIMILAR NATIONALITY CR OSS-BREEDING WITH FLEETWOOD MAC, THE MAGIC NUMBERS, AND A FEW OTHER ACTS, BUT THEY ARE FEW AND FAR BETWEEN. THEY ARE SET TO RELEASE THEIR DEBUT ALBUM IN SUMMER 2014.”

Jingo is among a small number of new acts that have their eyes and ears on all avenues of the Internet- their music is available on various sites. In addition to possessing an authoritative and detailed official site, the band make sure that few faces can ignore their sounds. Whilst lead Katie Buckett is a skilled artist, you can see her work on a lot of the band’s covers- including their album. Her incredible artistic talents have had an effect on their music videos- each are stunningly eye-catching and wonderfully conceived. From Same Without You‘s animated capers to Belong To You‘s black-and-white live jam, the group excel in multiple arenas- they do not solely focus on their sound. Taking the trouble to consider their videos and website is something few artists do- you know just how much music means to Jingo. Dedicated to it and gripped by its awe, the quartet funnel that energy and passion into their music- hardly shocking it received such universal acclaim. Hard-hitting, festival-winning and atmospheric, the London band marry the rawness and vitality of Brooklyn with the artiness and diversity of East London- drawing their separate experiences into multifarious and layered music. The Art of Loving has been a while in the making; up until now, the band has been producing a series of singles- tempting the listener into their world; presenting different sides to them. Having set the scene and come onto the stage, the band are preparing the release of their 12-track L.P.- a record that will get many critics excited and awe-struck. In the way that no two snowflakes and fingerprints- or Justin Bieber felonies- are the same; the U.S./U.K. coalition ensures no two Jingo tunes sound alike- they retain their identity but never come across as predictable. I adore bands and what they offer, but feel there are a few too many- sounds odd, but the quality level is not exactly sky-high. Were all the bands brilliant and original then we would welcome newcomers forth- the fact that they are so hit-and-miss leads to trepidation and caution. As we speak, there are mutilated waves of below-average bands; the sort that have little regard for standing out and galvanising their music- so many acts are spat out and forgotten. Craft and honing is as important as originality and potency- to Jingo- who go to great lengths to infuse so much life, urgency and colour into their music. Providing a welcome relief- from the quagmire of beige Indie groups- I have high hopes for the quartet. With their unequivocal and fastidious work ethic, they are not going to slow any time soon- they have plenty of songs and albums in them. The incredible friendships- and love they have for one another- should not be ignored; they will not implode and explode like Fleetwood Mac- that is not to say they cannot aim that high. With the early signs being incredibly positive and prosperous, who knows what 2015 holds for them? Their mesmerising and eargasmic (sic.) album is a compulsive purchase- something everyone should snap up. Before I get down to assessing each (of the 12) numbers, it is worth taking a look at the band’s previous work.

It is hard to compare Jingo’s sound directly to too many others- the band are one of the most unusual and striking I have ever heard. The only way one can compare Jingo with another, is when looking at their cross-pollination and band formation. Having an American heroine and British hero; distinct and startling singers; incredibly mobile and multiplicitous performers- their style and sensations can be tied to other acts. A band that have meant a lot to Jingo- and I am familiar with- are Not Blood Paint. Whilst the two bands share little musical D.N.A.- in terms of their identities- they do have some similarities. The Brooklyn-based rockers are near-neighbours of Katie Buckett- a band that she probably is very familiar with. Not Blood Paint have released a series of records- Calm Down is probably their finest hour. The 26-minute opus packed more oomph, wallop and weight- than any other record of 2013. Stripped-down arrangements and emotional nakedness sat with rushing and fever-dream panache- the band performances and progressive tendencies made the E.P. such a triumph. Squelches, tribal climbs and repeated codas- sat within the E.P.- and made songs stick in the mind- turned them into addictive and potent beasts. The band’s ideologies investigate conspiracies and stranger elements; they have a rare voice and songbook. Jingo has similarly evocative and striking song themes; they are as accessible and immediate- the other thing (the two bands share) is the gorgeous vocals and stunning compositions. On some songs- from Not Blood Paint- masochistic and vengeful lines sit within beautiful and tender compositions. As early as 2010, critics in the U.S. have been gripped by their music. The Brooklyn band differ from their borough-mates: their love songs come through in obtuse and feral angles- they are nontraditional and dark. Filled with staggering imagery and plenty of bite, the boys have established their reputation- they are one of New York’s most urgent and memorable acts. Jingo has a similar unexpected and oblique set of lyrics; they look at love and relationships (but subvert expectations)- their special and original slant makes the songs so much more fascinating and gripping. Bird Courage are an act that have influenced Jingo. Presenting music that treads along the lines of Folk and Experimental, the Brooklyn boys are masters of soft and gripping acoustic notes; the songs across their records have left-turns and gloriously unexpected moments. Huge vocal harmonies can be found with rippling guitars- in the middle of a calm and revered Folk song. Although the band are still finding their true sound- and haven’t unleashed their masterpiece yet- they possess plenty of quality and inspirational mandates. Their aching and alluring harmonies; delicate and impassioned Folk moments beautifully blend with heady emotions. Before I mention a quintet (of other acts) I will bring in my musical idol- Jeff Buckley. Having only produced one album- the masterpiece that is Grace- I can see some parallels with Jingo’s most wondrous and tender moments. The vocals and voice is something Buckley was synonymous with- able to pair his divine pipes with sensational and scenic love stories. The sadly-departed Californian mesmerised critics back in 1994- Grace is one of the greatest debut albums ever created. The audacity and lack of humbleness (that went into Grace) meant that there was bombastic ambition and startling confidence- the young master knew exactly what he was doing. Being a devotee of Buckley, I know how much of a perfectionist he was- never happy unless a song was as good as it could be. The grasp Buckley showed- across his career- was startling and phenomenal- able to mingle the soaring and mournful within the space of a song. A divine and heavenly voice- had Buckley- this rich and inspirational sound made his music so compelling and urgent- Jingo share strands of Buckley’s genius. Their reach is no less staggering and ambitious; their vocal harmonies and turns scintillating and gripping- the range of motions and sounds quite extraordinary. Whereas Buckley was synonymous more for his voice, he remains a truly underrated songwriter. Not just devoted to love and longing, his songs mingled byzantine and oblique dreamscapes with cinematic scenes and funeral parades- he was inspired by the likes of Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. Jingo has a Buckley-esque packed songbook; those incredible and distinct vocals- tirelessly graceful codas. Interpol are a band that have made impressions on Jingo. If I were to compare The Art of Loving- to any Interpol album- it would be their self-titled mid-career gem. Critics noted how gripping Paul Banks’s vocals were; the dark shades were underpinned with plenty of light- subtle textures came through across the L.P. Their sense of story and atmosphere was evident- on Interpol- the rich narratives and brilliantly paced tracks made the album epic, melancholic and redemptive. Deeper ideals were on Interpol’s mind; their intricacies, orchestrations and nuance stood them in critical regard- many noted the atmospheric darkness gave it a spine-tingling layer. Submerged and deep moments were as a result of abstract and complex inputs- the band found new wrinkles in their well-defined sound. Jingo does so likewise: they uncover new glories and sounds within their defined and solid foundations. They exchange darkened and moodier shadows with elliptical and positive rushes- they have the potential to reach Interpol’s heights. On Interpol, the band shored up their weaknesses and united players; their muscular attacks were as a result of tight and focused performances. Mixing minor and major notes with tempestuous mood shifts- love songs ranged from honest and pure to attacking and pained- the band could achieve anything. Jingo has a similarly vast amount of possibilities and commendations- it will be exciting to see how this flourishes on future releases. When thinking of Katie Buckett’s vocals- in addition to the atmospheric and cinematic compositions- Portishead come to mind. Perhaps their Third album is the most apt comparison piece- an album that showed a fierce and incredible amount of attack. With Beth Gibbons’ voice at its most urgent and gripping, the album was a huge triumph. Endlessly absorbing and riveting performances backed her startling voice- which had grown into something unbeatable and unmatched. If we take vocal comparisons out of the equations, just think of Portishead’s hallmarks: looped rhythms and dark corners; vintage elements and spellbinding songs. Third required effort from the listener: the cold and stark uniqueness bloomed into something magisterial and epic. The tenet that defined Third was the originality and jarring juxtapositions: a ukulele-led snippet stuffed between two hell-fire assaults was one such surprise. The tonal shifts and experimental untidiness resulted in a phenomenal album; absorbing and fascinating with every listen. Perfectionist tendencies resulted in music that was not processed and canned- instead free and natural. Jingo marries all of this into their work: the styles and compartmentalisations; the quality assault and sensational consistency- the juxtaposed moods and art works. When Katie Buckett lets her voice haunt and cool, you catch hints of Gibbons at her most entrancing- our heroine is just as capable at gripping the soul and portraying darkness (in addition to love and hopefulness). Before I conclude with a duo of bands, I shall mention Bad for Lazarus- a group that have had bearing on Jingo. Although the band is a combination of Heavy-Metal gods and ’60s East Coast Garage elements, some of its flair has transitioned into Jingo’s mandates. The 25 E.P. saw psychobilly and dark humour pair with macabre themes. The incredible playing mixed some of Matchbox B-Line Disaster with Red Hot Chili Peppers; double-tracked vocals and insatiable rushes. The E.P. also harked back at the past; looked at vintage and traditional recording techniques- before digitalisation. Tight and clinical, the production allowed the vocals to sound characterful and unconfined. The legendary band upped the innovation on Burnt! Vibrating and spontaneous energy lingered in attacking and innovative assaults; slow strung-out burners nestled with ragged and jagged loose cuts- ‘beautiful’ and ‘challenging’ are words that can be applied to the record. The Brighton band continue to amaze and impress- on Burnt! they dispensed with guitars to rustle up explosions sans electric strings. Jingo does not share the same feral and maniacal vocals, yet there are similar components- their innovativeness and expectation-subversion are among them. Before I end with a British influence, I will mention one of my favourite bands- Fleetwood Mac. When trying to compare a Fleetwood’ album (with Jingo’s work), I plump for two: Rumours and Tusk. The 1977-1979 regency saw Fleetwood Mac craft two of their most spectacular and timeless works. The former is defined by its moral ambiguity; that sensational consistency- the sheer thrill-ride that lasted from start to finish. The songs jumped out of the speakers; the insistency and consistency meant eccentricity and stunning honest seemed elemental and unforced- it was an album that defied the odds. The raw emotional power of each note made (Rumours) a blockbuster- the contradistinctions between anguished and passionate defined the album. A cut-diamond a tsunami of angel kisses, the album remains a sonic god- something few bands have matched. The permissive and unspooled hedonism put Fleetwood Mac at rarefied heights- inspiring waves of young and eager bands. Jingo unites that sense of ambition and concision; their songs range from radio-friendly nuggets to harmony-laden shivers- there is darkness and pained confessions. Although Fleetwood’ started as a psychadelised Blues-Rock band, they developed their sound- hitting their peak here. The U.S./U.K. combinations find equals with Jingo; although far less fractured and spoiling- the two bands share some unique distinctions. The Bucketts match the vocal qualities of Rumours. Stevie Nicks was at her husky and impassioned best; Chrissie McVie introspective and tender (with her offerings). Katie Buckett has that sexy husk and gorgeous stillness- the embodiment and spiritual incarnation of the Fleetwood Mac heroines. Jack has some of Lyndsey Buckingham’s Garage-Rock drive and riveting tones. Tusk was a sprawling and messy masterpiece: by the time the album came out, the band were shattered and broken. Ethereal moments and twisted immersions could be found; band-driven paranoia and bracingly weird moments did not impress critics (upon its release)- it has aged into a genuinely fascinating work. Jingo match that eclectic and scattershot approach; keep everything solid and uniform- throw a lot of Tusk‘s diversity and wild range. The last band I want to include are The Magic Numbers. Their latest album- Alias- sees bittersweet ruminations spar alongside gorgeous harmonies and swells- it is their finest disc to date. Tragic strains and plaintive vocals score heart-breaking tableaus. It is the mix of their traditional blissfulness and newly-found Rock rawness that makes Alias such a delight. Majestic and shimmering melodies- Roy Orbison particularly- are topped only by the consistently brilliant Rock moments- when the band are plugged in they are switched on. Adventurouness and direction is going to see the band accrue legions of new fans. Jingo mix the same contrasts and styles; their harmonies and vocals are as emotive and stunning- they have a greater quality control and sense of authority. What they share with The Magic Numbers is that spellbinding vocal force and terrific range of sounds. Jingo is very much their own force and only incorporate the most subtle hint of other bands- take them on their own word. That combination of Fleetwood Mac and Not Blood Paint is unexpected- the fact the band have such a love for all sorts of genres results in their phenomenal sounds. Unencumbered and transcendent, the quartet have shades of ’70s masters; the urgency of U.S. Rock bands- I am hard-pressed to compare them directly with anyone. This individuality and distinction is defined within The Art of Loving. With so many bands being rudderless and predictable, Jingo are entrepreneurs of a very prosperous business ideal.

When looking back at Jingo’s past work, you can see the developments. The majority of the band’s previous offerings see their way onto their album- a collection that bonds all of their music together. The earlier cuts like Black Flowers differ from more recent examples like Sky Punch- there is difference and diversity. While tracks like IQ84 and Same Without You are copacetic and exquisite- they established and cemented the band’s reputation and quality. I am fascinating by cuts like Jaclyn and Blue Wail- tracks I have not encountered before. Having set the bar pretty high on their first releases, it would be unfair to say there has been a big leap- it would suggest that there is inconsistency and weaker (album tracks). The quality is as high now as it ever was; that distinct and unmistakable sound is very much theirs- the only thing that has changed is the songs’ themes. New ideas and considerations have come into effect- perhaps the focus and determination has been upped slightly. What I do notice- from the most recent recordings- is a sense of unity and focus- it has grown and augmented. Songs like IQ84 remains (one of my recent favourites) and I was worried- when reviewing the track- whether the band could equal and top it. Unflappable and headstrong, the quartet do not try to top themselves and reinvent the wheel- they have a natural mobility and range; it means every new idea they proffer is as excellent and shining (as the one that came before). I would advise everyone to listen to the songs on YouTube and SoundCloud- hear the developments and change of sounds. The best judgement and starting-point is The Art of Loving- the melting pot where all of their stunning songs bubble. What I found- from listening to the album- is the seamlessness and uniformity. When bands put various tracks together- some from way back; mingled with new nuggets- you can sense some loose edges and rough edges. The album does not always come together as strongly and focused as it should. It is amazing how the dozen numbers (on The Art of Loving) come together. Because of Jingo’s expansive palette and wonderful songwriting, they manage to make each cut seem both equal and related, but distant and unique. Such a variation of sounds and performances makes their L.P. such a deep and layered treat- one that should be heard time and time again. The true test will be seeing how Jingo’s second wave of songs stack up- whether there will be transitions and mutations or a continuation of their current ideals. I suspect the quartet will not radicalise and transmogrify their sound too much; add too many new components in- they will keep it pretty true and loyal. What Jingo offer is consistent quality and variation; it means whatever comes next is likely to rank alongside The Art of Loving‘s best cuts. Whether the band have already formulated some potential singles or tasters- or are going to take brief recess between recordings- I am not sure- the next year is going to see more music from them, for sure.

Black Flowers does not exactly begin with acquiescence. After a brief grumbling and fuzzy guitar line, the vocal comes fully into effect- our heroine is on the mic. With her voice firm and insistent, shadowy words are elicited. Human beings- when they die- turn into “black ribbons“- the scenes are set and the atmosphere becomes tense and nervy. In spite of everything that is happened- earth being dug up etc.- black flowers keep pushing up and pressing. Our heroine’s voice is gripping and urgent as she lets her words come forth. Although the flowers are pushing up and trying to grow, (she is happy) pushing them back down. An insatiable and feverish compositional rush unfolds; the mood swells and the sense of fascination grows. You wonder what the flowers are a metaphor for; with my mind cast around purity; the clash of good and bad- possibly awfulness and pain will overrule and defeat good. Whatever you try to do- whether it is chasing a dream- it will always be forced down and quelled. Backed by the hero, the vocals unite and pervade; the heroine is happy to push black flowers down- rebel against these forces and not let them get to her. The composition is sparse but effective; mixing striking and attacking strings with impassioned and driving percussion- the song’s constant sense of fascination never lets up. Wordless chorusing and scintillating vocal passion augments and defines the words- brings the images directly to life. With such a unique sound and original intent, it is hard to categorise the song into genres. There is a great mix of Pop-Rock and Indie lightness in places; darker and more brooding swathes in other areas. That incredibly direct and gripping central vocal is matched by some fascinating compositional changes and inclusions. Percussion notes mutate and develop; joining with bass and guitar swerves (and emotional curve balls) are thrown in- towards the two-thirds mark an intricate and unexpected sea change occurs that kicks the song towards its finale. That endless determination rules; the need to push black forces (and flowers) back down- you get sucked up in the ideology and mandate. Delivered with bellicose potency, you are helpless to resist the force and charm- by the final moments you find yourself singing along and on our heroine’s side. After such an impressive opening salvo, Sky Punch arrives. Having been premiered on Facebook (and social media) it is another brand-new and unheard-of Jingo track. Soft and romantic piano notes beckon the track forth; elegant and spiraling; flowing and firm- it is a stunningly suave and svelte early life. Space-age and razor-wire guitars add cosmic glisten and lust to proceedings; perfectly bonding with piano (and percussion)- a stunning sound is elicited. The words and lines are delivered with more restraint and passion here- than on Black Flowers- our heroine displaying her sweeter and more elliptical range. If she wants to see the brightest star, then (her) telescope is pointed at “the darkest sky.” Darkness and blackness is presented once more; here there is a more refined and mellifluous edge- a breeziness and soulfulness. Sky Punch “is no robot” (“Must I remind you?” asks the heroine) as the song notches up a gear- the central figure seems evocative and fascinating. As the words are teased and tempted, strains of Portishead, Pixies and Adele are married in: the vocal has that powerful and semi-operatic quality; the composition fuses ’80s Indie/Grunge (with stranger and contorted electronics). “Answers make questions” is a coda that is repeated and re-introduced; functionality and robotics are themes that come to play- Sky Punch is not a machine or Autobot. As your mind thinks the song is settled in its groove and sound, it suddenly shifts and explodes. The vocal is more direct and insistent; the strings and percussion grumble and quicken- the composition rushes and patters. Subverting expectations, the listener is sucked into an impassioned and wracked plea- our heroine seems more pained and anxious. When her man- the unnamed subject- says “it is inappropriate” when (she) is the person she wants to be- you feel that entrapped and fought-against soul rebel and shout out. The bragging man is causing annoyance and inflamed outpouring- the song keeps growing in intensity. As the chorus expands and volumises, our heroine’s voice grows more powerful and emphatic- Sky Punch is leaving and that tangible sense of pain and loss is evident. By the final stages, buzzing and haunting electronics crackle and pervade- reminding me slightly of the end to The Libertines’ Road to Ruin. Completing a biblically proportioned 1-2, the listener’s heart and mind is overcome and overwhelmed. When You Want Me starts with eerie and malevolent strains. The ghostly and elongated strings are haunting and demented- a sense of danger and unexpectedness lurks. That singular thread is weaved with additional etherealness; a burbled and wobbling vocal (singing the song’s title) mixes with stately and urgent piano- the witches’ brew concoction is one of the most startling on the album. Swaggering and howling guitars- a little of Queens of the Stone Age’s Desert-Rock magic can be detected- comes to play; the song grows more psychotropic and insatiable. Our leads combine on vocal duties during this number. Initially, our heroine’s voice is a low-down and distorted line; it grips and shakes the soul. When uniting with our hero, it is sharper and more emphatic- our heroine wants to be taken out and see the world. Perhaps feeling left out and excluded, you feel that yearning and sense of relegation. Spinning and stuttering guitar tumbles have a flair of The Dead Weather and The Kills; combined with the incredible vocal passion and you are hooked in- wondering whether that rare and bizarre introduction will come into effect. Upbeat and emphatic performances give the song a huge energy and catchiness. The guitars become delirious and snaking; the keys and bass drive and push the song forward- the percussion is the sound of the heartbeat growing ever more racing. The chorus does indeed come back in- that stunningly unique presentation is back for a bit- before our heroine comes returns. Cocky and strutting, the projection is filled with spit, determination and fire-power. She is pointing the finger (at her man)- someone who will “never be happy.” That strife and romantic imbalance leads to a staggeringly assured and standout track- one that wins you over with its twists and turns. The vocals are reliably powerful and stunning- especially with Katie Buckett- whereas the bonding (between the leads) is phenomenally emotive and spine-tingling. That genre-hopping composition keeps the track mobile and unpredictable- the lingering elements of The Kills and The Dead Weather add gravitas and grit into proceedings. The final notes are grumbling, concrete and slinking. Shaking hips and casting aspersions, we reach the climax- a breathless number that says all it needs to say. Following a diverse and varied trio of songs, Belong To You is up next. Pattered and Trip-Hop percussion skiffle gives the intro. an edgy and evocative start; that sound grows with a guitars, bass, percussion (and electronics)- the introduction turns into an Indie-Rock-cum-Alternative symphony. Bombastic and confident, the vocal matches the mood and sound. Our heroine wants to scream and shout out; she knows (she will) “always belong to you.” If she had a thorn between her teeth, she could say this is me- that “wouldn’t be true.” When the chorus comes in- and the twin vocals unite- there is a sense of upbeat and redemption. Possessing one of the most impassioned and striking vocal performances- from both leads- the song wins you over for a number of reasons. The lyrics are gripping and emotive; the composition tumbles and mutates- shades of Garage, Indie and Psychedelia combine to give the song a restless energy. Our heroine’s voice shifts from rapturous and phenomenally powerful- during the chorus- to more delicate and soft in the verses. The band present one of their fullest and most interesting compositions. Cosmic and intergalactic guitar notes sit with pummeling and rifled percussion; populist and redemptive parables proceed spoiling and whirling dervish rushes- the pace and sound matches the interchangeable and flexible nature of the vocal. Crackling and bonfire riffs lead to issues of life and death- the former is a white blanket; the latter black. You wonder whether our heroine is truly contented and assured; I guess in spite of everything she has that relationship and bond- even if there are doubts and niggles on her mind. The album’s title track catches you with its embryonic vocal- it comes straight in and is seductive and captivating. Backed by finger-clicks and a spacey sound, the track is a short mandate- it comes in at 55 seconds. In the way Portishead- on Third- put the beautiful and short (1:31) track Deep Water between two stunning behemoths- here Jingo pull off the same trick. Allowing a chance for reflection; a new direction and a unique punctuation- it is a phenomenal and impressive move. The art of loving with your heart “is not as hard as you thought.” That idea is repeated as a universal truth- the words get into your brain and stay there. With very little backing sound- except for when our heroine presents a second vocal line- it is an echoed and sparse scene- allowing the meaning and beauty of the song to fully take a hold. Spectral and gripping in its minimalism, the vocal dueling is hypnotic- there is nothing complicated about love; loving with your heart is not that hard. Home is a common song- and album title- done by a multitude of bands. Unlike the wave of contemporaries, Jingo open their Home up with distinct and trademark intrigue. Pitter-patter and urgent percussion mixes with imploring and yearning guitar strings- the two combine to kick up quite a catchy and heady sound. Home- it is a safe and reliable place- that is central to the story. Casting her thoughts outwards- to her love- the song’s hero cannot “have it all“- his friends laugh and whisper; he is needed back home. Speaking to her sweetheart, he is wanted to quench her soul; make music for (her) “and my bed.” Stating “anything’s better than what you said” there is a sense of mystery and curiosity. Wondering what the background is, you can hear the urgency in our heroine’s vocal- taking her pipes to Bjork-esque levels of intensity and amaze. Backed by spaced-out and mixed emotion electronics, that struggle and conflict keeps coming through- the need to mend fences and return to a former state. Able to provide what (the hero) needs; be there and loyal- everything is made elemental by that phenomenal central vocal. Rapturous and overcome; calmed and measured- it is one of the finest performances on the album. Gripped by that mesmeric and variegated vocal assault, there seems to be some regret coming through. Leaving the listener to extrapolate their own version of events- and back-story- the layered mystique and interpretations add weight and potency to the track. Funky and stuttering strings open up Blue Wail. Our heroine wants to “swim in the wind“; her soul freed and unshackled- that light and graceful flow opens up the track. The heart of a blue wail (sic.) is heavy and burdensome; that sense of fatigue and emotional drain takes it out of you- it is the largest animal in the ocean (of emotion). The clever wordplay and fascinating images keep you hooked and conspiring- imagining what our heroine sees and feels. Searching for love and meaning, she wants to castigate her heartache- that magic and spark is needed. Boasting one of the most rushing and full-bodied choruses, the combination of serenity and passion is hugely effective- the track is a lot more honest and simpler (than previous numbers). Sparks, grumbles and diversions (in the composition) are traded; yet the emphasis is on the central performance- making sure the words hit home. The two leads combine naturally and splendidly here; their commingling creates huge rush and sense of excitement- spine-tingling and wholly immersive at its peak. Soulful funk and spunk is laden in the guitar work; our heroine was born without her animal heart and pride- her wings are folded. That sense of being weighed down keeps coming back; the need to shake away the darkness- the need to fly and soar is paramount. Shifting her voice and keeping the energy constant, our heroine is seeking answers and satisfaction; her soul is in need of galvanisation and redemption.

Before You Were Born is a track I have surveyed before- in addition to IQ84 and Same Without You. Having left it aside for a few months, its charm and appeal comes flooding back- right from the off. Moaned and wordless vocals sit with romantic piano. Spiraled and scintillating guitar parabond and conspire; the sensuality and sexiness- of the vocal and composition- comes to the fore. Our heroine projects outwards; save the planet while we can- important messages are laced within the tender vocal. Moonlit and twilight, the captivating vocal swoon sees a subject pinned “like a dog“- our heroine wants him (to make his) intentions known and sure. With the hero adding vocal prowess- in the chorus- the song keeps climbing and layering; that drama and drive builds up. The heroine’s voice is at its sweetest and highest here- during the chorus it swells to the heavens with its transcendence. That range and changeable nature make the song so insistent and gripping: the vocal(s) mutate from soft and tingling to impassioned and full-bloodied- the composition has a similar consideration for mood and sonic shift. Dramatic and uplifting; fascinating and emotive- it is a perfect mid-album treasure. Catchy and memorable; swelling and gripping- the band turn in one of their best numbers. Capable of uniting festival crowds in rounds of sing-alongs; cure darkened hearts- it is a stunning and fascinating gem. Jacyln is a curious beast; a song that opens with haunting and eerie intent. Our heroine lets her darker and more shadowy side come through- a bit of Beth Gibbons and Alison Mosshart unite. Ghostly and tribal, the sapling moments are tense and gripping. The song’s subject has her name delivered with blood-curdling lust- our heroine shows the full extend of her histrionic range. Pulsating and anthemic, the band unite in a frenzied and determined movement; the song’s disreputable heroine is being given a throughout going-over. Her future was too stained “for her past to come clean“- instantly your imagination begins to speculate and dream. Jacyln keeps her eyes closed; she can see through (our heroine’s) eyes- backed by a staggeringly assured and heady composition, the vocal reaches its most intense. Having impressed hugely on previous numbers, it is here that our heroine lets her voice truly stagger and expand- the incredible shifts and shades are all uncovered and highlighted. Graveled and growled moments transform into tidal wave of electricity and bracing drama- few other vocalists possess such a startling range and diversity. Crackling and striking, the vocal is a potent and stinging reptile; an animalistic thing baying for blood- who can escape the terror? With the song’s key player being undressed and denounced; she is someone who thinks she has people figured out- her head in the stars, you start to add pieces to the puzzle. The song never relinquishes its attack and earthquake. Past the 3-minute marker, a delirious and trippy keys swagger come in- augmenting that sense of drama and headiness. Matching Muse for potent bombast- with none of the ridiculousness and circus- Jingo mutate and evolve once more. Our heroine’s voice becomes more Spoken Word. Employing hints of Alison Mosshart and Stevie Nicks, the low and gravelled projection has some distortion and echo to it- a steel stiletto kick that hits its target. The anti-heroine has been chasing bad love; filling her mind with false ideas- our heroine is keen to not go down that path. The perfect combination of sonic assault and hypnotic vocals, the band hit their peak here- showcasing just how phenomenal their new material is. Same Without You is a track that impressed me back in April, 2013. One of the band’s earliest tracks, it lines up seamlessly with Jacyln. Showing just how good they were- back in their early days- the song begins with graceful and moody piano. Jazz-flavoured and seductive vocals open up the track; our heroine is in the shine of a ’50s spotlight- an insatiable femme fatale with an alluring and scintillating intent. The words are accusatory and direct; the cards are on the table and laid bare- she does not want (her man) to lie to her; she will call his bluff. Fueled by desire and intent, the ombudsmen for truth and transparency is backed by suitable atmospheric support. Vibrating strings fuse with punching and kicking bass; the percussion keeps events level and tight- the gripping drama does not demure or restrict. The song’s central figure has not changed; he has the same (bad) heart- he made our heroine feel foolish and stupid. Letting her operatic belt speak volumes, the performance is an arresting and divine sound. She is the same (without him); his lack of presence has not changed circumstance and life- it seems he has been an anchor (on our heroine). The tricolour of audio innovation has a Baroque/Pop sensibility. In the same way Rufus Wainwright is able to expertly tie in Blues, jazz, Pop and Classical influences- and create an intriguing symphonic punch- Jingo does the same- albeit it more brooding. The passage continues for a fair few seconds, creating its own gravity and momentum; it takes its time to capture you. There is no need to fill every second with lyrics- the band know that it is just as important to project beautiful music in order to create a stunning effect. When it subsides, we are told our heroine “never made you feel sad”. The voice becomes harder and stronger, showing all of its lungs- as a crescendo is unleashed. Our heroine possesses a similar belt and force (as Adele); you can practically sense the hordes of record label bosses running towards the band- with a wardrobe, hair scissors and cosmetics in hands; perhaps thinking they have a U.S. Adele on their hands. Unlike our countrywoman, Jingo’s feminine tones posses a subtlety and consequential soul (that has been sadly lacking from a lot of Adele’s recent numbers). In spite of all the pertinent and heartfelt words; imploring questions and contorted emotions- whether it is a good or a bad thing- our heroine is “the same without you”. Past the 1:30 mark, there comes a clattering dance of guitars and percussion- with bits of Muse in there (before they started phoning it in). It is at once foreboding and heavy, but also melodic and planted firmly on Earth. It is another shape-shift that takes your consciousness to another place, once more. Lesser acts may plump for a steady and rigid composition- that conveys the emotion through a linear mood and doctrine- that seems a little too anxious to change course or be adventurous. It is the pioneering and playfulness that the band readily posses- that also does wonders where their music is concerned. This transferable quality adds emphasis and credence to an already gripping song. The track mutates into a skiffling and shuffling Jazz/Swing number- the vocal is still powerful and impassioned.  When the piano punctuates sternly; around it, a motivating and searching juggernaut is unleashed. As our heroine says “I am trying to stay true”, the accompanying composition- tied in to the audio of the previous 10 seconds or so- reminded me of the adventurousness and bending philosophy of Bjork. The Icelandic princess is constantly capable of dragging you to dark and magical woods- where fairies and monsters cohabit with little qualm. She also- sometimes with David Arnold- creates sweeping and emphatic soundscapes- that bristled with introverted passion and Brothers Grimm scares. In a similar and prudent way, our heroine’s voice has a touches of Debut and Vespertine Bjork: youthful and sweet, yet capable of ripping your head clean off- if you push her too far. It is quite electrifying. As the chorus ends again, there is an echoed vocal- as though we have reached the rooftop and (through a bullhorn), our heroine is shouting her message. Not just directed to her disgraced beau- to anyone else who is within an ear’s reach too. The hero is not within sight; with amplification and nary a second thought, the operatic and full-bodied passion is back. The voice crackles, rips and tears asunder- as we witness a trickling and flailing guitar weave.  To my ear, it has some traces of Jack White. Think his solo albums, mixed with the majesty unveiled during the Get Behind Me Satan-Icky Thump regency. I smelt a flavour of Steely Dan in there as well- circa-Can’t Buy a Thrill. It is a most unexpected sonic diversion, and again adds a layer of U.S. influence to the melting pot. Bits of Santana, Slash and Clapton are heard in the D.N.A. as the sound of piano comes out. Instead of being romantic, a hand is run across the keys with verve- ghostly and unstoppable snowballs hurdle towards the village. Holmes and Watson can stop looking for a strange beast, as it seems the hurtling ball of impending doom is going to cause instant catastrophe. The guitar gives out cries and anguished yelps as the drum beats with vermilion fury- never out of control, it keeps a very sharp and mythologised spine. The heroine comes in to restore some semblance, as she lets it be known (that she is) the same without her man (not Jack, obviously). The chaos abates; a lilting and romantic piano ends the track- bringing sunshine to the stormy and harsh night, previous. Almost matching Jacyln in terms of genius, it is amazing how natural the two tracks sit together- seeing how they were recorded so far apart. Jingo show just how impressively consistent they are. IQ84 is a track I have reviewed previously. There is a little oriental flavour and spice to be heard within the introduction. Armoured with chopstick percussion- and guitar work disinclined to rest its feet- it is a rousing and tight start (and multifaceted too). As well as a nod to the Far East, there is a sense of electronic acts (like Tricky or Massive Attack) in the spirit and voyeurism of the start. There is no clue or inclination as to where the track will go- or what the vocals have in store. Perhaps not imbued with a laudatory smile, the lyrics have a little pessimism in their early stages. Our American siren is exclaiming how the world is not a fair place, explaining: “It won’t be make-believe/If you believe in me”. As you settle into your seat- ready to delve deeper into their subconscious- a marauding and rampant drumbeat strikes up; whipping fear into the heart. The beat staggers and struts- perhaps arrhythmical- to the foreground; it is a rush of blood to a monochrome canvas. The vocal has a pleasing restraint and uniqueness to it. There are perhaps little hints of early-career Beth Gibbons, but aside from that, our heroine’s voice is its own woman. For the initial eighth of the track, the lyrical theme remains unabated- pertaining to the subjects of the realities of life and the redemptive truths of love. The percussion and guitar remain impressively propulsive- keeping strong and unabashed throughout. There is a sonic and dramatic shift soon after. The guitar becomes less karate chop, and more scratchy. It sounds- at first- like a more melodic, restrained cousin to Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. It is an impressive sea-change; the modulation from syncopated and Asiatic- to a London-via-Washington indie-grunge mutation- is impressive. The vocal is lighter and more wistful; the lyrics still have a sensitive side: “but you’ll always have my heart”. The drums again wallop like a adrenalin-filled heart, pulsating when needed- to elevate and punctuate the mood. The Indie twang and strum (of the guitar) is a little bit The Kooks; a tiny bit early-Bird Courage and Arctic Monkeys. After a successful ascent of the mountain and slight snowstorm, there is a 30ft fall ahead. The electricity of the music is replicated in the vocals, as our heroine is a woman overwhelmed. She is overcome and exacerbated: “Baby please/You’ve got me on my knees”, is evocatively pronounced- portraying dramatic tension and rain-swept romantic tableau. Our heroine implores (to her paramour) to not leave her- to take her with him. One can draw comparisons with female contemporaries such as P!nk, The Pretty Reckless and Adele, but there is a credibility and intelligence (the first two do not posses)- and unlike Adele, the emphasis is not on vocal alone. The backing is by no means subterfuge- it is right there holding our protagonist’s hand. The changing moods and story-line twists; they infuse the song with such mystery and electricity. Very few modern bands can credibly pull off so many dips and switches- and remain gripping. Jingo does it in style. There is a real sense of story and parable in the lyrical arc-this is sublimated by the nervy and fractious bait-and-switch. Around 1:51 there is a palpable rise in blood pressure. As the vocal is held; guitar and instrumentation peaks- the refrained “Baby please…” is with us, once more. It is an emotional coda- which far from being too morose- has a redemptive sensibility. The message is effective, and towards 3:00 the guitar contracts and bungees (with elasticity)- it weaves and forges new paths. There are elements of U.S. acts such as The Eagles, Steely Dan and Queens of the Stone Age- this creates a heady and exciting bubble. The synthesised blends and notes give way to the chorus (as we come to a close). Don’t Call It Love starts with a terrific mix of Jeff Buckley and Radiohead. Displaying some Live at Sin-e live majesty; bits of The Bends-era potency, the guitar opening leads to a serene and focused vocal. Colours you cannot see; troubled mothers and hungry children are introduced. At her most graceful and stunningly pure, our heroine has “heard enough.” The chorus is one of the most scintillating and stunning (on the album). Childhood possessions and recollections are recounted; false ideals are being held onto (by the song’s subject)- the track builds pace and potency (past the 2-minute point). Asking her man- and hero- to take a trip (with her) to places they’ve never seen (or been), that mingling of romance-cum-accusation comes through. Compositional elements have touches of Radiohead (Bishop’s Robe especially) and unifies ’90s Indie-Rock with U.S. bands (like Not Blood Paint). Sighing and ethereal vocals unite towards the 3:30 mark to give a haunting and impassioned sound- it could easily fit onto a Rumours track like The Chain. Evocative and tingling, a huge amount of force is summoned up. The two leads combine wonderfully to get the hairs standing to attention. A particularly tight and primal band performance makes every word and sentiment stand out in bold face- it is a packed and incredible band turn. Our heroine’s vocal once more stretches and climbs to wracked and fierce heights- that delirious crackle that gets straight into your soul. During the chorus (past the 4-minute mark) it climbs and hunts; scales to dizzying climbs- intoxicating every listener. Squalling and psychedelic guitar wailings are riffs of the highest order- trippy and strung-out wonders that add spice and alcohol into the bloodstream. Leaving the song with entrancing and swaggering lust, the band ensure Don’t Call It Love is not easily forgotten. After a firestorm of strings- that ends with feedback- you think the song is going to conclude. The final moments are left to our heroine: her voice is soft and solo; without accompaniment, the full beauty and power comes out- equaling the most spine-tingling moments of Buckley and Bjork. Having heard the final of 12 tracks, you have a lot to take in and absorb- the phenomenal The Art of Loving is one of the best albums you will hear all year.

If you have stuck with me so far- thank you- then it is fitting I sum up the album as best I can. Jingo is an outfit that favour egalitarianism; the equality (the band employ) results in organic sounds and tight performances. The production through The Art of Loving is superb and concise- polished enough to make every note recognisable and clear; atmospheric and bare to allow the right amount of primacy and nakedness to come out- the vocal performances are suitably live-sounding and emotive (because of this). I was impressed by the sequencing and track listing. Most bands- when putting out a debut L.P.- tend to front-load the record; make it top-heavy- meaning the second half drags and drones. The secret to a perfect running order- and balanced album- is to have one of your best tracks up top; ensure the four finest songs are equally spread- two in each half.  You should aim to finish with your strongest numbers. Jingo has pulled this off. The finest tracks occur near the end of the album; the six tracks (of the first half) have equal distribution of quality- as does the second. This leads to an album that is balanced, poised and constantly surprising- you discover gems and one-upmanship in places you do not expect. Meaning your interest and fascination is not peaked too soon, the band brilliantly keep the momentum going- ensuring no listener ends (the experience) disappointed or short-changed. The dozen tracks simply fly by; there are no long or bloated moments- each number sounds urgent, direct and economical. Numbers like the title track make the album such a wonder. Not only is it addictive, effective and defining mantra (of the album’s intentions and messages)- it is a short and brief number that packs a huge amount of weight. Most bands would have lengthened such a song; stretched it out and made it too aimless- Jingo not only unleash a perfect punctuation mark; it is a song that stands among the top three. The range of genres and moods covered is outstanding. Most Alternative-Rock and Indie bands are too narrow and ritualistic- they do not innovate and experiment; few unexpected treats are offered up. Jingo amaze with the wealth of their sounds and colours; the performances, time signatures and songbooks alter and variate- no two songs sound alike. The entire album has a superb amount of professionalism, focus and perfectionism- together with loose and ragged edges; an at-ease sound shows phenomenal naturalness. It is worth applauding the band themselves. Sahil Batra is the band’s new boy- the bass player that has some big shoes to feel. Unlike bands like Pixies- who would bully and marginalise a wannabe-Kim Deal- the benevolent and communal band grant Batra plenty of room- their natural friendships mean he perfectly and seamlessly fits into the fold. Showing no nerves and hesitation, his performances are consistently enlivening and uplifting. The most diverse musician of the band, Batra is as effective on keys duties as he is on bass- his contributions almost steal the top honours. The bass guides and leads; drives songs forward and amazes- it has plenty of rhythm and personality. Like Kim Deal or Paul McCartney, the bass is more than a guiding tool- it has its own personality and projection. Imbued with a hungry power and myriad contrasts, it adds shades of light and dark when needed; playful and funky at times- able to match the mood of the song. His keys contributions add swathes of spaciness and cosmic oddity; interplanetary weirdness sits with emotive and lush romanticism- upbeat and pomp circumstance nestles alongside primal urges. Chris Smith- who wrote and played on the numbers; replaced by Batra- should be commended and applauded.  Whilst a former member of the band, his notations and elements all appear within The Art of Loving.  A incredibly authoritative and compelling player, his essence and talent shines (throughout the album).  In addition to co-writing the album, Smith’s touches and personality defines (some of the album’) best and most astute moments.  An exceptional and natural performer, he is tight and focused throughout.  Having reviewed Jingo last year- when Smith was with the band- I commented on his drive and multiple talents; the way he lifts songs and injects something unexpected and urgent- he is one of the unsung heroes of the L.P.  Were it not for his input and influence, most of the songs would be weaker and less effective.  Congratulations and plaudits should be paid to him- and rightful credit given.  Joseph Reeves provides the punch and pummel. Levying so much authority and prowess, the stunning drummer adds elemental potency to so many numbers. Like Batra, Reeves has a distinct sound and personality- his drumming is not cliché and rank-and-file. A lot of drummers exist to fill gaps and mould into traditional and expected confines- Reeves is allowed full room to manoeuvre and impress. His mighty and evocative presence makes every song sound fully focused and unpredictable- his sticks are able to add unexpected and delightful notes; twist the track in unexpected directions- I have been a fan of his work for a long time now. Influenced by the drumming giants of old- the Grohls of the world- you can hear that similar power, skill and intuition pioneer hard.  Reeves’ performances- along the album- are tightly crammed with emotion and insatiable appetites. The final plaudits go to the husband-and-wife duo of Jack and Katie Buckett. Jack’s guitars are stunningly powerful and intriguing; so much colour and life is contained within. When songs go astral and stratospheric, you catch glimmers of Pink Floyd and Radiohead- Jonny Greenwood’s fretwork on OK Computer particularly. Not confined to a single sound, he summons up raw power and Desert-Rock swagger; braggadocio and masculine sexuality- matching the bad-ass axemen Josh Homme and Jack White. Having a huge and rounded knowledge of music, Buckett incorporates cross-pollination of various genres- masterful at uniting Blues and Rock alongside Garage and Pop. Melodic and honest the one moment; overt and explosive the next. Across the dozen tracks, the amount of emotion and ground covered (by the guitar) is sensational- I cannot wait to see how this is developed across future releases. His vocals blend perfectly with Katie’s- the two have a natural bond that comes through. Adding essential force, beauty and diversity, Buckett’s voice is distinct and urgent. If you look at an album like Rumours, it is stronger and more evocative (because of the different vocal sounds). Songs like Go Your Own Way are amazing because Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks joined Lyndsey Buckingham- were it just Buckigham alone, the song would not be as amazing. Unlike Fleetwood Mac’s tug-of-war tussle, Jingo’s male vocalist is stress-free and without anxiety- allowing his voice to sound effortless and unforced. Last recommendation and commendation goes to the group’s American leader, Katie Buckett. Her keyboard work is sensational and incredible throughout- an essential aspect of the album. As a player she is assured and deeply impressive; showcasing her natural abilities and intuitive feel. As a singer, she is in a league of her own. The lyrics and music are uniformly inspiring and compelling; the way she scores (the words) is sensational. Inspired by the likes of Alison Mosshart and Adele (to an extent), Buckett surpasses both- few other modern vocalists have such a staggering range. As natural and spellbinding when roaring and belting out her words- as she is seducing and softly teasing- that elasticity and flexibility enforce’s Jingo’s creative process. Most bands- with limited singers- and confined by what they can write; have to work around the realities of life. Due to Buckett’s planet-straddling range, it means The Art of Loving can do whatever it wants- knowing Buckett will knock it out of the park. Drawing in some embers of her Brooklyn home sounds; elements of Blues-Rock icons- together with some modern-day British influences- and you get a cornucopia and variegated spectrum- one that amazes and mutates on each number. Almost wild and dangerous in its untamable moments, it is amazing how astutely Buckett can contrast and constrict- she can bring her voice down to a whisper without showing camber or fatigue. All of this- each band performance- results in an album that is tight, nuanced and hugely impressive- one of the most immediate and stunning albums of 2014. Throw in poetic, deep, oblique and quote-worthy lyrics; deep and stunningly striking compositions- you have a critic-proof album that demands long and impassioned appreciation. Jingo’s debut album may have been many months in the planning- the final result is well worth the wait.

It’s kinda sad that I am returning to the land of the employed (and useful) in a week- solely because my reviewing days are restricted to Saturdays-only. Jingo is a band that I have been following closely for many months- having assessed a string of their songs, I am so glad to see them at their peak. There is no bias, subjectiveness and hyperbole in my review- if they sucked I would (kindly) phrase it on the page. I hope I get to review them in the future; follow them still and see where they can go- it is clear the quartet are on an exciting and prosperous course. Great and illustrious gigs have come; paen and tribute has been paid- media sources are celebrating and elevating the band. They may have gone through a minor band member substitution- Sahil Batra is a relatively new addition- yet it seems to have worked for the best- I have never heard Jingo sound stronger and more natural. This solid and unbreakable formation comes out in their music; it will lead to great things- ensure the guys go on for many years. The male-female, British-American vocalisations add so much candid depth and directness to all of their music; the combinations of notes and vocals is intoxicating and hypnotic- one of the band’s most potent weapons. Each song- on their album- contains an incredibly tight and compelling performance; the music is brought vividly to life- few other acts play with such conviction and purpose. Intelligent, stylish and stunning songwriting has resulted in a masterclass debut album- one that contemporaries and peers should take note of. Not so much the long goodbye; more like the proud supporter- Jingo are going to be a big prospect for the future. I hope Katie takes the chaps across to the U.S.; get gigs lined up- the hemorrhagic sounds should not be confined to our shores. I can see the band translating well across L.A. and California- I have reviewed acts here that would nobly support their quest. Able to tantilise and grip the boroughs of New York; buckle the knees of the Midwest- they have the potential to take their stall globally. After the U.S., then who knows? The quartet have a world out there awaiting- it is only a matter of time (before it is theirs). Of course, the group are keen to focus on the release of The Art of Loving- see how it resonates and is received. Among a sea of indeterminate and ho-hum bands, it is always great uncovering an oyster- an aphrodisiac with an eye-catching and heartbreaking pearl. Before I depart- and set my view on another act- I will arrive back at my original thesis. Unexpectedness is not something you encounter much in the rubble of stampeding musicians- something that catches you off guard. Whether it is a flamboyant and vivacious sound; a head-spinning concoction of instruments and variations- it is always a great pleasure. Jingo manages to side-step expectation on a number of different fronts- the first is their music. Across a dozen songs, the quartet display a huge amount of talent and potency- incredible songwriting and tremendous performances. Synonymous with their vocal prowess and nuanced sounds, Jingo have an artistic eye for design- making sure they put detail into their music as well as their website. In essence, the band are a fun and likeable troupe; artists that want to draw in listeners and new fans- few are as eager and passionate as them. When The Art of Loving is released next week, ensure you get a hold of it- see what you take away from the music. Having almost a brotherly bond (with the band), I am going to follow their careers with great interest. Saying goodbye for now, the Jingo juggernaut is powering on- gaining momentum and fresh fuel. Let us hope I get the chance to investigate the band in the future; knowing how hard they work…

I am sure it will not be too long!

 

 

About the Author:

http://musicmusingsandsuch.wordpress.com/about/

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Follow Jingo:

Official:

http://jingomusic.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/jingomusic

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/JingoMusic

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/user/Jingomusic

Last F.M.:

http://www.last.fm/music/Jingo

Instagram:

http://instagram.com/jingomusic

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Jingo’s videos available via:

https://www.facebook.com/jingomusic/app_182222305144028

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Jingo’s music can be found at:

https://soundcloud.com/jingomusic

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For all tour dates/gigs:

https://www.facebook.com/jingomusic/events

Track Review: Antriksh Bali- Daze Blue

TRACK REVIEW:
Antriksh Bali

Daze Blue

9.4/10.0

Daze Blue is available at:

http://antrikshbali.bandcamp.com/

RELEASED:
1st August, 2014

VOCALS BY:
Nikita Sailesh

SYNTH. AND PROGRAMMING BY:
Antriksh Bali

PHOTOGRAPHY BY:
Sulzhan Bali

GENRES:
Electronic, Ambient, Trip-Hop
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The Indian pioneer is a fan of the likes of Hans Zimmer, Massive Attack and Morcheeba. Antriksh Bali‘s inimitable blend of soft and serene; cinematic and epic works wonderful- he has produced some of music’s most fascinating cuts. Daze Blue is another filmic and evocative number- one that looks at creative woes and blocks. Tense, emotive and nervy, the song is a stunning assault that will draw in a host of new fans

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THIS will be the final review I will pen…

for a couple of weeks at least. Having already written up Jingo’s review- for their album The Art of Loving- it is exciting to witness a genuinely fascinating artist- from the subcontinent of India no less. Having been honed into three continents with my reviewing- Australia, Europe and North America- I can add a fourth (with Asia). After searching for a fiery Chilean Pop band; a cool-ass African Soul artist- Antarctica is a bit of a stretch- it is terrific to be in Asia- a continent that is overlooked with regards to music. Most people tend to train their thoughts to the U.S. and U.K.- when it comes to music- and overlook valuable and untapped markets. It has been a while since I have investigated acts from Australia and New Zealand- southern hemisphere locations that provide some terrific Rock and Indie examples. South America is a less fervent and fertile market- there are plenty of original and stunning musicians playing here. Asia is a curious and fascinating continent- most people have cliché ideals and expectations. Far beyond the notions most hold, the continent boasts a great range of music and bands- transitioning these artists to the U.K. has been a slow process. India is a nation that has produced a lot of fine musicians and artists- a lot of them reside in Britain. My featured artist is someone who calls New Dehli home- keen to keep his sounds based in his homeland- an impressive move in the modern climb. His reputation is built around consistency and quality; Antriksh Bali is ensuring critical eyes are focused on India- seeing just what the country is offering the world of music. I will investigate Bali in more depth, yet am compelled to raise one issue: the Electronic and Ambient genres. Those whom hold a rudimentary knowledge of each are aware of the qualities (both genres) possess: that mixture of pure gracefulness and scintillating energy. Being a massive fan of Massive Attack; a devotee of Poritshead and their ilk- their finest moments mix Electronic trippiness with ambient lust and grooves. In a music industry where there is still too much emphasis on guitar-led assaults; pure Pop and something more ‘traditional'; few are taking the time to proffer acts that go deeper- blending dissonant with wildly experimental. It is a hard trick to get right: fuse wide genres and shades to create something variegated and exhilarating. I am disappointed by how limited (a lot of musicians are); so few dip into a treasure chest of sounds and stir them together- get their mind spiked and tantalised. It is great if you can stagger an audience with a few notes and heady riffs; take the mind somewhere fantastic- in an age where quality is defined by imagination; it is hard to achieve this. The key to originality and success is going to be mandated by those that innovate and subsume the bare minimum. The U.K. is more impressive- when it comes to experimenting- and leads the U.S. Europe is probably the most radiant and fertile continent (for mixing a raft of varying sounds). Whether their agendas are enforced by fastidious perfectionism or a freewheelin’ approach to sounds, it is staggering to see the results- some of the new music coming through is phenomenally unexpected. Trip-Hop, Hip-Hop and Electronic artists- from around Europe- are providing some of the most colourful and immediate musicians in the world- those that go beyond normal barriers and restrictions. From the early days of Beck; through to the ’90s Trip-Hop movements- along to the modern-day kings and queens- music needs more scientists- the bold that infuse chemicals, flavours and ingredients( to form something heady and intoxicating). Bali is an artist with a huge reputation and incredible work ethic- having been producing music for years, he is one of the rising stars on the scene. I have a couple of points to raise; but let me first introduce my featured artist:

Antriksh Bali is an Alternative/Electronic musician based in New Delhi, India. His music is influenced by a wide plethora of artistic elements that range from Ambient music to unpredictable sonic experiments that constantly evolve over time. Raised and brought up in an environment where there were no restrictions on genre or styles, Antriksh boasts of a sound that is an amalgamation of urban, dissonant and atmospheric music superimposed on top of epic and over-the-top orchestral scores that sway and move to inspire, yet awe. Learning classical piano since the age of 11, He has roots in classical music which he skilfully combines with elements of modern music that encapsulate everything from soundtrack and spoken word to Glitch and Trip-Hop.”

Bali may have been raised in a country that is more overpopulated and crowded than ever; where there are more road accidents- per person- than anywhere; a nation that is crowded- it does not seem to have tarnished his ambitions and creative process. The huge population and range of people has instead compelled and inspired his mind; that incredible mixture of cultures has defined his music upbringing- led him to create sounds that are pioneering and wide-ranging. In a lot of western cultures; there is homogenisation and restrictions- a lot of communities and countries are limited and narrow. England houses a lot of nationalities and types of people; I wonder why this ethnic diversity and community does not translate musically- a lot of new acts are rigid and unadventurous right from the off. Bali’s lack of restrictions- when growing up- have been poured into his music; he ensures his music has as many different turns and movements as possible- the amount of emotion, energy and wonder he pours in is hugely inspired. When you are unconfined and free; live in an area where all forms of music are proffered- this compels your processes and ambitions. Being brought up on music from a young age, I experienced (at an early stage) the likes of T-Rex and The Rolling Stones; Glen Miller and Kate Bush; Steely Dan and Joni Mitchell- there was never a single day where I would hear the same music. Those disparate and legendary artists have inspired my music ambitions; the way I write and dream takes those wide and compelling sounds into effect- I am so glad that I had that sort of upbringing. Bali has enjoyed a similarly liberating and nourishing musical youth- soaking in the sounds and sensations of the street; the myriad genres and styles of music (from the neighbourhoods). Able to marshal concentration and focus, he has funneled his cornucopia influences and loves into his own distinct sounds- creations that are stuffed with spice, sweetness, ice-cool and sharp kicks. Before I investigate his music in-depth, I want to look at discretion and bravery. When applied to music listening, these are words that are rare and unheard-of. So many listeners refute the necessity to expand their horizons; stick to confines- they lack the ability to cherish music from other parts of the globe. If you are fascinated by Pop or Grunge- why limit your attention to this alone? Even if I didn’t review, I would seek out as many different artists and styles as I can- perhaps it is because of my upbringing or sense of curiosity. So much great music- and artists- is being passed up; snooty and stuffy music ‘lovers’ keep to themselves- happy enough to let some terrific sounds slip through their fingers. After discovering British-based acts like RKZ and Calgaris; Canadian Rap masters like The Emsee- those raw and vibrant sounds are seducing my with ease. Having been introduced to one of India’s finest musicians, I am going to explore the continent in more depth- seek out his local contemporaries; dip into a flavoursome and nuanced cuisine. The public needs to get out of their concrete-weighed boots; stop balakansing their intuition and peripheral vision- take the shades off an open their damn eyes. For every snot-nosed and pretentious kid; to the adults that diminish anything fresh and innovative, I say this: get your heads out of the sand. It is true that there’s a lot of crap and ridiculous music floating about; on the flip side there is a multitude of wonder- sounds that most are ignoring. Bali has managed to touch a lot of people; transcend geographical borders and get his name out there- there are still too many that are ignorant of his abilities. Improving and galvanising with every new release, the Indian maverick is one of the most ambitious and startling musicians around- ensure you investigate his wonderful sounds.

If you are a new listener to Antriksh Bali, then it may be worth bringing in other acts- artists that have influenced the young musician. When thinking about Bali’s hardest (and more primal side), Massive Attack spring to mind. When thinking about album comparisons- that could have compelled Bali- Protection and Mezzanine spring to mind. Protection was noted for its range of sound and technical excellence. The band’s sophomore effort- the follow-up from their emphatic debut Blues Lines- the band threw acid lines, fragmented beats and melancholic keyboards into their music. Opening the album with an emphatic duo of songs, the group spared no times in making their voices heard- it is an album that gets off to a flying start. A mixture of blunted and transcendent vocals (added myriad emotions to various numbers)- the introduction of Tracey Thorn was an inspired move; her intimate vocals brought light and vivid life (to the numbers she featured on). Instrumentals were stretched and elongated; clean-etched and thick-textured contradictions sat with one another. When Mezzanine arrived- the follow on from Protection- the reception was a lot more positive- Protection gained some mixed reviews; some noted that there were too many weak tracks. Mezzanine benefited from eerie atmospherics, fuzzed-up guitars; wealth of effects- cuts like Inertia Creeps were stone-cold classics. The team of producers that were brought in introduced fresh sounds and a sense of vibrancy. Pointed beats and stark sounds resonated; listeners were gripped by the blend of ethereal and earthy. Genius collaborations and staggering production values led to a modern-day classic- an album that has inspired legions of new acts. Bali mixes that concoction of earthy and spectral; the atmospherics and ethereal edges he fuses are wonderful- seamlessly blending without sounding forced or unnatural. Showcasing a comparable talent for welding hard and tribal beats (with jagged riffs); warm atmospherics and heady anthemics- this all comes out in his back catalogue. When the hero goes for softer and more dreamy scenarios, I hear embers of Morcheeba. The British Trip-Hop/Electronica act have had a big baring on Bali’s sound and direction- shades of Who Can You Trust?- Morcheeba’s debut album- are extrapolatable in some of his earlier work. Thoughtful soulfulness dictated the album; that mingling of technology and honest emotion sparred beautifully- the laid-back beats and smoky seduction was a riot of wonder. Occasional strings, wah-wah funk; Hammond organ and evocative vocals united- the resultant album was lauded and celebrated. Languid and looping grooves took the sound across the Indian Ocean; a strange and bizarre brew that worked- the vocals from Skye Edwards (and her sensual purr) sounded like Sade paired with Portishead. The album acted as an emissary of slow, smooth and dark tantilisation- an accessible collection of songs that sounded foreign and murky; ominous and creeping. Hauntingly atmospheric and nuanced, it stands as a remarkable debut disc. On Big Calm- the trio’s sophomore release- the Trip-Hop and Dance beats remains intact. Pop, Longue, film soundtracks and Reggae commingled and spiraled; Electronica peacefully coexists- it is a stylistic triumph that remains their finest hour. The sophisticated maturity was augmented by Edwards’ incredible and skyscraping voice- an instrument that can make anything sound compelling and gripping. When looking at lesser-known acts- that have inspired Bali- The Algorithm remain a key force. The musical project of French artist Rémi Gallego, his 2012 album Polymorphic Code impressed critical ears. Each song’s obfuscating blend of sounds created a stunning assault on the senses. The Algorithm threw in Mathcore, Trance, Drum and Bass; Djent and Dub-step into his sounds- Gallego remains one of the most innovative and daring musicians in the world. That borderless and innovative ambition has enforced Bali’s sounds and machinations. The Glitch Mob are another act that has spiked Bali’s mind- The U.S. Electronic trio stunned with their debut Drink the Sea. That album saw driven and overwhelming synth. sounds and multiple layers- that balance of layers is struck just right. Phasing and cycling through sounds and different moods; the album uses syths. as an assault weapon- tangling and threatening when needed; calm and authoritative the next moment. Ensuring songs change conjecture and style, no two numbers sound alike- the album goes from airy and flowing to heady and carnivorous. Perhaps the second half suffers from poor sequencing and the death of natural flow- that is down to some poor production decisions; the quality of the songs does not dip. Composers like Zack Hemsey and Hans Zimmer have inspired Bali. The former is an American film composer whose works have featured on Game of Thrones, Inception and Lincoln. His albums, E.P.s and singles have seen orchestral snippets fuse with Trip-Hop samples and World instrumentations- Indie and Rock lines are injected into the fold. Zimmer remains one of the most influential modern composers. Having composed the scores for Gladiator, The Lion King, and The Dark Knight- among many, many more- he is one of the most varied and stunning composers of all-time. Dramatic and magisterial sweeps integrates traditional orchestration with modern Electronica. The Dark Knight‘s score was brooding and dark; shadowy and intense. The Lion King was more light-hearted and redemptive; graceful and uplifting. Gladiator was ready for battle and fighting; pulsating and grand. Bali has been compelled by both composers- Zimmer more so. Able to contrast epic and tender- within his music- the Indian pioneer’s work could easily fit in a multitude of films and flicks- from huge blockbusters to charming and quirky Indie endeavours. Showing a love of multiple genres; eager to mix sounds together- to elicit maximum emotional resonance- Bali has the work ethic and talent of the great modern-day composers. He ensures his music is filmic, scenic and orchestral- presenting stunning moves and contrasting sounds. The last name I will bring in is The Prodigy. Music for the Jilted Generation was a dark and menacing album- from the band. Covering more ground- than their debut effort- it slammed harder and more brutally- sonic terrorism was grubby and biting. Catapulting and propulsive, the L.P. sounded like a greatest hits collection- each track seemed more stunning than the last. The scoring of vernal rave and big city ambitions, the sensationalism fireworks crackled, exploded and scolded- leaving the listener dazzled and forewarned. The Fat of the Land remains The Prodigy’s masterpiece- their defining and finest hour. Intense Hip-Hop-derived rhythms bustled with imaginatively constructed samples; shouted lyrics and depth are synonymous across the board. The phenomenal production- from Liam Howlett- joined mind-bending Neo-Psychedelia with blood-curdling assaults; funky Hip-Hop with visceral vocals. Introductions and guest spots saw performances exhort cod-mystically and inspiring hypnotisms. The album launched Electronica to the U.S.- it was a hugely influential and revolutionary piece. Bali has presented darker and raved-up moments; bellicose beats and psychosis neurosis- he tends to tone down his Prodigy visceral rage. Showing the same inventiveness, dominance and sheer authority- his songs are rife with multicoloured sounds and electioneering passion. It is worth taking the acts (above) as references- as opposed to sound-alike guides. Bali is an artist that incorporates other acts like he does sounds- they rush by and come to the fore now and then; never become too pressing, obvious and attention-seeking. Our hero is one of the most innovative cross-splicing and cross-pollinating genre-fusers out there; he has that stunning attention to detail- as fervent and stirring as any of the musicians mentioned above. If you are a fan of any of them, you will find a lot to recommend in Bali’s music- a young name that means serious business.

Bali has produced acres and multitudes of past work- expanding his horizons and experimenting with sounds. If we look back at Scoundrels of Egypt- that song was released a couple of years back; it is one of our hero’s earliest works. Starting dark and heavy, there is a definite cinematic edge. The electronics come out demented and rushing; swirling around one another- you sense danger is afoot. Scratched and stuttered electronics soon bond and fuse; they trip and fall inside one another. Skiffling and shuffling beats rush and build; there is grandeur and hard intentions- the song is alive and urgent. When orchestral strings sway and seduce, the mood intensifies- it is as though the listener is being chased by a villain. A confident and hugely impressive cut, it has the terrific sound of a film soundtrack score- something that could theme a nervy and tense thriller. Dreamscape Nightmare was as evocative as its title suggests. Eerie and haunted beginnings get the listener hooked- the piano notes are singular and punctuated; heavy and hard. When sweeter notes infuse and mingle, that mixture of sour and light blend- the resultant sound is an exciting and tantalising one. Lullaby intentions sit with spectral and groaning howls. Strings come back to play and conspire- there is a stop-start projection that keeps the song unpredictable and tense. The to-and-fro rhythm and sound is hypnotic and exciting; gripping and tender. Shades of The Cinematic Orchestra and Morcheeba sit with one another- quite a languid and sizzling commingle. Bureaucracy- released a couple of years back- has teasing and stuttering opening beats. Massive Attack and Hans Zimmer come to my mind- that hard and heavy force punches in. Slinking and cool lines weave with firm cymbal percussion- that mutates into crunches and stark judders. Soulful and mechanical sensations sound like Prince mixed inside an Electronica blender. Hypnotic and swinging swagger bursts alive- in a concise and short gem. The Truth, Denied was released a year ago- it is a track that showcases natural development and progression. Whereas the early tracks looked at a lot of dark elements, the layering effect hadn’t been fully developed- the sounds were more focused and honed. On this number, Bali started to overlap threads and different beats; pushed his experimental mindset and created a stronger and more innovative set of numbers. The Truth‘ starts slow and ghostly; dark and bubbling undercurrents glisten and burble- the rush soon becomes grand and urgent. Momentum builds and augments; the layers start to stack and weigh down. I would imagine this track could score The Bourne Identity- an early chase scene perhaps; it has that paranoia and cat-and-mouse danger to it. Perfectly able to fit around the opening credits, it is a masterclass in subtle and evocative cinematic drive. Sparks and flickers crackle; electronic rifles and staggers sparkle- the swagger and swing is at its peak here. Learn To Fly began with more soaring and epic openings. Dreaminess and serenity brought some of Morcheeba’s early work to mind. Colours crackle and burst; again there is that filmic and cinematic feel- a Breaking Bad opener that packs so much emotion and vividity into its measures. The track stops and builds; backs off and strikes again- it is frantic and insistent. Intense and visceral attacks bite and bleed; they force in- Zimmer-esque and primal, it is a stunning track. Bali’s more recent numbers are more evocative and picturesque- instilled with confidence and greater depth, they inspire the mind to dream and imagine. Scenes and sights play out; you project your own film and moments- the music is hugely gripping and atmospheric. Control (The Infinite Button) was released late last year- it is a spacey and cosmic thing. One of Bali’s longest tracks, the robots and machines are in orbit. Squelches mix with delicate tip-toe notes- they blend to create something heady and astonishing. Nice and dizzy rhythms repeat and catch the imagination- it is an addictive coda. The core sound does not deviate too much- the layers build on and the mood becomes more packed and colourful. Harsh and soft beats spoil with one another; the track breathes and expands- becoming more urgent and hard towards the end. Drawing in Massive Attack’s dreamy and insatiable epics, the serenity and semi-dangerous mood turns into a feral animal. Hard and violent Dub-step attacks are rage-filled and high on crystal meth. Chaos and Armageddon remind me of The Prodigy’s most vitriolic and visceral elements- it is the sound of carnage and explosion. The development and progression made- over the last couple of years- has led to Daze Blue. Sparring softer and more pressing elements, it has a lot in common with his later work. Over the years, Bali has developed and galvanised his music; incorporates more sounds, emotions and genres into his art- he has become more daring and unrestricted. This means his next sounds are likely to become more dramatic; filled and exhilarating- marking himself out as a potential film composing legend. Injected the same flair and wonder as the likes of Zimmer, Bali has the potential to make his way into huge films and T.V. dramas.

One of Bali’s long and epic tracks, Daze Blue promises epic proportions- before a single note has been presented. Tinny and hollow percussion sounds reverberate to begin- mixing Asian sounds with Trip-Hop elements (of the ’90s). Bubbling and dazed, the sound has an intimacy and relatable edge- there is smoothness and serenity afoot. Sublimation and passion melt into one another; the percussive smacks and primal beats start to glisten and campaign. Controlled and perambulating, the song is a travelator of sound- it moves at a brisk pace but does not get out of hand; it keeps pressing and driving forward. Showcasing elements of Massive Attack’s Mezzanine highs, that underlying tension and scintillating drama works away in the undergrowth- it once more puts me in mind of a film soundtrack. Coming across as the perfect opening scene from a thriller or anxious Indie flick, you start to conspire and imagine- scenes, chases and weather fills my mind. I imagine a Russian night: the hero is stepping off a train- into the chill and rain. Bathed in odd neon lights, he urgently walks the streets- looking into the shadows (of nearby bars and all-night stores). As the credits start to appear, strangers and taxis stop and stare; the nerves build and the rain becomes heavier. Making his way into a doorway, the muscular agent loads his gun; wipes his brow clean and makes his next move. Looking at some scrawled papers, he elicits a smile- running down an alleyway the sense of imminent atmosphere is close. Crackling and crunching beats- mixing in Kid A sounds with Massive Attack- conspire in a melange of shady and street-leveled sounds. Hip-Hop and Trip-Hop menace flexes its chest and presents a steely gaze- the night is becoming more fraught and alive. The legitimate urgency never gets out of your head; the junkie violence of the Russian streets are drenched in water and vagrants; the hero is back under the street lights- so much atmosphere and potential is presented (without a single word being sung). When the heroine comes to the fold, she is an alluring and seductive Siren- the lady in the black dress; red-lipped and come-hither, she beckons the hero forth- from the arresting glow of a vodka bar doorway. Her words see “Empty faces/Vacant stares.” In haunted places, is there anyone there? If I detach myself- briefly- from the cinematic lure of the soundtrack- I will interpret the lyrics. It seems like the heroine is caught in a miasma and heartache avenue- the emotional grip and burdenous heaviness is weighing her down. Our author explains the song is representative of a creative block- that ‘daze’ one gets when trying to climb out of the turmoil of stifled and dried-up imagination. You can hear that anxiety and hopelessness come out in the voice- the heroine floats and sighs; lost in her own pain, the performance is a stunning one. Mixed fairly low in the mix, the composition and beats are more defined and pressing- adding that sense of urgency and conviction. The mood and score become more insistent and bolstering; the layers build once more- our heroine admits that  the “flame’s losing the flare.” Defining emotional hurt and a stressful lack of ideas, you root for her- wonder whether she can climb out of the hole. Back to the movie parable; the restless and heady electronics (and beats) mix with warped and spacey notes- adding desperation and free-fall arrest. Massive Attack and The Prodigy mingle alongside one another; Bali presents his own version and interpretations (of their bellicose and prodigious mandates)- Daze Blue grows in stature as the track progresses. Our film hero has made his way to the doorway; entranced by the glare of the scarlet femme fatale; the smoky and Teutonic sensations draw the assassin forth. Our song’s heroine never loses her momentum and intentions- the vocals entwine and tangle inside one another. Surrounded by “Melancholic sounds” and “a dying drumbeat“, her soul and heart are starting to slow and die- she is floating and back in a daze. Enraptured by the stuttering and forceful beats, the heroine seems delirious and overcome- the full force of emotions are taking their hold. Not as packed and busy as numbers like Control (The Infinite Button), Daze Blue is more level-headed and focus- that depressive and aching pain is perfectly summed-up and defined. Tripping primacy see-saws with sizzling electronics (and an unending sense of pummel and spectral grip)- classic edges start to creep into the soundtrack. Tender piano notes tease with masculine beats and electronics; creating a beautiful and fascinating concoction. The tension starts to subside a little to allow the heroine’s voice to come back in- only for a moment, as stringent and rousing strings bring the song back to its peak. Our heroine asks- the world- to “Inhale me now“; lost in a “Twisted reality“, she is spiraling away from the world- desperate to gain that creative spark and sense of purpose. From the Russian bar, gunfire breaks out- screams are heard- as the camera remains on the street- framing the piece without budging and moving. With our hero making his way out of the bar, a black car makes off after him- the daylight starts to break and bathe the city. As the chorus comes into life, the vocal is more defined and clear- her daze blue is haunting the soul. Enmeshed in a myriad of shuffling beats and tense shifts, the song gets inside of your head- Bali makes sure the tension and atmosphere does not relent. Not overtly bombastic or too calmed (and revered), Daze Blue is an assault on the senses- able to tantilise and entrance; stand to attention and get under the skin. Addictive, catchy and nuanced, the song is a dazzling display of musical rhetoric- made golden by Sailesh’s sensual and demanding voice. Filled with conviction, emotion and potency, you are caught up in her plight- rooting for her. Spiked guitar stabs come into the fold towards the final moments- that insistent beat keeps pressing and pulsating. The dizzying sounds weave inside one another; the layers and components flair and sizzle- the final moments are dedicated to conclusionary electronic sweeps and darkened swathes. Back in the film piece, the hero reads his note once more- he is outside a building- it is near lunchtime now. Heading into an embassy building- gun loaded- the scene fades and the intrigue is laced. Daze Blue is a song that gets the mind working and imagining- you are hooked by the lyrics and sounds but project your own scenes and ideas. Having so much to take in, it is a track that results in repeated listens- each new encounter sees new beauties being revealed; you try to get to grips with all the different sounds, vocals and words.

Daze Blue is another stunning cut from Bali. Showing his restless and endless creativity, it is unlike anything he has produced- uniting his early day work with his more innovative later sounds. His latest testament is a symphony of dazzling sounds, fraught emotions and a feeling of dislocation- quite a heady and flavoursome brew. Before I pass plaudits to the main players, it is worth mentioning the song itself. The production allows the composition to reign and pervade- the vocal is a little lower in the mix. This does not create an imbalance and sense of disjointment- the voice is intended to be haunting and spectral. The composition itself is packed with life and different edges. Massive Attack and Prodigy’s attack and stylisations sit with Morcheeba swoon and calm. Bali injects his propriety talent and secrets into the song; those staggeringly evocative and alert sounds- that haunting-cum-hard resonance. Marrying qualitative touches of ’90s Trip-Hop with Urban elements, the song is one of his most evocative and nuanced to date- he is at the peak of his creative powers. With lyrics that look inside the mind of creativity and desert dry; it is an original and ever-relevant theme. Most of us- who write and create- have been in that position- where the mind is not as fervent and inspired as it should be. Bali represents this with some scintillatingly heady words and representations- the language is simple and economical; he manages to whip up the maximum amount of acuity with few lines. Bali himself highlights his innovative and genre-splicing qualities; Daze Blue is a riot of variable sounds and genres- the song never sounds too compacted and unfocused. Ensuring evocation and urgency dictate events, the track is capable of unifying lovers of Trip-Hop and Electronica; draw in new fans and supporters- it has a serene and passionate edge (that will appeal to Pop and Electro.-Pop devotees). Nikita Sailesh is a voice I want to hear more of- on Daze Blue she entrances and captivates. Not too overpowering and full-on, her voice is arresting and beautiful. Able to conjure up dazed and overwhelmed fatigue; striking and impassioned pleas, it is a fantastic performance. Seamlessly mixing her vocals into the heady mix- I hope the two work together in the future. Overall, you get a fantastic track that is unique as it is familiar. The likes of Massive Attack and Morcheeba would snap it up for sure- it possess shades of each; that contrast of beauty and force. As much as anything, it is Bali’s distinct voice and unparalleled ingenuity and talent (that shine). So few songs and artists resonate in the modern scene. Having investigated Bali’s cannon of work- and Daze Blue- I am compelled to keep up-to-date- watch out for new offerings and cuts. I am predicting a big 2015 (for the artist); a bumper year that will see his name be spread far and wide.

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Blending elements of Morcheeba with Massive Attack is a trick few have pulled off- even fewer have attempted it. Antriksh Bali is an artist that has no limitations and boundaries- he pours his childhood and heroes into his own stunning centrifuge. What is produced are songs of the highest degree- the magnitude and excellence of the most alarming order. Daze Blue is a typically adventurous and agile cut; a song that displays the young artist’s creative ingenuity and vibrancy. In Britain there is no excuse for complacency and laziness- we are one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan nations on earth. Our human economy not only draws diverse cultures together harmoniously- for the most part anyway- that in turn is compelling our wisest and most worthy musicians. Having such a gigantic musical history (in the annals waiting to be reappraised); combined with some pretty impressive new artists, nobody has an excuse for limiting their ambitions and music- being predictable and safe is such a boring way of life. Bali is an artist that is entrancing and captivating his native India; his music is translating across the continent- many reviewers and listeners in Europe have been tuning into his unique blend of sounds. On the evidence of his current single, it will not be too long until more nations and continents are aware and amazed- the wave of reputation and word-of-mouth is augmenting. I am not going as far to exculpate the music industry- those that do not pioneer should be scolded to an extent. With acts like Bali showing new sides and possibilities, his songs should act as references and guides- inspire newcomers to be a bit more daring and vivacious. I will leave with a thought on India and experimentation. Before you read this review- and up until a few weeks ago- you may have been unfamiliar with Asian music- I was a little naive to its charms and possibilities. The hegemony and dominance of the U.K. and U.S. needs some challenge and competition; other nations are deserving of spoils and riches- the next few years will see some transformation and diversification. I am a huge supporter of Australian music; I wonder whether its location and position- on the globe- is putting people off- whether is a little too far away from the beaten track. The same may be true of Asia and South America- the only reason North American music is appreciated is because of a rich history. Social media, the music press and journalists should be playing their part- get their mindset away from the familiar and towards far-off locations. Bali is the embodiment of the flair and bravery shown among some new musicians- the type of person not content to just stamp out the same old stuff. Sceptics and the doubting Thomases may claim there have always been ambitious and innovative musicians (around the world)- I agree; their numbers are in the minority. There are still too many boring and bland guitar bands; the heavy dose of saccharine and nauseating Pop clowns- aimless music that has no sense of longevity and inspiration. Daze Blue is a track that should inspire fresh minds and musicians (wanting to try something different). It is a slab of brilliance that highlights the purposefulness of one of the music world’s most innovative musicians. At the very least, Bali should be used as a case study: someone who is not willing to be labelled and confined. As I type my final words- for a couple of weeks at least- it is great to be able to assess an Indian musician- my mind has been stuck in Europe and North America for too long. And who knows- maybe I will get the chance to review more Indian acts; some African bands; I just need to find them. Daze Blue is unlike anything I have heard- a song that reminds me of the Trip-Hop greats; the masters of the Ambient smooth- a phenomenal parabond that has influenced an incredible track. I hope Bali comes to London to play; it is likely there are crowds and hungry fans waiting- I am certainly going to get the word out. It seems the young master is a fervent and busy creative mind; 2015 may see an E.P. or album from him- that will surely bring his name and reputation to a wider audience. If you are mired in the quicksand of spineless Indie bands; the honey-sickly gloopings of Pop muppets- you surely yearn for something more daring, fascinating and deep?! With this in mind, you will find Daze Blue a hard treat to beat. It is a song that raises the spirits; rouses the soul; raises the excitement levels. In its distilled essences it’s…

A colourful trip that is likely to lead you to addiction.

 

 

 

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Follow Atriksh Bali:

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Facebook:

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Atriksh Bali videos available via:

https://www.youtube.com/user/antrikshbali

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Atriksh Bali’s music can be found at:

http://www.antrikshbali.com/music.html

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About the Author:

http://musicmusingsandsuch.wordpress.com/about/

E.P. Review: Calgaris- I

E.P. REVIEW:

Calgaris

I

9.7/10.0

I is available at (this link does not include the track Knots):

https://soundcloud.com/calgaris

(The Bandcamp (official release) link is available soon- giving you the option to pay what you want)

TRACKLISTING:
Knots (Intro.)- 9.6/10.0
APLT- 9.7
Sugar- 9.8
Holy Books- 9.8

STANDOUT CUT:
Holy Books

RELEASED:
22nd September, 2014

GENRES:
Indie-Rock
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One of the most immediate and impressive young bands (I have heard)- Calgaris are an act with a big future.  Their E.P. I has been gaining some incredible early press.  Make sure you investigate the wonders of this staggering Yorkshire quartet

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THIS review will mark a bit of a milestone…

as it will be my final band review. I have already written the review for Jingo’s album The Art of Loving- it will be published on Sunday. The writing process- of both reviews- is like a late-career Beatles move- not that I am bigger than The Beatles! Jingo’s review was an exceptional treat but its 11,000 words seemed like a Let It Be process- trying my hardest to sum up their magnificent music- without repeating myself. Calgaris are the Abbey Road band- released first but a lot more care-free. As such, the word count and content is a bit reduced. My featured act is a new band out the blocks- they are putting their first moves together. Before I introduce them, I want to raise one point: northern bands. As Jingo are a London band- and my next review subject is an Indian solo act- I am back up north. I am sure I will some more reviews in; for now, it is great to hear a fine and noble northern act- a group that have some serious credentials. Having been contacted by band member Matt McGoldrick, I am lucky enough to have uncovered a fervent and ambitious young band- one that want to make a big name for themselves. I have a bit of an eidetic memory- when it comes to bands- and can always remember the sounds and sights- distinguish the good from the band. Over the last few months, I have assessed a lot of variation and difference. No two bands tend to sound the same; you get a slight difference with each- the Indie-Rock genre is one of the most hotly-contested and crowded. When an act comes along- that plays in this genre- that stands out from their contemporaries, it is always impressive to behold their music. This year is seeing a huge influx of young bands come through; new acts that want to make their stamp- it is hard to take it all in. I have witnessed a lot of new bands fail at the first hurdle- fall without an inkling for quality and originality. Most of the fantastic new bands are originating from London and the north- Yorkshire has proved particularly fertile. The huge festivals- and their stages for newcomers- are seeing a lot of the county’s bands gain exposure and rising acclaim- the likes of CryBabyCry have just played Leeds (an act I have reviewed recently). Although Calgaris are a sapling group- and have a lot more in them- they have a distinct and original sound (that stands them in good stead). It seems they will be making some waves in the future; climbing their way up the ladder- their debut E.P., I is an exciting and action-packed record. When thinking about new acts and artists, I am always looking at those initial movements; the first signs and sensations- they are the most vital. Plenty of eagerness and determination comes through in the music- (Matt) speaks fondly and passionately about music and the future- the band are intent on a long stay. This year has been a busy and creative one for the quartet; the next year will see them take their songs on the road and plan new movements- on the evidence of their debut E.P., the demand will rise and augment. Before I get down to another point, let me introduce you to the band:

Matt / Richard / Craig / Simone

Previously known as ‘One Stop Railway’, Calgaris is a brand new identity, which was born at the start of 2014. A young band from Huddersfield and Bradford, Calgaris combine impassioned vocals with pounding beats, driving guitars and electronic touches.”

Sound combinations and blends are essential and much-needed- too many bands seem too linear and honed. If the best of the mainstream have proven anything, it is elementary to expand your palette- draw out some unexpected sounds (and stretch your ambitions). Calgaris are the embodiment of the new wave of thoughtful bands- those that are going beyond the norm. I still hear so many acts that have a very predictable and boring guitar sound; are not taking the trouble to offer the listener anything fresh and unexpected. I am not saying you need to unleash something so bizarre and scattershot- that it alienates and confuses- so much can be achieved just by tweaking strings; infusing electronic elements- taking the trouble to put some imagination into your songs. It is hard to strike a necessary balance: make sure your sounds are concentrated and focused- remaining fully diverse and itinerant. Calgaris’s forthcoming E.P. will show how it should be done- striking that necessary balance, and unveiling sounds that few other groups are playing. The band market is never going to stop drawing in and inspiring- the numbers will swell and grow as the years go on. I am in the process of putting together an act and making sure (my songs) are as original and stirring as they can be- not just your run-of-the-mill clichés. The only way to propel the creative process; solidify and grow my own music, is take inspiration from the best of the new breed- the likes of Calgaris are providing fuel and ammunition. Before I get down to investigating their music, I will finish on one point- the dedication of musicians. A lot of times- when contacting artists about music or receiving requests- there is not a lot of personability and communication. Too many acts and artists seem aloof and distance; I have to chase them up for information- their own self-interest and motives seem paramount. In the maelstrom of variable quality and mixed personalities, Calgaris are among the most passionate and dedicated out there- nothing means more than getting their music out; connecting with listeners and reviewers. Too few out there have this regard and consideration; happy to float songs in the ether and assume good words will come- it is very naive and foolhardy. Of course, the music needs to back up the friendliness and thoughtfulness- if the tunes are weak then the whole endeavour is flawed and lacking. Calgaris back their words with some seriously memorable and nuanced tracks; songs that are perfect for all weathers and occassions- they put you in mind of some classic acts (but have their own inimitable flavour). It is about time I get down to investigating the act of the hour.

If you are looking for comparable bands- acts that have inspired Calgaris- then there are a few that can be mentioned. The band is pretty distinct and incomparable, but some acts have had a bearing on their sound- the way they go about doing things. A group I have mentioned a few times recently- when assessing new acts- is Bloc Party. This is an collective that continue to influence and inspire upcoming acts; their bracing and compelling sound is hard to refute. Intimacy is an album- from Bloc Party- that can be heard on Calgaris’s debut cut. Critics responded well to Bloc Party’s 2008 album. Noting its sweatiness and circularity; savagery and submission- a boiling pot of lust and sexuality was unleashed. The album possessed vivid honesty and earnestness- that was missing from early cuts- and saw the band dispense with their overt and one-dimensional cool. Intimacy was a masterclass of rhythmic intensity and Rock hardness; it was brave, heartfelt and emotive. A Weekend in the City was a Bloc Party album that brought intimacy and nervous energy out. Rampant and jagged edges sat with emotive outpouring and reflection- some saw it is as quite an awkward and mixed album. Critics noted how the anger and confusion resulted in terrific music; how the paranoia and dirty dishevel arced to present unity and togetherness- the album revealed its charms as the songs progressed. Wrecked, nervous, wild and graceful- the album seemed to possess every emotion. The immediacy and impact (the songs had) was impossible to overlook- it was seen as a modern-day diamond. Genuine contentment came through among angry and rage-filled moments. Calgaris infuse the same mixtures and mood swings in their music. The quality is high and endless; they trade anger and sweat with some graceful beauty and delicate touches- the same qualities that defined Bloc Party’s best moments. The anthemic and cold-as-ice jams- that showed up on Silent Alarm- find their way onto I- the band manage to appropriate Bloc Party’s finest qualities; sprinkling it into their boiling and trippy cauldron. When listening to I‘s tracks, you get that same feeling of confidence and ambition- the fact they cram so much into their music- the sense of nuance defines their music. The 1975 are a band making some serious strides- inspiring a lot of new bands (and gaining critical acclaim). The Mancunian boys unveiled their debut a year ago- it was an album that solidified and underlined their intentions. Seen as one of the finest Indie L.P.s of 2013, it showcased great Pop moments with plenty of depth. The L.P. The 1975 shared a love of Michael Jackson’s ’80s work- as do Calgaris. The band infused Jacko-esque synths. and elements of his early-career work. This is a sound that is being seen on a lot of current Electro.-Pop albums. On their self-titled debut, the band managed to make 16 songs sound fresh and urgent- keeping your attention held. Being a writer (who intends on having 15 tracks on a debut album), I wonder whether critics respond to long and ambitious albums- or whether they write it off as over-ambitious and tedious. A great deal of Indie bands are formulaic and derivative; The 1975 crammed hooks and stunning melodies onto their L.P. Taking inspiration from the likes of The Thompson Twins and China Crisis, the boys genre-jilted (and sounded gloriously off-kilter). Hugely unique and distinct, The 1975 was an album that resonated with critics- topping their ‘end-of-year’ accolades lists. Whilst some reviewers were ambivalent and less laudable, the main focus lay with the compelling (tenor) vocals and swooning songs. Drawing in the likes of Temper Trap, INXS, Peter Gabriel and Passion Pit; the songs reflected sophistication and endless experimentation. Soulful Pop songs mutated into uniquely phrased jams and narrative moment. Genre-melting experiments sparred with anthemic stadium rock- each song sounded like a film cut; a classic soundtrack staple. Timeless and compelling, The 1975 created a gem. Calgaris take inspiration from the boys and infuse the same blends of sophistication, grace, power and unexpectdeness- they melt Pop melodies with driving anthems; stunningly detailed filmic scenes and raw passionate drives. It is likely the band will carve a 1975-esque album in the future. Whether it will have as many tracks- or will be shorter- is yet to be seen- they have the ammunition and potential. Feeder are the final act I will mention. If I had to draw in a couple of their albums- that could have influenced Calgaris- it would be Echo Park and Renegades. Two of the band’s best works, Echo Park saw fast Rock instrumentation sizzle and snap; sampled guitar riffs (and experimental sounds) fused together- delicate Britpop melodies mingled with Foo Fighters-esque pummel and anthems. Bridging U.K. and U.S. music, the delicate vocals made ballads easy on the ear; the harder numbers were infused with plenty of panache and stir. Snappy songs and bristling scenery backed very British messages- the super-confident and expansive lyrics saw the band at their most meaningful and direct. Renegades showed tightness and focus come into the music- few of the tracks exceeded the 3-minute mark. The invigorated surges and power chords made their songs stand to attention; the life and zest that mandates the sound- the album provide their best efforts since Echo Park. Although the band (Feeder) have come to the point of diminishing returns, you cannot ignore their legacy and influence- they have inspired a legion of current bands. Calgaris present elements of Feeder in their heyday- those incredible riffs and blends of British and American sounds. Bits of Foo Fighters-cum-Blur unite their Pop melodies with Hard-Rock anthems.

It is hard to compare I with any previous (band) work- this is their first foray into the music world. Having been performing live- before the E.P.’s inception- the guys have been growing in confidence and stature. Their first offerings signals an act with plenty to say- masses of emotion and potency goes into the E.P. It will be interesting to see if they modify their sound on future releases, or stick with their stunning formula- it is a rare sound that means their songs stand out. When investigating I, it hard to not be impressed by the confidence and intuition- it runs right the way across the E.P. They have elements of Feeder and The 1975, yet provide their own presentations and sense of directions. Incorporating the former’s flair and passion with the latter’s anthemics and calmer moments- the resultant blend is a scintillating and crackling dish. There is no weakness or fatigue across the E.P.; each song offers something new and fresh- moments go from bracing and invigorating to imploring and alluring. It is always pertinent to judge a band on the here and now- never look back and try to compare. One of the greatest critical follies is when a reviewer holds an album in high regard- uses it as a benchmark. Subsequently, if later albums do not hit that particular standard- they probably won’t- the efforts are adjudged a failure. This happens a lot with new music. Reviewers often compare bands (with others) too stringently- expect them to be as good and wonderful. If they create a cracking debut, they expect the next album to be even better- unrealistic expectations are put on the shoulders. As stunning as Calgaris are out of the blocks, they will be keeping their sounds and songs fresh and different- not trying to replicate the mandates and templates on I. It is amazing just how tight and assured they are early on- you can tell the songs have been perfected and honed. There is not too much fastidiousness and perfectionism- there is plenty of raw energy and improvisations. The songwriting and lyrics are consistently focused and impressive; plenty of stunning detail goes into them- the deadly strikes are severely impressive. No two of their songs sound alike; they take the trouble to create distinct and unique songs- this will open up future possibilities. Whether they choose to produce a new E.P. or album- or a string of singles- you can be sure that same unimpeachable quality control and sense of mesmerisation remains firm. The band are fans of a myriad of genres and bands; they are mad for music and present multifarious threads into their own sound- you can hear that passion and authority come through boldly.

Opening up I is an intriguing and fascinating scene entitled Knots. A brief and truncated introductory lead-in, the track is swooping and sweeping; it is moody and shimmering- tripped-out and weird slacker notes are a collage of cosmic considerations. Mingling shades of Sigur Rós, Joanna Newsom and Pink Floyd- with some of Muse’s intergalactic oddities- it grabs you. Wordless vocals intertwine and tangle- the knots are not restricted to compositional elements- projected ghostly and strained sounds haunt away. Delirious and spacey oeuvres float into the stratosphere; the guitar notes twist and contort with ecstasy and rapturous passion- against more jarring electronics- the resultant concoction is phenomenal. Quite a brave and unusual opener, the quartet circumvent your predictions and expectations. Most bands would launch straight in with a heavy number- get things ignited as quick as possible. Knowing how strong their material is, Calgaris offer something more detailed and unexpected- a snippet of sound that hints at possible potential. Following the fascinating, dreamy and strange introduction- you wonder what the first track (fully-fledged) will sound like. The cosmic and space-orbiting beauty of Knots leads to a glistening and stampeding Pop intro. The percussion gallops and crackles; the guitars glisten in the sun- a little bit of The Smiths comes out. APLT hooks you from the very first notes; it grows and begins to stomp. The percussion grows in fever and intensity; stamping and stomping its mark, the vocal comes into effect- the performance has an energy and sense of purpose that makes the words stand out. Inside a danceable and engaging sonic whirlpool (a house lingers); one that has so many doors and rooms- “so much history.” You begin to piece together the home and occupants; the walls and colour schemes- everything starts to come to life. Painting a vivid and detailed picture, our hero lets his tones swoop and guide. Ensconced with his spouse (and her mum), there is a familial charm and wittiness to proceedings- the themes and storyline is highly original and impressively narrated. Displaying the northern humour and scenic unfoldings of The Smiths and their acolytes, you are hooked into the song.  Parts of Jamie T’s Kings & Queens‘ charm and voice presents itself in the spirited and twisted take- on the vagaries (of modern life). That same expressiveness and vitality; the way he perfectly highlights the sterile atmosphere of the city streets- this all comes through in APLT. The house sees the sun set; the smells and olfactory images are projected- the first consideration is getting into “your mum’s best wine.” Bonhomie and grace are uttered by the strings; it leads to a rapturous blitz of electronics- mixing with guitar, bass and percussion- the Electro.-Pop element blends with Indie-Rock to create a perfect partnership- like the two lovers dancing with one another. Down in the basement the pair unite and twirl; the joy and sense of freedom is tangible. Like a surveyance of modern life- Calgaris’s take on Parklife- all sorts of characters and neighbour dramas are unveiled. One of the neighbours has blood on his hand- inside his house lies the victim. That drama and searing tension is not dumbed-down or overlooked; the vocal projects a sense of seriousness while managing to remain someone buoyant and energised- ensuring the words do not come across as too depressing and mordant. The drama and sense of pace keeps running and charging; hoodlums and violent gangs lurk on the street. From the perfect homely warmth- of that charming house- comes the reality of the street- the vicissitudes and dangers that lurk around every corner. The generations are offering villains and violent thugs; our hero fears for his life- it seems everything outside his four walls provides malice and blood-shed. With an urban warfare unfolding, our frontman is left “shaking” and “scared (for my) life.” The only way to survive (the anxieties and hazards of the streets) is to decamp to the basement- shut the doors and hide away. The vocals and atmosphere layers and climbs; the urgency and weight grows and expands- there is still a huge emphasis on energy and elliptical presentation. Mixing some elements of You Me at Six- with a very unique take- it is a riot of wonderful sounds and blends. It is a shame the streets and neighbourhoods offer nothing but rage and heartache. The idioms of the concrete jungle are taking their toll. Although the sweethearts are making “calls to the police“, the band never let go of their rainbow assault- the electronics fizz with intent; the vocal powers and projects with immense force and passion. Captured by the lyrical intricacies and progressing story-line, I was struck by how original a song it is- few bands take their minds away from love and themes of relationship heartache. Not only is APLT such a brilliantly fascinating mini-opera; it is a bristling étude into the ever-present horrors of modern Britain. Able to get the body moving, the crowds chanting- it is a song that seduces in so many different ways. Most people- at the biggest festivals- would not usually chant lines of neighbourhood murders and gang violence- they will be soon! That contrast of intimate wine-drinking contentment- and dark and seedy underbelly- fuses magnificently- in a song that steals the breath. Sugar swings out the blocks with industrial clatter and combobulation- the sound of waste being dumped on a concrete floor. The smash and breakage leads to a howling execration riff- one that stings, wails and swaggers. After the intrigue opening few seconds, the band spare no time in getting things going- pulling out a top-drawer riff that lifts the bones from the body. Recently, a list of the top 100 guitar riffs was conducted (by the BBC)- Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love won. Looking down the list, there are some pretty ineffectual and weak riffs. Calgaris make their claim for the top leagues; pulling out a hell of a lot of firepower and vitality- a rambunctious and sweaty clammer the likes of Bloc Party would have killed for. Meaty, intense and rampaging; the instability grabs onto your brain- it has a great mix of U.S. Grunge and Garage in addition to Britpop majesty. Letting the listener imagine, guess and speculate- what is to come- the initial phases of Sugar do not rot the teeth- they kick them clean out of the head. Not sweet and saccharine, it summons the kind of fist-moving fury methotrexate could not cure. When our hero arrives at the microphone, his voice is intent and clear- his thoughts laid bare and his determination unbeatable. Containing some echo and reverb, the vocal combines strong clarity with atmospheric heady fuzz- a concoction that ensures the lyrics have that additional measure of invigoration and spellbind. Speaking to his sweetheart- or former love- he wants her to say the words he longs to hear- the urgency and projection (of the vocal) gets the prefrontal cortex working overtime. Having undertones of singers like Jack White, Rob Thomas and Thom Yorke; the electrifying and gripping delivery has some edge, vulnerability and feral attack- a concoction that is defined by its passion and persistence. Keen to be fed “lies and pleasantries“; that option is better than facing fears- you start to speculate what is being referenced. In my thoughts, maybe the relationship is on the rocks; reaching its dying days- that revelation may be too bitter to swallow. Preferring deceit and soul-soothing words, our frontman is tripping around the truth; keen to avoid the axe falling- that openness and sensitivity is rare to find. A lot of songs reverse gender roles and situations: go on the attack or show their lead a bit arrogant and aloof. By having a song that presents genuine fear and hurt, it makes it stand out- combined with the attacking and primal guitar work, it is a psychotropic and scintillating flirtation. The delivery of the words remains controlled and measured; the lines are delineated with a strict pace- meaning every word is understood (and gets inside of your head). Instead of tumbling lyrics and needlessly spitting, our hero shows consideration for clarity, atmosphere and posterity. That insanely pressing and rollicking battle- between strings, percussion and bass- makes the lyrics vivid and dripping (with sweat and emotion). When the love breaks down and dies- that is being accepted now- our hero wants to be remembered- have his girl hold his name and not forget what they have been through. Never succumbing to tearfulness or weakness, our man keeps his spine firm- showing some emotion but not letting it overwhelm the senses. Blending together the best elements of ’90s Garage/Grunge- The White Stripes, The Von Bondies, Soundgarden etc.- into the fray; together with lacing of personality and individual intent- you have a song that burnishes with a splendid commingle of grit, passion and sensitivity. The chorus is met with a round of unified vocals; chanted and belted, the song’s title becomes a call-out to the world- a cry that rings with masculine force and emotional candour. What is being offered- the harsh truth- is a poison of jagged pills; sugar is easier to swallow- a panacea for the pain. Carried away on the grumbling and rumbling riff, our hero unites with his cohorts- the chorus contains an incredibly tight and focused assault. Perhaps not as down-turned and beaten as once feared, our hero begins life- after the chorus ends- in renewed spirit. Perhaps the relationship (ending) has been a good thing; our man seems intent to escape confinement and limitations. Being trapped by the nefarious aspects of love- the power games, head messing and need to be controlling- the heroine is being stripped and humbled- our hero is a man with a message. The riff matches morose and smirking swing with an endlessly compelling bite and machete kick- a stone-cold pendulum that could easily fit on a Jack White record. That fuzzy and strung-out delirium does not get out of hand (or drunkenly stumble)- it is a crystalline and determined rifle. Our frontman’s vocal remains impressively resolute and strong; the confidence and self-assurance increases as he inculpates his lover. You wonder whether this lease of independence (is as a result of emotional clarity) or the consequence of a messy break-up- I wonder whether the hero is starting to spiral a little. When it is said there are “genuine concerns” and (the fact he’ll) “never learn“; maybe alarm bells ring- perhaps there is a downward emotional trajectory unfolding. The chorus’s reintroduction brings back that sweet-sour contrast- the truth of reality is a bitter and sharp taste; his mouth is filled with copper tang, blood-taste regrets and alcoholic linger. Something more soothing and medicinal is required. That recriminated and angered core begins to crown and bludgeon- his sweetheart damn sure better not forget his name! The movie hero astride a motorcycle, that cocksure and rebellious attitude is crackling and intense- the cool and composed delivery ensures you are rooting for him. In the swirls and unsalable grasp of the composition, you cannot help but to move your feet and sing along- even break out the air guitar! It is a chunky and sexy tongue-licking bite- that demands the amps be turned up to 11 (a sure-fire festival monster of the future). Designed to get the crowds jumping; the tired tongues singing aloud- it is unashamedly memorable and anthemic. Betraying a debt to no-one, the guys harmonise with menacing intent- their notes and weaves are designed to mess with the senses. That chorus is one of the most striking facets- it is both catchy and pummeling; uplifting and accusatory- a heady brew indeed. Cramming as much confidence and attack into one track- as a lot of acts do in an E.P. or album-it is an incredibly strong continuation of intent.

If Sugar‘s title had some irony and misleading possibilities, you wonder what Holy Books will provide- if there is irreligious and atheistic prophecy (or something purer and more divine). The swelling and elongated organ hum- of the introduction’s early moments- makes me think of both possibilities. There is a purity and gracefulness to it; a sense of danger and possible explosion- once more the band subvert expectation; keep you guessing and prime the imagination. Fragmented, reverse-sounding and experimental, the sounds rush and swell- like ocean waves pulling you in; recollections of Prog. masters and Psychedelic wonders come through. Following the opening salvo’s dirty Rock luster, here there is something more temporised and focused. Following from the head-spinning choral mantra, piano notes come in- struck initially…an ellipsis is unfolded, before another note is firmly uttered. It gives the song a combination of stern romance-cum-urgency that gets you intrigued and hooked- just how will the track unfold? The graceful and immaculately swooning vocal (that enters) is an unexpected sound. From the Rock god grime and gravel (of the opener); we now hear the tender and chorister hero- with a heartbreaking vocal delivery. Mixing R ‘n’ B soulfulness with stunningly pure falsetto, the song goes into romantic territory. Bathed by the moonlight and the twilight glow, there is a bit of an edge to the profferings. At first, promises are investigated; being treated right- staying pure and righteous. As the story and background is unveiled, it seems the song’s hero has been mislead- “She swore to you that she was 17.” Perhaps a juvenile and deceitful heroine has been leading the man astray- instantly your mind bonds to avenues of mis-matched love and something a little seedy. Under the graceful and exceptional spine-tingle of the vocal tremulousness, there is a great juxtaposition- the words become darker and slightly perverted; the presentation nothing but ethereal and transcendent. Pouring as much chocolate, silk and sexuality into a voice (as I have heard), our hero acts as a pastor and guiding light- someone who is casting blame and looking down (at the scene). It seems the hero knew the truth all along- with regards the real age of the girl- but tried to fool himself. Maybe knowing- that the bond is perhaps ill-judged and unwise- the ingenue heroine is a bit surprised- her man wants to be friends; pushing her aside. Backing the frontman’s smooth and purifying vocal are sparse and evocative clicks; slinky R ‘n’ B beats- it is minimalist but hugely evocative. Biblical messages are the synonym for judgement- they seem irrelevant in the modern age. When situations like this arise- a young woman falls for an older man- fingers are pointed and naysayers get moralistic and preachy. Immune to the irony and irrelevance of holy scripture, they need to open their mind (and get in the real world). There is righteousness and universal truth in Holy Books- we all need love and closeness; the sense of not being alone. Every person wants to find someone who makes them feel less hollow and lonely- age gaps and cultural differences are not barriers; they are merely numbers and differences. In a world where there is too much sermonising and judgmental attack; embrace what life offers- the song’s heroine is wise beyond her years. Unsurprised by continued and endless judgement, there is a need to break free and escape- the modern life Romeo and Juliet are being pilloried and divided (by narrow-minded forces). You root for the heroine and want her to be happy; she is being pushed away for no good reason- that tangible sense of sorrow and regret comes through. It is the heartbreaking and spellbinding vocal that makes the song such a naked and stunning gem- such a contradiction to the events of Sugar. Calgaris have effortlessly evolved from low-down sweaty strut- where monster riffs feast on the bones- to something gorgeous, wise and hugely evocative. The beats crackle and conspire with haunted piano; our hero’s voice rises towards the end. He provides words of solace and hope- the heroine will find light in “the darkest times.” Someone worthy and good will win her heart. As our frontman lets his voice soar and rapture, the words are underlined and intensified- hold out for the right person and they will come along. Displaying the same sort of knee-buckling potential (as the likes of) Sam Smith, the vocal is a stunningly entrancing thing- you are sucked into the song’s beauty. Not only does it mean the E.P. ends with a gorgeous and powerful ending- it concludes with the finest track. From the trippy and odd beauty of Knots; through Pop majesty and swaggering sweat- the E.P. comes full-circle. It ends with as much brilliance as it begun; has seen so much passion and mesmerise- the band manage to whip up a huge amount of wonderment (across four tracks).  Having accrued some fevered and awed press, the E.P. will be picking up a lot more- giving the vibrant quartet plenty of impetus and patronage.

Before I get down to congratulating the band’s players, it is worth investigating the album (some more). The production is incredible and atmospheric throughout. Polished and clear, all of the myriad notes and diversities are given full room to shine- nothing is mixed too low and buried. Most new bands- when unveiling an E.P.- tend to put the vocals too far down the mix. This leads to incomprehensible and muffled offerings; the intelligibility of the lyrics gets lost. All of the vocals, compositions and words come through crisply and concisely (on I). With full consideration towards nuance, emotion and resonance; the production ensures every note and sound glimmers and gleams (with intent). The track listing is perfect, too. Knots is an obvious opener- although it would have worked as a outro. track. APLT is a perfect follow-on (from Knots). It has a wonderful blend of humour, charm, catchiness and darkness- going in too hard or soft would have been an unwise move. From that heaviness-cum-passion arrives Sugar- a song that marries stunning riffs with some accusations and disjointed love. Needing something redemptive and spectral, Holy Books offers just that. A gorgeous swan-song; the band manage to run a full gamut of emotions- ending with uplifting and sensational beauty is the perfect move. Leaving the E.P. on the finest track, the quality increases song-by-song. Far surpassing their contemporaries and peers, Calgaris have crafted a wondrous and sensational E.P. With only three tracks (four if you include Knots) it leaves the listener wanting more- you end the record needing more of their creamy goodness. Most other acts would artlessly shove half a dozen tracks together; pack too much into their records- meaning the quality would dip. On I, Calgaris ensure the quality never dips; there is a constant momentum and sense of fascination- the public are definitely going to want to hear more. Although drops of Jack White, You Me at Six, Thom Yorke and Led Zeppelin may come through (on certain numbers), you are going to struggle to find any sound-alikes- the band are very much in control of their own unique personalities. Fusing multiple genres and decades (through their music) the E.P. is a triumph of style and substance- over copycatting and limited ambitions. It is worth congratulating the incredible drum work that occurs (throughout the E.P.). On numbers like Sugar it is a beastly and primal thing; not only does it wail and unleash its potent power- it manages to keep things controlled (and drive the song forward). Through I, the percussion work guides and drives the songs; keeps the back firm (and offers up so much passion), urgency and soul. Determined and stout; swaggering and pulsating, the performances are consistently gripping. The bass work is brilliant and authoritative. Melodic, tight and muscular, there are so many shades and variations- on each song, new sounds and deliveries come out. Like the greats of bass, Calgaris ensure they do not lazily slop together their bass notes- there is a clear sense of drama, lust and fervency throughout. Snaking and pulsating on Sugar; catchier and more Pop-inspired up top, it is impressive how many genres, lines and layers are worked (into the bass). With the guitars almost stealing focus and attention, plaudits must be paid to them. Together with keys and electronics, the instruments uncover so many different emotions and thoughts. When moods are bad-ass and rebellious, the riffs strut and punch their way through; when cosmic and astral moons swirl and circle- the keys and electronics are suitably evocative and dreamy. On Holy Books the piano is the standout; on Sugar the guitar riffs steal focus; on Knots both spar for focus. The vocal deliveries are stunning throughout. Within cuts like Sugar, that man-on-a-mission grit unites the Blues-Rock gods of the U.S. with the Britpop masters of the U.K.- it is an authoritative and hugely urgent performance. APLT has more Pop-flavoured elements- the vocal remains upbeat and is consistently gripping and emotive. On Holy Books the performance is a still and tremulous revelation- a stunningly pure thing (that showcases the full range on offer). Impressed by the wonderful vocals of our hero, it is an instrument that could achieve anything; sit comfortably within any type of song- it never yields to convention and predictability. The acuity and focus Calgaris put into I results in a sensational and wonderful debut- one of the most impressive sapling E.P.s (I have heard this year). If another E.P. (or album) were to come in 2015, it is going to be one of the most sought-after releases of the year- early feedback has been incredibly laudable and complimentary. It seems that no reviewer or listener will be immune to the wonders and staggering quality of the record- make sure you grab a copy.

Unbridled passion and urgency comes out in I- an E.P. that does Calgaris proud. The northern quartet has their sights trained and set to the coming year- look out for them. It is clear they have ambition and plenty of quality at their disposal. Unlike a lot of modern-day Indie acts, the trio have a unique edge and sense of identity- they are not a humdrum and regurgitated incarnation of Arctic Monkeys. The trio (of fully-fledged numbers) on I showcase plenty of intelligence, conviction and determination; there are layers of sounds and lots of unexpected moments- the force and scintillation is hard to ignore. Not too cocksure and swaggering; never too lightweight and unmemorable, the gang have struck upon a wonderful sound. Their E.P. is a tight, taut and stunning testament to their endeavours and ambitions- I am sure we will be hearing a lot more of them in the near-future. Imbuing their music with tight and compelling performances, incredible vocals- stunningly rich and mesmeric compositions- I am predicting some very good things. Too many up-and-coming acts have little in the way of true potential and uniqueness- even some mainstream artists seem to be bogged-down and stuck in a rut. Calgaris’s mix of dirty Rock songs and sweeter Pop moments sits incredibly well together; they have a natural affinity for everything they play- that conviction and urgency comes through strikingly. Before I finish up, it is worth scanning around the U.K.; seeing what new music is offering up- what sort of sounds will be popularised and expounded. I have probably heard my fill of vague and limited Indie bands- it is always nice hearing one with huge potential and a variegated sound. New music’s nomenclature rankings will see the best bands defined by originality and difference- not those that lazily play and ply (with little regard for sticking in the mind). Too many bands do not resonate and seduce; their sounds fail to hit at first- dissipating with little charming linger. Calgaris have restored faith and invigoration in me; they are among the hungriest and most pressing bands of today- it will be fascinating to see where they go from here. Already growing in stature- across their native towns- the quartet are gathering steam and propulsion. The Yorkshire-based band’s apparel is as distinct, colourful and fashionable as any out there- that blend of cool-cum-classic is a valuable commodity. There are scant few (acts) that unify fascinating sounds and scenes together; ensure they linger in the imagination- Calgaris will be making big steps across 2015. I hope they come down to London so I can see them play; hear I in the flesh- get to witness the music in its natural setting. The guys should be proud of what they have achieved; reconcile this lust and potential into some great future cuts- I am sure they have songs and ideas percolating and circulating their brains. It is just left to me to offer recommendation: check out the intrepid Calgaris and all they have to offer. They are not an act that are going to be short-term and transitory. If you want your music Indie-flavoured; with edges of softer Pop and dirtier grooves- something exciting, anthemic and soft at once- then check them out. So many bands do the bare-minimum (and do not stay in the mind). Calgaris are an act that will definitely strike your brain and soul…

IT is about time, too.

 

 

About the Author:

http://musicmusingsandsuch.wordpress.com/about/
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Follow Calgaris:

Official:

http://www.calgaris.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/calgarismusic

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/CalgarisMusic

Instagram:

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Calgaris videos available via:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_qt7jTP3tbmBzWTweTnmRA

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Calgaris’s music can be found at:

https://soundcloud.com/calgaris

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For all tour dates/gigs:

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Track Review: Go Wolf- Talk to You

TRACK REVIEW:

Go Wolf

 

Talk to You

9.5/10.0

Talk to You is available at:

https://soundcloud.com/lovegowolf/talk-to-you

RELEASED:
12th August, 2014

LABEL:
Ooh La La Records

RECORDED BY:
Rocky O’ Reilly at Start Together Studios

MASTERED BY:
Robin Schmidt at 24-96 Mastering

GENRES:
Indie-Pop, Electro.
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They met in a Belfast barber shop- during a poetry-reading night- and have gone onto support the likes of CSS and London Grammar. With a charming back-story and scintillating sense of momentum, Go Wolf will be future headline stars. Talk to You is an incredible mixture of beauty, electronic rush (optimism and infectious Synth.-Pop seductions)- a track that is 210 seconds of unadulterated and unabashed fun

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WHEN considering my featured act…

band variation is at the precipice of my thoughts. I am starting to formulate my own band proposals- one of the reasons I am stepping aside from reviewing- and music’s lure is too captivating (to refute). I have four people in mind- to complete the quintet- all of the songs mapped and formulated; the designs and inputs all sorted. Currently I am intoxicated and in awe of Fleetwood Mac’s masterpiece Rumours- one of the finest albums in music history. That album has transformed my way of thinking- I will mention Go Wolf soon- and altered my creative projections. Having put the L.P. to one side- for a few years- and reintroduced it to myself; its nuance and passion is inspiring and utterly gripping. The three best tracks on the album- Go Your Own Way, The Chain and Dreams- are all defined by their spirit and energy. There is that mixture of pessimism and optimism; love strife and dreaming- the music across the trio (of songs) is uniformly spellbinding. Away from the top three, gems like Don’t Stop and Never Going Back Again are not far behind- it is a majestic and magnetic album. In addition to there being diversity and a range of emotions, it is the band themselves that define the genius- given the turbulence (that defined the album’s recording) it is stunning it got completed at all. Deceit and skullduggery came into the studio; the warring members recorded vocals behind each other’s back; songs’ true meanings were cloaked and sly- poor old Mick Fleetwood was caught in the middle; the peace (and time) keeper. Across the 11 tracks of Rumours, unparalleled wonder was acheived- I am surprised the songs have not affected other bands. Fleetwood Mac do inspire a lot of Folk and Pop acts, yet few modern-day artists (draw directly from them). One of the reasons behind this is the lack of diversity and originality. If you have a quartet or quintet, the members tend to be all-male or all-female- a minority consist of gender mix. Homogenised and culturally limited, a great deal of acts come off as predictable and cliché- artists that take risks are those that stick in the memory. An album like Rumours is so strong because of the male-female perspective shifts- the things McVie and Nicks brought to the table differs from that of Buckingham and Fleetwood. Although the best song on Rumours were written by Lindsey Buckingham- Go Your Own Way- the most compelling enigma variations are Christine McVie’s- she covers the most creative ground. The blend of vocals made the songs stand alive; the distinct personalities all blended marvellously- an all-male (or female) band could not write Rumours. This album has compelled me to form my own band- it will have two females; two (other) males- one of whom will be from the U.S.; another from Europe. Songs will be more fully-rounded and fascinating; there are creative possibilities a-plenty- fewer restrictions and borders. I respect acts that stick to a sole sound or a lone gender- it is traditional and safe. When you broaden your band and make-up you open up new possibilities and avenues- Go Wolf have provided this. A relatively new band, their incredible mixture of sounds and genres have been enticing critics. Whereas a lot of modern-day acts are guitar-toting, muscle-flexing examples; Go Wolf are a slick, sophisticated and ambitious act- who prefer intelligence and fascination over force and samey riffs. The trio is a strong unit, but understand the importance of female collaboration- adding special and divine tones into their melting pot of Electro.-Synth wonder. Before I raise a couple more points- and touch more on the band themselves- let me introduce you to Go Wolf:

Go Wolf met at a random poetry night in a Belfast barber shop, enjoyed each others’ poems and a similar dress sense, got talking, decided to form a band, and quickly became one of the most talked-about new names in the Belfast music scene. Having recently supported the likes of The 1975, CSS and London Grammar, and having been officially signed to … the band have finally decided to release their much-anticipated new single called Talk To You. Talk To You is an infectious artful synth-pop song, which resembles Wild Beasts, Phoenix and The Killers at their best. Catchy and sophisticated vocal lines, rhythmic drum patterns and straight to the point production make it a memorable and accessible blend of all the right ingredients that will stick in one’s mind and make for a perfect sing-along summer track. The pulsing and toothsome arrangement brings creativity, positivity and subtlety into the surface and produces a 3 minute 30 seconds experience of pure fun. Go Wolf peddle an unlikely variant of 80s synth-pop cut with 21st-century electro-indie edge resulting in a slick yet endearing new single Talk To You which is available for sale and download NOW.”

Having been contacted by Liv Slania- a representative of the band- she explained how the guys came together; who gets their motors running- I was compelled to seek them out. The likes of Wild Beasts and Phoenix count as influences and idols- the former are a favourite band of mine. Wild Beasts are such an eclectic and stunning act; a singular group that offer electronic luster and literary references- tableaus of love-gone-wrong and sexual amore. Having supported the likes of London Grammar, The 1975 and CSS, it appears Go Wolf require no leg-up: they are already under the spotlight of the nation’s most influential critics. The band’s coming-together has all the hallmarks of a fascinating U.S. Indie flick- it would be great to see Go Wolf’s back-story committed to screen. I can picture the Belfast scene and sights; the romantic air and convivial atmosphere- the mutual respect and fascinating seduction. A lot of bands come together through shared ritualistic pissing contests; gaudy and rowdy nights; chance happenings- there is little romance and individuality in the biographies. Go Wolf have the music to back up their illustrious and charming inception- the credentials and meaning is all cemented. There are touches of Wild Beasts’ sophomore album- Two Dancers- in addition to their current album. That mixture of sophisticated compositions and arresting vocals are there; stunningly vivid and electrifying scenes- the changes in mood all present. Go Wolf have had a pretty prosperous career- their past endeavours have gained them a huge reputation and respect; they are starting to gain their rightful acclaim and adulation. The stunning performances and tight songwriting is matched by gorgeous and sensual swathes; urgent and direct electronics- a wonderful and heady variation. Electro.-Pop movements and fizzing Indie segments go into their music. Current single Talk to You is infectious and bouncing; pulsing and uplifting- sophisticated and complex. The beauty of range and diversity shows itself here; it is small wonder critics are in awe (of the band’s) incredible machinations- no doubt they will be getting some festival headline requests. It is bands like Go Wolf- and Fleetwood Mac- that have inspired me to change my thinking- embrace a different way of working; look at strengthening my music and ideals. They met in an old-fashioned and vintage way- no cyber hook-ups and Facebook requests- and in a way they marry traditional and contemporary (in their songs). The music is cutting-edge and modern; it has some terrific shades of ’80s Electro.-Pop and Disco- vibrations of CSS and Wild Beasts. It seems the Belfast-formed, two-year-old band are going to have a glistening future; they have achieved so much in a short time- with each new record they gain fresh momentum and plaudits.

When looking at acts that have inspired Go Wolf- and can be heard in their music- there are a few name that occur. Although Go Wolf have some unique and original overtones, I can detect some undercurrents of other acts. In terms of British influences, the like of Wild Beast come to mind. In terms of album comparisons, Two Dancers and Present Tense have made their mark. The former was released back in 2009 and marked a huge leap forward- Wild Beasts’ debut gained mixed reception. Stepping aside from the eccentricities and divisiveness of their debut, Two Dancers was more focused and lush. Hugely portentous and galvanised, the album was polished, cohesive and inviting. Caressing and sighing, the album saw more romance and subtlety come into play- Hayden Thorpe’s falsetto turned into something more restrained and arresting. The songs on Two Dancers were meant to relate to one another; a collection of scenes and dramas, it was an album fuelled by sensual desires and carnivorous lust- youthful carousing and flirtatiousness sparred with spookiness and grand dynamics. Whilst the album came off as dark and brooding- for the most part- the strength came with the overall sound: the gorgeous and varied compositions; striking vocals (of the band’s two leads); the tantalising wordplay and images. Go Wolf incorporate some of Two Dancers‘ incredible injections and facets; the same thematic unity- the stories that revolve around similar themes. While the Kendall band erred towards drama and libidinous endeavours, Go Wolf play with more romantic and pure ideals; ventures of love and satisfaction- while presenting some darker and spicier undertones. What Two Dancers provided was lyrical and focused assault- the swoops and theatrics were in place; here they were more temporised and likeable. Tom Fleming’s rich and velvety baritone mingled perfectly with Thorpe’s wild and untamed countertenor- almost like two lovers uniting. Go Wolf marry similar striking and compatible voices- the soothing and sensuous feminine wonder; the masculine and sonorous tones. Wild Beasts achieved maturity and immersive organicness- their lyrical incongruities were all still in place. On Two Dancers, the boys created a flawless and cohesive album- one where there were no weak tracks or lesser moments. This consistency and solidity bellies the predictions of the current music scene- where bands have little regard for overall concision and glory. Go Wolf have their ears and eyes progressing forward; they have provided consistent quality and excellence- becoming strengthened and assured with each release. Mature and juvenile; otherworldly and realistic- Go Wolf throw in the heady spices and flavours of early-career Wild Beasts. The Yorkshire boys’ latest effort- Present Tense- saw a more considered and sleek approach. Smother- the predecessor album- was more logical and softened- on Present Tense the band sounded more jaded than intent. Harsher truths and angered rebuttals provided the L.P.’s manifesto and hallmark- the sounds and atmospherics were no less stunning and mesmeric. Love and loss were investigated with poetic regard; the beautiful and intelligent lyrics count among the band’s finest- the boys hit their peak. Go Wolf have a similar contrast and range of emotions (at their disposal). Adept as lustful and elliptical rushes; they investigate shadowy and tormented possibilities- a fertile ovum that has produced some scintillating progeny. Lyrically, Go Wolf have an exceptional pen and songbook- able to match Thorpe’s drama, romance and stunning wordplay. The Killers are another band that have been drawn to Go Wolf. The U.S. legends produced their finest work with Hot Fuss- I can hear embers and shades in our trio’s sounds. The catchy Pop hooks- of Hot Fuss- were partnered with infectious energy (and a dalliance with fresh romance and love). The charm and boyishness of Brandon Flowers’ delivery made the album such a popular success story- the sparkling beats and alluring swathes recall the ’80s giants like Duran Duran. Go Wolf have an affection and affiliation with ’80s Synths. and beats- the sort the Durans and Depeche Modes conquered and perfected. The youthful energy and anthem-laden Hot Fuss brought The Killers into the public consciousness- inspiring legions of current bands. Go Wolf have taken some of their debut album quality on board- instilling that spirit and incredible passion. In addition to British and U.S.-born influence, French band Phoenix have enforced Go Wolf’s direction. If we look at their 2013 album Bankrupt!, that excited critics and the public. Meticulous, danceable and intoxicating, the album mixes confusion with anti-Pop ambitions. The thrill-ride progressions and movements saw flashy and meaty synths. layered with guitars- to create an inventive and crowd-pleasing gem. Go Wolf draw in Synth.-Pop, ’80s Electro. and New Wave- the same sounds Phoenix ladle into their boiling pot. Drawing a lot of influence from ’80s music, Bankrupt! sounded strangely bracing and fresh- major-to-minor key changes (and galloping beats) are pervaded. Breakdowns and build-ups created endless potential and atmosphere; the winsome vocals and sentimentality ramped-up and exploded. What you get from Bankrupt! is utter coolness and deep layers- an album that reveals its full potential over time. Go Wolf inject these qualities as they do overlayed synths. and electronics- to bolster and augment elliptical and ebullient sunshine. Thomas Mars- lead singer of Phoenix- has made some impressions with Go Wolf’s lead- his tones are equally stunning and evocative. The final band I will mention are the XX- an act that have made impacts on a lot of modern-day Electro. and Synth.-Pop acts. The band’s self-titled debut has made some impressions on the Belfast three-piece. The sleek and fully-formed authority- on the XX- marked the band out as a compelling and fantastic group. Impeccably groomed arrangements mingled with uniqueness and mystery- evocative allure and vast maturity were album bywords. Radically simple Indie-Pop and fractured rhythms came out. Aloof sensuality created intriguing romantic conversations- elements Go Wolf instill into their work. Whilst more consistently upbeat and arresting, Go Wolf make their love duets and tender moments as arresting and startling. They fuse multiple genres and furtive endeavours; abstract elements make their sound so distinct- they match the XX’s levels of interest and potency. Longing apologies and post-coital slithers made- and make- the XX such a phenomenal proposition; the combination of distinct vocals adds beauty and sensation to their music. Go Wolf have slightly less harsh male tones; more serene and rounded female ones- their music is more positive and less sexualised. What the two bands share is a common D.N.A.- that ability to take the listener’s mind away; make your soul and brain float in an ocean of beauty- capture your sights with its startling craft. The xx- on their follow-up album Coexist- ramped-up the sonics and sounds; became more alive and alert- rather than somnambulistic and fatigued. This transformation parallels with Go Wolf. Whilst the Belfast-formed group were not exactly slow and weary (on their debut), they have shown a similar development and leap- become more arresting and enlivened. Fragile exultations and delicate abstract moments sat with eloquence and unabashed pleasure- the sort of strands Go Wolf have taken from Coexist. I feel Go Wolf have more muscle and determination- their twin vocals more natural and gratifying. While the XX have struggled to supersede the boundaries of reflection and heartbroken, Go Wolf are masterful (when it comes to juxtaposed moods)- as remarkable when introverted and questioning as they are vivacious and delirious. It is best to judge Go Wolf on their own merits- fans of any of the acts mentioned (above) will find much to enjoy. Go Wolf have a distinct approach and way of working- I am loathed to compare them readily with another act. It will be great to see how they develop and project in the future- whether they change styles and moods or build upon their current templates. They have a weight of support and dedication; a hugely confident and ambitious sense of discovery- they are a band that seem ready and primed for the big-time.

Go Wolf have only released an E.P. and single- prior to their current single. That in itself makes Talk to You so impressive. The song sounds like it has been produced by a band with twice their experience and age- you get an instant sense of authority and conviction. One More Night was released back in June and showed a leap forward- for Go Wolf. Insatiable and gleeful beginnings provide huge atmosphere and potential. The vocals strong and impassioned- uplifting and utterly gripping. Our hero asks how he got to this point; there is confusion and a myriad of thoughts- backed by pulsing and pressing drums, the insistency and passion is hard to shake off. Our man does not want to hold onto long-gone feelings; revisit a place that could cause harm- the male-female vocal dynamics adds depth, sensuality (and a tangible) gracefulness and conviction. Like a love song being played out, the band’s vocalists give off embers of Bombay Bicycle Club and CSS- that same evocative and tremulous sound. The addictive and catchy chorus coda is designed to lodge in your brain; hypnotising and emotive vocal concoctions are nothing but upbeat and determined- designed to put the listener in a better frame of mind. Our duo do not want to be alone- that kinship and passion is still burning. The unity and love they shared is being sparked and rekindled- if only for one night. Sensuality and whispered promises are traded with beating hearts and shivering souls- that naturalness and intuition is intoxicating. Cheery and upbeat swathes wash over the landscape; your feet are motivated to get tapping; you find yourself singing along- it is an insatiable and sensational cut. Back in October 2012, Go Wolf unveiled their debut offering- the E.P. Voices. Possessed of a title track (and four remixes), the song- variations and versions- were celebrated and lauded. The song- radio mix- begins with harmonies and cohabitation vocals. Uplifted and ebullient electronics put me in mind of the XX- our band are more upbeat and elliptical. Our hero directs his messages- to the heroine- and wants her lips shut; he does not want to be controlled- the frontman is calling the shots. Shadows and visions are tormenting his mind; voices circulating the mind- torment and haunt are lingering. Voices come in the middle of the night; constant niggles and doubts are causing reflections and confessions- it seems like a love has broken down and left its scars. The vocals blend seamlessly and firm- the lead duo make sure the listener is seduced and gripped. A full and bold sound, it is perhaps less widespread and busy as current sounds- there is a focus and singularity here. Concentrating on the vocals and lyrics, less emphasise is put on expansive sounds and multifarious notes. Soloing and wordlessness is backed by a heartbeat and sturdy percussion sound- the band unite to turn in a thoroughly tight and concentrated performance. Less overt and full (than One More Night), Voices has a Killers/Wild Beasts vibe- that anthemic and cultured commingling. Gorgeous vocals- from our heroine- possess beauty and serenity; the counterpart contributions are strong and empowered- the blend is incredible. The modern Electro. sound- the likes of La Roux are interpreting- can be heard here; the spring and punch gets under your skin- and makes you smile. With a repeated chorus- that is unforgettable and indelible- the track- and E.P. is a triumph. Over the two years- from their E.P. to current single- Go Wolf have developed and evolved. Their lyrics sound more confident and honed; they have a greater sense of individuality and purpose- their ,music is fuller and more joyous. Whilst Voices remains a stone-cold diamond, the effusive and spellbinding moments (on Talk to You) see them change the game; up the ante and produce something wonderful- they have developed into a more authoritative and commanding act; one that takes risks and gambles- all of which pay off. The increased volume and body results in more intriguing and nuanced sounds- songs that entrance you with their positivity and uplifting potential. Talk to You  matches their finest moments; it is going to lead to some tantalising future releases. Bubbling, graceful and happy, the smiling evocativeness wins you over- the soothing and sweet vocals are wonderfully graceful and gripping. Upbeat and positive, the song is rich and packed- the composition is crammed with life and possibilities. The light and glistening shine glows with pride; it is driving and swelling- an assault designed to get your body moving. Summer-ready and sunny, the song is sure to seduce and adopt a wide range of hearts and minds- it sounds bracingly fresh and unique. Stepping away from the likes of Wild Beasts and CSS, the group have established their identity and true sound- one I hope to hear a lot more of. There is a sense of California and the U.S. here; the beach-calling beauty akin to The Beach Boys. Touches of  Prince and Fleetwood Mac come out- in the Electro.-Pop crackle and incredible duel vocals. Few modern bands have such a distinct and stunning sound at their disposal- it appears Go Wolf are more confident and ambitious (than they have ever been). This will translate into some exhilarating and brilliant future movements- I hope the band are thinking of a possible E.P. (in 2015).

Beginning with a delightfully charming and sweet-natured coda, Talk to You mixes ’80s synth. sounds with choppy electronics. Drawing in the most elliptical and passionate sounds (of modern-day Pop-Synth.) with a unique and feel-good vibe. The sensation of love, summer and freedom- it wraps you up in its warm and inviting waters. The song looks at relationships- the revival of a special bond. As the stunning keyboard notes get the song off to a flyer, you are not looking for anything (or anyone else)- you’re hooked and compelled by the drive and fervency. Swirling sounds and pressing vocals enforce the song’s messages and necessity. The universal themes are those that can be extrapolated by all- the need to cling onto something precious; that which we cannot get rid of. With our hero determined and imploring, he asks his sweetheart “Can I stay right here?” Clearly, the bond and relationship is intoxicating and too good to fail. The vocal bounce and stutter adds force and gravity- the blending of male-female vocals gives the story extra relevance and tangibility. Guitar links have funk and insatiable swagger; white-hot and multifarious, they bond perfectly with the central vocal- it never lets its sense of impression and dedication slip. As our frontman watches the sun set; the scenes and people go past his window, you know what he is thinking- and who he is thinking of. Swathes of Wild Beasts’ electronic luster and symphony comes into effect- touches of their Modern Tense evocative best- bits of Noah and the Whale’s early-career optimism; smatters of ’80s Electro.-Pop. When Go Wolf press and campaign, our hero gets his girl back- back to the start; the two hearts unite and commingle. You can almost picture the scenes; smell the scents and feel the rain fall down- the two sweethearts are rekindling an historical and treasured bond. It is the chorus that resonates the hardest- the coming-together of all the band’s variegated and glistening notes; the distillation of pure sunshine. Backed and propelled by snapping and whip-sharp bass, the keys and electronics blend to unleash a heady smoke- able to intoxicate and overwhelm. The central message of the song is the need to talk things out; keep it simple and open the lines of communication- the thoughts do not needlessly race to the bedroom. The purity and child-like innocence is never cloying or effete- it works wonderfully among the scenes of pure and unfettered love; the necessity to reestablish a much-needed connection. Unable to let go and walk away, the sheer urgency and desire comes out in the vocal- never overstated or rampant; just perfectly balanced and controlled. Ensuring that the reality and purity of the emotions remain solid, the performances balance lightness and potency- the voice never needlessly stretches or overpowers. When our hero breathes in- having heard his name spoken (by his girl)- and out; it is just the same- the joy of the early romance is back and firm. In a scene where a lot of Electro.-Pop sounds play with darker and heavy sounds; introspective and emotion lyrics- it is terrific to hear something unashamedly upbeat and redemptive; a song that has no truck with unhappiness and relegation. Never does a sense of defeat come in; our hero is going to make things work (and last)- ensure nothing goes wrong. Throughout the song there is a sense of tease and intrigue- most of the song looks at instigating conversation and initial steps; you speculate whether the lovers obtained full disclosure and satisfaction- with the breezy and endlessly cheery sounds sparkling away, your mind is taken elsewhere. When the beats crackle and snap with the bass drive; the electronics and keys unite with guitar- a danceable and hypnotic sway is released; it implores the listener to move their feet and dance. Perfect for the summer (if we ever see it) moods and festival openness, Talk to You is an insistent and ubiquitous as any track- it wants everyone to fall under its spell. Castigating morbidity, the snaking and winding composition burrows into your brain- causing a sting (and casting its spell). Go Wolf present quite a vintage and filmic lyrical presentation. There are no sweaty clubs and bar room scenes- proceedings are a lot more civilised. Playing out like a Romeo and Juliet (night-time clandestine meeting), the sweethearts exchange words and proclamations- our hero is remembering the words his girl spoke. As the rain beats down, you wonder what was being said- whether the proferrings were positive or slightly more reserved. Judging by the optimism and ebullience of the vocal, one suspects things will work out and be rekindled. Gripped (still) by the kaleidoscopic soirée of tantalising rhymes, Go Wolf keep the mood rampant and incapable of fatigue. Talk to You wins you over with its economy and simplicity. Although the composition is a complex and layered thing, the lyrics and delineation has a clean accessibility. The chorus is repeated and revoked to provide maximum effect and resonance- those catchy and direct words are designed to make you sing-along and never forget. Between the choruses, the verses and offerings are not cluttered and crowded- there are few original lines; that only adds to the effectiveness of the song. It means the composition and vocals are allowed to breathe and improvise; space is given to allow every note and consideration to come into the light. Towards the final moments, the spiraling and dizzying composition builds and mutates. Unexpected synths. and keys are brought in: something darker, squelching and buzzing mixes with the springing and celebratory core. As the track ends, it is impossible not to feel better and more alive; the song is endlessly bracing and wondrous. Packing so much sunshine wallop into a few minutes, Go Wolf craft another solid and shining diamond.

The Belfast trio have turned in another wonderfully assured and mesmeric cut. Like debut album-era Noah and the Whale, the central members add luster and beauty by combining a female voice- Noah’ had Laura Marling on board for Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down. Unlike Noah, Go Wolf are unable of crafting anything as twee and grating as 5 Years Time. Being familiar with their past work, the band seem to be growing in confidence and conviction- few other acts are as stunningly sure as Go Wolf. It will be great to see an album from the lads; see what they provide over the course of 10 or 11 tracks. It will be fascinating to see whether (an album) will be all-positive or have a mixture of emotions- I hope it will be the latter. In a music scene where negativity and broken hearts (still outweigh happy and optimistic figures), it is terrific to hear examples like Talk to You- songs that are defined by their bonhomie and scintillation. The production throughout is superb and wonderfully realised. The polished and gleaming sound gives the music a vitality and sense of clarity- the vocals and lyrics are not too low in the mix. Composition and vocals are balanced perfectly- to make sure the full and most effective presentation is unveiled. It is the boys themselves that stand out; their unimpeachable quality and sense of ambition cannot be faulted. Having unleashed their most immediate and effective song to date, it is a beauty that is befitting of the strangely cold and wet (summer) days- what we all need right now. With Electro.-Pop revivalists (like La Roux) making a name for herself, there is a need and desire (for similar music). Gaining fervent appreciation and positivity, Go Wolf’s latest offering will see them gain momentum and new consideration. Reviewers and critics have highlighted the breeziness and sunshine of Talk to You- how it puts you in a better frame of mind. Its messages are those relevant and meaningful to all- we have all been in a position where we do not want to let go of love. Less personal and individualised, the song is intended for everyone- who among us cannot relate to the messages that come through? Perhaps Go Wolf’s lead got his girl back; maybe they will last the distance- let us hope they do. It is the curiosity and build-up that captured me; the balcony conversations and rain-strewn promises. Most bands would go for the jugular- and present too much overt passion and sexuality- take little time to look at graceful and conversational avenues. Backed by sparkling and vibrant electronic colours, the combination of synths., keys and guitars unite- to whip up a fire of beauty and summer-ready glory. Driving and catchy bass lines perfectly melt in the mix; pushing the song forward (and ensuring no listener is left unaffected). The boys are incredibly tight and focused; there are no sloppy moments or aimless notes- everything is well-considered and perfectly presented. The vocal performance is never too full-on or overwhelming: it is as breezy as the composition but instilled with plenty of urgency and passion. His anonymous heroine clearly means a lot; someone who has had an effect on him- this comes through glaringly. With lyrics that look at desires and reigniting a meaningful bond, you cannot help but be won over by its intentions and desires. Altogether you get a cracking and stunning number; a song that marries ’80s synths. with some modern-day Electro.-Pop urgency. This year has been busy and productive for the trio; they are on a projection that will see them grow in stature- it will not be long until festivals and huge gigs are a real possibility.

Being a new follower and fan of Go Wolf, I have been investigating their past movements; looking into their work and early days- seeing the developments and changes. Having established a solid and sensational sound from the start, the group are growing in stature- Talk to You is their strongest and most vibrant song to date. I hope an E.P. or album is on the horizon; it is likely to be filled with similarly exceptional tracks- which will mark Go Wolf out as one of the most vital bands of the moment. After their supportive gigs (alongside London Grammar and CSS), they are in danger of being given the limelight- scoring top gigs and illustrious tour dates. All the evidence suggest they are ready to go; strike out and seduce at large. Having mentioned Fleetwood Mac and Rumours- up top- I am reminded of it once more. It is true Go Wolf do not present the same sounds and lyrical themes- the similarities come when you look at diversity and mobility. I am not saying our heroes will be producing a Rumours-esque album any time soon- they may do in time- yet they have a similarly heady sense of aim and wonder. A lot of Electro./Electro.-Pop acts exist at the moment; it seems to be the fastest-growing style of music- the likes of La Roux and FKA twigs are compelling legions of fresh acts (to present similar music). There is a lot of pleasure to be found in Electro. avenues- Go Wolf go beyond these walls and expand their palette. Having a unique and original voice, the rising stars are marking themselves out as mainstream contenders- 2015 will be a very exciting year for them. With summer seemingly over- the three days of warmth we had- we look towards autumn and winter- and God help us, Christmas. Colder and shorter days beckon; the icy and rain-lashed grip will be upon us- preserving sunshine and optimism is the most important thing (we should all do). Sensual and vivacious components make Talk to You such a much-needed and appropriate song- that which can banish the pre-autumn blues. Whether the Go Wolf warriors are thinking ahead (to new releases or not), it is clear they will be gaining fresh waves of fans- their stock and value seems to augment with the passing of each new calendar month. It is all richly deserved, it seems. From their intriguing and charming inception, their infantile movements and words; through to their current day- the group are growing and evolving with meaning and potential. Of course, there is a lot of work to be done; a great deal of countries to overwhelm and seduce- the world is their oyster. I hope the band manage to play the U.S. and Canada- nations that would embrace and behold their sounds. A lot of Europe and Australia proffer and promote similar-sounding acts and music- there are large masses of land that would welcome in Go Wolf. The band have a terrific management behind them; a clear direction and sense of self- music that imbues optimism and hope (without an iota of irony or sarcasm). Before I leave, I want to circle back to my own ambitions and music- selfish I know! My excitement and renewed optimism comes from new discoveries and uncoverings- from Fleetwood Mac to Go Wolf; musicians and bands are compelling and exciting me. Without poetry venue comings-together and pristine elliptical music; the business would be far duller and less wondrous- we have seen far too many sob stories and boring histories. Go Wolf are an exciting and mesmeric proposition; an act that seamlessly fit alongside their contemporaries- such as the XX and Wild Beasts- but provide distinct and original music. I look forward to seeing the group in the flesh; up-close and personal- seeing how their music translates in the live arena. Our music industry is discarding with the weakest and less effective artists; proferring the most fervent and inspirational- the imbalance is still clear and glaring. Too many vague and insipid musicians gamble about and wander- without a sense of direction and purpose. Let us hope that Go Wolf are not bogged down by the mediocre crop; given the chance to shine and expand- bring their special music to larger realms and audiences. With Reading and Leeds housing some of the world’s most important acts- the festivals are about to close- we turn our attentions to next year- who is going to be making headway and transitioning to the mainstream. If Go Wolf keep producing tracks like Talk to You, they are going to be very big- in next to no time. I will not pressure them (and offer up unrealistic proclamations and expectations)- they are going to want to focus on being grounded and level-headed. As the days get colder; the world a little harsher; people less reliable- embrace an act (and song) that wants to put you in a better mood; make you forget the woes and stresses of modern life. That is what we all need; this is what music is supposed to do. With that in mind, Go Wolf…

ARE leading a very impressive charge.

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