Track Review: Bi:Lingual- Subject Number

 TRACK REVIEW:

    Bi:Lingual 

 

 

Subject Number

9.7/10.0

 

Subject Number is available to pre-order from:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/subject-number/id895169530?i=895169558

RELEASED:

4th August, 2014

℗ 2014 Bi:Lingual

PRODUCED, MIXED AND MASTERED BY:

Jamie “Jampott” Donnelly

ENGINEERED BY:

Jamie “Jampot” Donnelly and Kurtis Brudenell

GENRES:

Rock, Hip-Hop, Rap.

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Incorporating elements of early-career Rage Against the Machine, The Streets, Plan B and Beastie Boys- together with lyrics that highlight a very relevant modern-day problem- you should embrace and follow Bi:Lingual. Subject Number is the sound of angry young men trying to change the world: their Rap/Hip-Hop-cum-Rock rush is one of the most essential cuts of 2014.

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WHEN it comes to daring in music, there are

not too many that takes real risks. In new music, there is a certain degree of adventurousness- bands and acts mix genres and different sounds together. As far as I can see, there are limits and confines: even those that broaden their horizons have an air of predictability to them. I love all that new music has to offer up: the new sounds and opinions; great songs that come from nowhere; beautiful and tender songs- everything in-between. One of the problems- when it comes to being pioneering- is the amount of risk involved: if you mingle sounds without too much consideration, you risk spoiling your music. I have seen so many different acts merge disparate and diverse genres: Rock and Soul are lazily put together; Indie and Grunge are fused- with little regard for consistency and coherence- few manage to successfully pull this feat off. When an act does manage to provide daring and unexpected sonic treats, it makes the music that much stronger- taking your mind from the predictable; putting it somewhere quite fantastic. As much as I have mentioned the necessity of hard-edged music- Rock, Indie, Grunge etc.- I have probably heard most combinations, formations and avenues- there is fantastic music to be found, yet little shock or huge originality. I feel that more bands and acts should be broadening their horizons; stretching their ambitions and offering up something truly unique and daring. Before I introduce my featured act, they raise a valid subject: Rock and Rap. Balkanized and distant cousins, the two rarely come together: they hang in different crowds and share different personalities. When musicians have conjoined the genres, the results have often been quite calamitous. Often the rapping is ineffectual and plain embarrassing; the Rock element distilled and vague- I struggle to find too many artists that have successfully combined the two. In the past there have been acts that have achieved this mean feat- I shall mention them in more detail later- yet modern-day acts fail to confound and stand out. It seems like such a shame really: so many new artists have a timidity and risklessness; meaning new music very much has limitations and boundaries. Those that push beyond these- step away from what is ‘expected’- some magic and fascination can be unearthed. I have another point to raise, but before I do, let me introduce you to my featured act:

Dylan Teague

George Louca

Aaron Lythe

Stephanos Louca

Bi:Lingual. The name says it all. Two cultures, one unorthodox language. We’ve seen the failures of rock and rap colliding in an ill-aesthetic form, but nothing succeeds like this. The front mans Afro brings more than a sense of style to the scruffs of the band, it brings a sense of security to the rap that forebodes. Baring witness to the waves of locks that behead the multi-talented rhythm section scream out we’re loud, we’re angry and the apathy we hold towards those who hate, presents the idealistic irrationality of them against the world. And Bi:Lingual are just that. A pure source to be reckoned with. Untainted and unashamed. They are what they are, and if you don’t like it you can go suck a dick. Penniless but not hopeless they’re here to stay whether you like it or not. But chances are when that kick drum, heavily fuzzed bass and guitar kick in to the pop orientated but ear drum shattering chorus, that Bilingual have made their trademark, your dick and your brain will blow, and swell, and vibrate to the point that an unconscious rattle in your head protrudes to a steady head bop that simply cannot be controlled. You are drawn in and intoxicated, and take my word for it, in a world so ugly, that’s what we need.

The angry young men have a lot of seething rage inside- they do make valid points. Aside from warnings of penile explosions; among the pseudo-philosophy; next to the oral sex invitations- their biography gives a glimpse into some pretty special musicians. It brings me to my second point: sonic innovation. Bi:Lingual have a degree of pent-up rage; they are innovators of the pretty reckless; they dare to be different and provide music not often heard- they are to be commended on this fact. Rebelling against those that offer hate and detachment, the boys have hit upon a sound that is perfect for these times: in a world that is getting less pretty with each day- their brand of scintillating and heady music is just what we need. There are plenty of acts and artists that can give you something beautiful and tender; those that have a melodious and well-considered approach to songwriting- sometimes what you need is something urgent, direct and utterly addictive. That seems to be missing a lot from the current scene- new bands are artists seem to lacking that necessary clout. Every Indie and Rock band that comes through shows a degree of rawness and primal passion; their songs project a modicum of violence- few remain in the memory in that particular sense. Grunge acts perhaps do it a little better; they can enforce some dominance and rage into their agenda- too many go straight for the jugular without thinking about the overall sound. What makes Bi:Lingual so impressive is the fact that expertly blend Rap and Rock: succeeding where others have failed, the boys summon up the edge and danger of Rap with the popularity and traditions of Rock- blended in their own inimitable way, their music is something you would not have heard too often. What makes them such a tantalising proposition- aside from their daring- is the amount of layers and flavours they put into their songs. They do not simply lump some Rap vocals over striking and stirring riffs- hoping that this will be enough to differentiate themselves from the masses. You can tell that intelligence, study and authority mandates their music: they have a clear love of past masters (of Rap and Rock); seamlessly fusing myriad sounds into their boiling pot- they have made sure that what they give to the public is of the highest order. The band’s lack of homogenization works in their favour: so many current acts do not mix cultures, nationalities and races- a lack of diversity enforces their make-up. Bi:Lingual mix languages in a very different way: musical languages that are never usually united in harmony. Clandestine and nervous, the group win you over due to the depth of their sounds; the ambition and sheer force that they provide- you just know how honestly they want to win you over. Before I progress, it is worth noting their business plan: the necessity to rally against the apathetic. Whether speaking politically- or musically- there is too much shoulder-shrugging and non-committal mutterings among the young: my generation seem happy to watch from a concrete balustrade as the world passes them by- when the time comes for them to stand up and take action, they do nothing. This can be applied to music too: few are willing to embrace unexpected and daring sounds; connect with politicised and spiking messages- more contended to embrace something less heady and oppressive. Whilst this natural instinct is coded in our D.N.A.; if you are unwilling to flee rather than commit- you miss out on some truly terrific music. Bi:Lingual are proponents of a new form of sound: something that is guaranteed to get your body moving; puts messages and truths into your skull- leave you feeling very different about yourself and music itself.

A lot of readers are probably new discoverers of Bi:Lingual- unaware of their past work and where they came from. For a fuller and more rounded experience of the band, it is worth looking back and hearing where they came from. Their debut E.P. came about in April, 2013. Entitled Do Misa, it was a quartet of tracks that showcased how strong the band were- right from the off. Such a tremendous mix of sounds and styles mingle over the four songs. Delilah has Pixie-esque backing strings; a ’80s/’90s Grunge/Indie mood lingers behind; guitar riffs arrive to explode and overwhelm- the percussion starts softer before becoming enraptured and devilish. At the forefront is a vocal expounding a love that cannot be broken: seeking Delilah, she seems to have fled and run away- our hero wants to capture her and bring her back. Menace and anger lurk with something more restrained: the projection is quick-fire but never demented (or lacking control). Showcasing the band’s signature blend of quiet and loud, it is a song that lodges in your head- an early classic. Songs such as The Scene and Zoology expand on this and offer up some new flair and fascination- the band inject more raucousness along these numbers; keeping alive a firm and contrite sense of measure and musicianship. The compositions are just as developed and alive; capable of seducing listeners with the faintest of notes. Growing Pains sees more primal lust and pound: the riffs are more demonic and intent; the vocal more direct and insistent- possibly the closest song that one can compare with Subject Number. On an E.P. that highlighted many sides and emotions, the band hit the ground running- it is a deep and compelling work that proffered a band with a clear ambition. Most acts would present a debut that was held-back and muted- the boys waste no time in separating themselves aside from the pack. A few short months later (in August), Doppelganger was unleashed. This brief interlude would suggest that a few half-decent tracks would be unfurled- the E.P. contains six quite brilliant numbers. Spiderwebs has crunchy and bouncing underpinnings; catchy riffs that have an air of Nirvana- the vocals tumble and rush forth. Investigating such topics as talent shows and the people who win them; the band wonder what the point is- what are they actually worth? With a chanted and bolstered vocal, it is endlessly gripping and intent. The band showcase their lyrical flair and inventiveness: weaving lines with a breathless pace; presenting topics that are relevant and true- tied to compositions that is endlessly fascinating. The E.P.’s title track sees Blues-Rock crunch come in- with some Jack White and Jimi Hendrix coming to the fore- as the band whip up a firestorm. The lyrics see dormant volcanoes, rivers of excrement and tension a plenty- the vocals see our hero forced to survive; impress the critics; survive vehicular carnage. Delivered like a sermon, the pace and passion of the delivery builds on their debut work- the band increase their confidence and sense of urgency. Some of Eminem’s venom and sound come out in the backing vocals- polydactyl and primeval psychedelic give the song a lustful and ’60s feel. Pluto is more low-down and rumbling; with some primitive anger it blends soft and loud; rage and temporized measure conspire- the track is one of the most interesting cuts on Doppelganger. Although Do Misa is an emphatic and stunning debut, their follow-up built up and cemented the band’s sound: the ambition and range grew; the songs more detailed and layered. Although there was no need for a huge sonic leap, songs like Spiderwebs compel you to listen over and over- elements of The Streets breathe in the frantic and mesmerising delivery. Given that Subject Number is a more brutal and attacking piece, some people may think that the band offer nothing but this. Their E.P.s show their full potential: tuneful jams and Blues-Rock swing are as synonymous as pulverising and demonised rushes- there is such a lot to be discovered; they appeal to all listeners. The biggest development- from last year’s output- is the sense of passion and directness- their latest cut is the most direct and impassioned number they have ever turned in. I would thoroughly recommend you check out Bi:Lingual’s back catalogue- there is so much pleasure and quality to be found. The last year has seen the boys look out on the world and events unfolding- the way they deliver Subject Number is imbued with as much anger and dissatisfaction as I have heard (from them). Any future E.P.s or album is likely to see similar tracks pervade; as the group have proved, there will be plenty of colour and light among the darker moments.

It is hard to draw too many comparisons when thinking of Bi:Lingual- the boys have such a unique flair and sound that it would do them a disservice. That said, they have some influences- intentional or not- that can be extrapolated from their music. One of the less obvious sources of inspiration is The Mars Volta. The Texan Prog.-Rock band mix Hispanic and Latin-influenced sounds with harder and more squalling Rock- works like Frances the Mute are spellbinding. Our boys put me in mind of The Mars Volta (and that album): they provide a heady thrill-ride; there is no pomposity or over-indulgence- instead it is nerve-shredding and primal; combining Hip-Hop and Classic-Rock, it is a cornucopia of music. Bi:Lingual have similar qualities and embers: their music sound like blueprints for live shows; that raw and open sound enforces their music’s directness- the songs reveal themselves across multiple listens and investigations. Our boys provide visceral moments and some degree of absurdity; impressive ambition as well as human emotion and beauty- very much like The Mars Volta. The Texas band are masters of confounding the mind and bamboozling the sense- their dizzying array of sounds and intentions overcome the senses. Bi:Lingual have a comparable gift and weight to them- their latest offering shows just how intense and gripping they can sound. A lot of commentators have compared the band to Beastie Boys- fair given that the two share some similar skin. Although our lads perhaps offer more spit and overt rage- than the U.S. legends- there are plenty of similar aspects one can draw. Beastie Boys probably hits their peak in the mid-late period of the ’90s: albums such as Hello Nasty certainly seduced critics. That album is probably the best starting-point when it comes to comparing Bi:Lingual. Our lads provide enough party and sense of celebration to put you in the mind (of that album’s mood)- there is festival and joy to be heard in their music. A veritable feast of sounds, the album mixes Lounge, Hip-Hop and free-spirit (of ’60s Psychedelia)- Bi:Lingual appropriate this sense of ambition and luster. Their melange of sounds never rest or relent- they display the same clear sense of daring and experimentation. The vocal performances (of our lads) perhaps contain some of the New York giants: that unique delivery and fascinating tonal regard is showcased in tracks like Spiderwebs. The anger and impassioned belt that comes through in Sabotage and Root Down rally and scream- sleaze and filth lies down in the cracks of the album. Beastie Boys mixed subjects like marriage, religion, corporate slackdom and modern-life communities; swirled it around samples, myriad genres and stunning ambition- to create wonderful results. Bi:Lingual have a clear and comparable gift that has already been highlighted- sure to be found on future releases. Another U.S. source of influence is Rage Against the Machine. Possibly the most obvious comparison; Bi:Lingual invoke a lot of Zack de la Rocha’s venom and insane vocal bite. The Rap-Metal band’s self-titled debut was such a terrific work because of the band relationships. With peers and contemporaries trying to match the band’s majesty and grandeur- and failing- the sympatico and bond between del la Roucha and Tom Morello (the band guitarist) is key- delivered by suburban white boys that had as much conviction as any of Rap’s most notable forerunners. The rebelliousness and emotionally-charged candour that was abound in R.A.T.M. can be compared to Bi:Lingual’s current movements- Subject Number marries Wake Up, Killing in the Name and Take the Power Back. Back in 1992- as of now- few acts were capable of fusing intelligent and meaningful lyrics with fiery and combustible compositions- our boys have a similar essentialness and towering muscle and grit. The way Rage’ expertly tie Rap, Metal and ’80s Hip-Hop together made their debut- and subsequent records- so fascinating and full. Bi:Lingual manage to summon the same emotions and conviction in their work- it will be fascinating to see if an album of theirs can match the heights of Rage Against the Machine. The final American comparable goes to Jimi Hendrix. In a few of the songs- across Doppelganger and Do Misa, the band unleash furious and psychedelic guitar riffs- putting you in mind of Hendrix’s finest work. Although not on the same rarefied plateau, there is an essence of the guitar master: the innate need to infuse the guitar with as much lustful brilliance and ragged and raw sexuality (comes out in Bi:Lingual’s music). Our band have a great ear for the terrific guitar sounds of the ’60s and ’70s- they can incorporate elements of Hendrix and his insatiable appetite for sonic danger. The last two influences I will mention are Plan B and The Streets. Two British Rap/Hip-Hop acts, the intrepid newcomers manage to tangle the street scenes and social commentary of both acts; the range and diversity of their music- adapt it for their own means and ambitions. As well as Ill Communication being a source of inspiration (for our lads), Ill Manors comes to mind. Plan B’s latest disc, it was the soundtrack for disaffected and impoverished youth: talking about the poor and needy; the kids on the streets- the danger and sense of anger that lurked in the minds of many. Politicised and potent, the album is purposeful, solid and a modern-day milestone: a relevant and pertinent sound of modern life Britain. Bi:Lingual have the ear trained to the streets: they know just how much of a struggle life is- how hard it can be to make your name and mark heard. Too many kids and musicians get hand-outs from talent shows; made fat with ill-deserved fame- too many people have to fend for themselves on dangerous streets. Sensing how much displeasure and disgust there is, our lads distill this into their music- soundtrack the voices of modern youth; add in political messages and their own spiked mandates- to score sounds that equal the potency and direction of Ben Drew. There is bleakness, obscenity and fear in Plan B’s vocals- he explores avenues other rappers are scared to tread. Bi:Lingual have a comparable braveness and fearless intent: they can inject foul-mouthed anger with intelligent and relevant codas; project appropriate panic and grime into the palette- wrapped up in brilliant hooks and diverse sonic soundscapes. The Streets is another name that comes to the mind. Original Pirate Material (his emphatic and eponymous debut) looked at being skint; eating chips and getting drunk- it was an album made genuine by someone who has been in that position- and experienced a harsh life. Mike Skinner blends humour and wit with social commentary and pugnacious prophecy: Bi:Lingual have a terrific ear for good-natured humour and unique phrasing- making Garage elements fresh and rejuvenated. Whereas Eminem projects his wit with a degree of insanity, The Streets place observance and truth above all else- the debut cut was rife with poetry, hard-hitting honest and free-association rapping. Few contemporaries convincingly update Skinner’s voice; keep that torch burning- ensure that 2014 Britain has relevant and important heroes. Bi:Lingual- alongside artists such as Kate Tempest- are deserving of equal acclaim: their movements suggest bold and creative voices that are in tune with the needs and pains of this generation- able to translate their pain and suffering into brilliant music. The urgency and conviction the likes of The Streets and Plan B utter is infectious and unforgettable: Bi:Lingual understand the world today- and the hardships faced- able to evoke this in their brilliant songs. Having given you a sense of where our boys come from- who inspire their mind- what their ambitions are- I better get down to reviewing Subject Number.

The song begins in a blitz of obscurantism; darkened in flagrante delicto as our frontman lets his words spit with fury and venom. It is said that “Pissing is a business“: surveying people who advertise their pictures, the hero is ignoring the “viciousness“- right from the off you are not allowed breath or any chance for surveyance. Signs of early-career The Streets and Plan B come to mind- particularly the latter- with that same direct and pleasing tone; authoritative and striking words- the band are laying down the law and making their intentions known. Perhaps aimed at the hollowness, celebrity and iniquity of modern-day Rock, the sting is directed at musicians and people who turn Rock into a “little bitch.” Rallying against a lack of adventurousness, passion or true spirit, it is a mandate to shake the modern-day Rock ‘n’ Roll purveyors- the first frantic ten seconds shows its anger towards people (who exploit their gift for arrogance and anger); the people who have no regard for the reality and true nature of music. Before any more words can be expounded, an exploding and rampant riff unfolds: the band get into R.A.T.M. territory to summon an annihilating and furious spell of deliriousness- pummeling in the mosh pit, the band are showing how Rock should be played- there is no room for tenderness and vagueness here, sir. Defined by crunching and monster riffs; furiously demented percussion; taut and psychotic bass, the coda gets inside of your brain- invigorates your fists to raise themselves aloft; implores rebellion and repressed tension to come pouring forth. A strangely catchy and addictive parable, you want it stay and play- caught in its combination of bonhomie-cum-feral vengeance, it is a stonewall blissed-out jam- the type Tom Morello would sever his head to get a hold of. Giving the music a spirit to infatuate, our hero is back on the mic.- ready to let his words tumble some more. Wondering how we have progressed from vinyl “to downloads“- aghast at the mindlessness and impersonalness of music- you can sense the annoyance and fatigue in his delivery. There is no bolshiness or impetuousness to be found: I feel similarly when it comes to music; we are in danger of losing the physical art of albums and songs- soon everything will be a ghost in the corporate machine. Our hero is in the quandary of an ill predicament: surrounded by “shit bands” and mind-numbing repellency, his words burn in the bonfire- raging against the serene; where the hell has the true essence gone?! Well, judging by the psychotropic recklessness and energy of Subject Number, it is right here: take note all you posing effeminate bands. With no musical reasons (why labels would “sign those“) you are entranced in the staccato and waterfall flow of the words: syncopated at times; purulent and determined the next; the pace and rapid-fire potency grabs you and drags you in- your mind is fully ensconced in the song’s vivid images. Displaying their innate wit (and ability to weave humour against pathos), the next lines are quite illuminating. Our hero lets it be known most bands just want their faces on “contraceptives and bobbleheads“- I know J.L.S. had their own brand of condom; there are too many jokes in there; I will get distracted. Everyone can emphasise and relate to our man’s plight: the commercialisation and celebrity brand (that comes with music) is polluting the water- too many new acts want to be media messiahs and tabloid fodder. If you are more concerned with having your own line of perfume or clothing, then you are in music for the wrong reasons- the acts that go down this road are unanimously awful and pointless. Not just confined to boy and girl bands, many ‘proper’ musicians are letting the cloak and dagger aspect of business cloud their judgement. The money and profit (bands will be reaping) does not equate to respectability and credibility: if your motives are driven by financial reward, then get the hell out of music. The cloying and nauseating fans- who snap up their branded merchandise- are just as culpable: funneling funds into the sludge, they are fueling this pernicious trend. Backed by an insatiable and overwhelming swagger, our frontman lets his voice mutate and develop- from the previous parable of scattershot Rap, we now go into Metal and R.A.T.M./Beastie Boys territory. Keen to get the lipid competition out of the picture; further his band’s own noble agendas, our hero wants them to “drop“- make sure that is “now.” I was impressed by just how far the vocal climbs. When scatting and rapping, our leader has some composure and melody- his tones are pleasing even when giving musicians a thorough dressing-down. In the second third, the screaming and wailing urgency comes to the fore: it is a libidinous and determined shout that emphasises the sense of desperation and annoyance. With the likes of Bi:Lingual working honestly- struggling to raise capital and patronage- it is not fair that untalented cretins are rolling in money (like pigs in shit). Our man is “sick of waiting“- possessed by a satanic and animalistic spirit, the blood-curdling roar is enough to scare the likes of One Direction all the way back to their mums. Of course, the vitriol and mission statement is not solely directed at the heroes of the 8-18 market- plenty of Indie and Rock bands are falling under our group’s attentions. Affirming their allegiance to real and veritable (and unfeigned sounds), you feel that Bi:Lingual are casting their poisoned net farther afield- perhaps artists like Kaiser Chiefs are in their mind. With a desire to see the wasters drop dead and retreat; renounce the throne (and desist with their evil ways). As the words are being poured- like gasoline on a bonfire- you get entranced by the delivery and composition- the former has an authentic Rap/Hip-Hop sway and pace to it that drives the song forward with fervency. The composition juxtaposes ‘traditional’ Rap/Hip-Hop sounds- electronics and samples- to give some true Rock grit and lust- the band play at such a force and speed that I would imagine they had to capture the song in one take! Our hero’s voice certainly couldn’t withstand too many re-records: after the 1:00 mark, you can hear it start to strain and crack- the ferocity and dominance of his delivery is stunning. The bi-polar projection allows refrain and calm to take over: we are back in the midst of a frantic and rifled verse. Attempting to euthanise clever talent shows; people who “show their sympathy” to the gullibility of the public (towards tawdry and pathetic sob story idols)- and wait on the phone line- wasting good money on conveyor belt musicians. Our hero shows an ear for atmosphere and delivery. Rather than let his words get buried and tangled in one another, he allows brief pause between certain lines/words: a tidal wave crashes…waits, and then rises back up again. Pointing the finger at “blind” viewers- that do not appreciate the pointlessness of the disposable ‘musicians’- the words here are as urgent and meaningful as any others- you just know how much the likes of The X Factor piss off the Bi:Lingual crew. Being of a similar mind, I share their disdain and perturbation- the likes of Simon Cowell and his orange face; pensioner waistline and student review put-downs are enough to put you off life altogether. Perhaps the vulnerability of the modern viewer is being exploited by monopolistic and proclivious companies; the scrupulous moguls and money-makes are keen to bilk the ‘faithful’- exploit their weaknesses and contribute to the “demise of the pedigree.” Lesser bands- there are too many of them- would not imbue their lyrics with intelligence and poetic potential. Showing the same lyrical flair and savvy (and witty suaveness) of Mike Skinner and Ben Drew, the words are not hyperbolic, conjecture and offensive- truth and obliviousness are represented in a shower of fragmented poetics and stunningly multifarious outpourings. Bereft of any sympathy, our hero has had enough of the Radio One music culture- the meaningless charts that document the true squalor and shallowness of music. Whereas their fond contemporaries are fighting in the trenches, the corporate penis-flickers are back at H.Q.- getting financial progesterone and ill-deserved adulation. It is great how much I relate to the song- sharing the band’s opinions- and the targets they charge towards- headlights bright and horn blasting. If they had mentioned the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, I would have ended this review here- the fact that Little Mix are name-checked brought a huge smile to my face. The epitome and embodiment of worthlessness; the glorified cover band (bands play instruments; these are marketing tools)- who ruin any cover they attempt- are infantilizing and demoralising music. Perhaps largely represented by prepubescent and pre-teen girls, you wonder if a moratorium could be imposed: ban anyone under 21 from buying music- ensuring that the likes of Little Mix, Neon Jungle and One Direction do as all a favour- and stick their head under a train. Emphasising how music is becoming more a business and charity case- replacing the days when musicians were ranked according to merit and promise- the order cognoscenti is wrong and corrupt. With hegemony going to the churlish and controversy-courting generation- who say the word ‘like’ every fifth or sixth syllable- the full passion of the words comes to light. With every kid from the “north and south” being a “fucking linguist“- supposed bona fide music-lovers on the order of false morals and impunity- the vague and plastic guitar proffering are hardly nascent revelations. The Pop and Rock acts that have as much credibility and conviction as Justin Bieber- the scummiest of the scum- think they are something special: deluded and deserving of opprobriousness, they are the ruination of music life. Backed by a guitar and percussive duel- sounding like a boxer punching his opponent- you can hear the gravel and concrete show its teeth- it is such a meaty and growling coda, you are helpless to resist its power. Mixing in reverbed and echoed vocal interjection; an additional layer of menace; malice and darkness comes in- our hero is a priest leading a holy quest- seeing his flock diminish and fall, he is atop a mountain. The vocal never loses its energy and avalanche: packing more into a syllable- than most acts pack into a song- you listen hard to take all of the words in (pausing and replaying lyrics to make sure you have all the information). Before the fever-dream chorus comes back to feast, the band let the composition have a bite: the stuttering and drunken blasts from bass, guitar and percussion provide a taut and tight ellipsis- preparing you for what is to come. By the time the chorus does come back around, you have more story on board- the words become more relevant and frantic- the song grows in stature and meaning. After the drowning gasps are spluttered; our hero tries to keep his emotions in check- I imagined he demolished the studio after the engineer and producer called things to a halt- and not let explicitness cloud his concision. As you prepare yourself for lyrical treats- more fascinating and intelligent lines- the instruments make sure they step into the limelight. The guitar is an arpeggio of firestorm fury and biblical resonance- Van Halen and Hendrix come to mind- complete with see-saw and considered modulation; there are touches of Muse thrown in- embers of their Black Holes and Revelations (epic fretwork) shows its scars. Distorting your mind and making your eyes spin, the parable is the aural equivalent of a burning pyre- our hero has ignited a flame that looks set to caramelize and incinerate the weakest of the species. When the chorus comes back around, the percussion stood in my mind. Matching the likes of R.A.T.M. for pure pummel, the percussion’s octopus-limbed cannoning is a thing of beauty- you would imagine Dave Grohl, Neil Peart and Brad Wilk Cellotaped to one another. Our hero is kept in check by authoritative and fatherly bass lines- plenty of exhibitionist power comes out; it makes sure the song does not show any loose seams or edges. With his voice still intact- how the hell has that happened?- he sounds like a man alight: having jumped into the fire, the only chance of survival is the cooling water of fairness and musical karma- you suspect that he has second-degree burns just thinking about the likes of Scouting for Girls and their ilk. Ensuring his fastidious and unimpeachable carniverousness remains strong, the final lines are delivered with just as much passion as at the start- the consistency and momentum is never-ending and unflinching. As our man steps away from the mic., a final few notes wrap things up: going for a much-needed drink of water, you are staggered by the amount of anger at the song’s heart- hardly surprising given what is being assessed.

Few reviewers will expend as many words as here- when it comes to reviewing one song. That is going to change for sure! Most songs are only worth a dozen-or-so words- the likes of N.M.E. and The Guardian distill an entire album review into six lines. If you were surveying a cover version from a boy band, you would probably urinate on the page; type the words ‘I want to die’ several times and put it out into the ether- it is acts like Bi:Lingual that inspire the pen to run out of ink. I found myself- with futile outcome- trying to keep pace with the rollicking vocal delivery; conveying my thoughts as fast as the lyrics are uttered. Subject Number is a song that demands endless repeat and investigation- you will pause the song at intervals to repeat lines and thoughts. Before I get down to patting the band members on the back, I shall finish up with the song. The epic and gleaming production- from Jamie Donnelly- makes sure the song is given full respect- the words and notes are crisp and undiluted. It is not too polished; allowing some raw and sweaty edges to come seeping through. Ranking alongside the best cuts the likes of R.A.T.M., Beastie Boys or The Streets could produce, it is a stunning and mesmerising track. The vocal puts you right in the song: such an impassioned performance, it is impossible not to be won over by its intentions and electioneering spirit. A few acts write similar themes- the game of fame; endless reality show garbage- but none have sounded as immediate and emphatic as this. A crystalline and golden nugget, Subject Number is one of the most addictive and impressive tracks I have heard all year- let us hope that future songs match its dizzying heights. As relevant and common as war, terrorism and corruption, the song will never lose its potential and meaning- unless talent shows and horrid musicians are expunged and extinguished, then we should never stop battling and fighting. A worthy and necessary warfare, Bi:Lingual are a confederacy against enslavement and musical genocide: they do not want everyone taken out- just the acts that are stopping them achieving their goals. It may come off as a political and fascist manifesto, yet most of the public back these opinions: we need to enforce some limitations and restrictions- castrate the testicles of facile and whiny Pop music. Any acts that are involved in Rock- with nary a thought for passion and conviction- are standing under a dangling sword- if you are not good enough to appeal to proper music-lovers, then there is no sense having you around. Too many acts get into music for the hell of it- thinking that the minimum is good enough- hopefully Subject Number will inspire some hesitation and creative revisions. Designed as a rebellion against commercial and marketing dictatorships, it also gives a warning to new musicians- if you do not enough weaponry in your armoury, you are going to be human shields. Of course, good music is a not a synonym for Rap, Metal, Hip-Hop- everyone has their own tastes and Folk, Pop, Soul and Indie can produce works of genius. The band is not saying they are the best examples of what music has on offer- they are not far from it- merely explaining they have spirit and genuine talent- they want to cull those that do not deserve to be here. As such, the song is the sound of conviction and absolutely delirious urgency- ironically making the song one of the finest things you will hear in 2014. Most bands that rally and complain turn in cold turkey songs- the sounds seem pretentious and free from any class or solidity. Bi:Lingual get their clear message across, but do not overlook the importance of music, composition and melody. They ensure their sound is ever-changing and mobile; enforced and galvanised when needed- sparser and less oblique when the vocal shines. Subject Number ticks all of the boxes: few commentators and observers would find anything that could be considered a negative- what more could you want from a track? The song is a winner because of the band themselves: the closeness and intuition they have shines in every syllable, note and refrain- bands twice their age are not as in-step and telekinetic. The vocal delivery is insanely determined and impressive. Drawing in some embers of heroes past, the sound mixes some of R.A.T.M.’s early work (in the chorus) in addition to Mike Skinner’s charm and wit (in the verses). Able to shout with insane menace; offer prophecies with controlled and measured pace; roll, rock and slither- it is a phenomenal performance. All the words are intelligible and decipherable- even when the verses are delivered with an ecstatic sense of drive. This makes the song’s messages extrapolatable and meaningful- you will be quoting lines and singing couplets for weeks to come. The bass work keeps the song from collapsing and regression to hyperbole. Taut and slinky at times, the abiding sound is of a stringed and winged beast- one that ensures that every note and vocal is backed by immense support and purpose. Guitars melt your face; shred the scenery and drug your brain- mingling Hendrix-esque pyrotechnics with ragged Rock/Hip-Hop masculinity, the parables and outpourings are deeply startling- the band show how terrific they are as musicians. The song is likely going to be an essential mosh-pit demand- a set closer that will see bodies carried away on stretchers. Beer-swigging and knife-wielding, it is the sound of modern-day music-lovers- those that hate the rise and prolifency of mainstream Pop muppets. With a sterling and earthquake percussionist on your team, you are never going to go wrong: with tentacles flailing and pulverising, few modern drummers could keep up with what is on offer throughout Subject Number. Instilling unexpected fills and calmer measures into the track, you cannot deny the vitality and primitive splendour of the delivery. Having not heard of Bi:Lingual until a few days ago- shame on me and the media- I am so glad I have. When new material flies out, I wanna be the first on it! Appropriating the candour and majesticness of legendary Rock/Hip-Hop acts of the ’80s and ’90s, they are a brave crew that deserve a tremendous amount of support and backing. Subsiding from their own crops and creations; living off of the land, they need money and cash injection- music like this should not die in the heat and be overlooked. If you have any sense and faith in new music, then you need to check out Subject Number- a wonderful glimpse and window into one of this country’s most vital and patriotic bands.

In nearly every review- when it comes to the conclusion- I always find myself saying vaguely the same thing- using similar words and prostrations; familiar predictions and summations. Today, things are very different indeed. I find myself deeply impressed with Bi:Lingual; having experienced something new and distinctly original, I have been given a lot of inspiration and fascination. Bonding Rap and Rock into an intoxicating blend, the guys are going to be a very exciting future proposition. If you are put off by promises of anger and rebellion, then have no fear: the guys make music that promotes energy and togetherness- as opposed to dislocation and feral snap. Being a huge fan of acts such as Beastie Boys, I can hear a lot of them in Bi:Lingual- that same ambition and innovative brain. The U.S. legends pretty much had- and have- a faultless career: I am loathed to think of an album that was met with anything but critical acclaim. Few acts can boast this kind of consistence and plaudit- the New York Hip-Hop crew are one of the most inspired and daring acts of all-time. I particularly love III Communication: a twenty track collection that marries so many sounds and threads together- it is a dizzying and hypnotic record. Perhaps not their most celebrated album- Paul’s Boutique steals that honour- to me it represents the peak of their creative powers- tracks like Sabotage are as tight and potent as anything I have ever heard. Given the band’s consistency- and the fact that they hit upon such a phenomenal style and trajectory- and huge patronage, it has baffled me why more acts do not follow in their footsteps- not replicate them but at least be inspired by them. Even though the last Beastie Boys album is three years old, it is not to say that they are through- the guys will be back, showing the music world how it is done. We all need to witness and embrace bands like this: Bi:Lingual are a brave and emphatic group that are going some way to introduce Beastie-esque magic and urgency into their music. With music innovators such as Beck become more restrained and matured, it is vital that some youthful anger and innovation comes back into the scene- keep an eye on these chaps. Subject Number is causing much excitement; it bodes well for the future: it would be terrific to see a full album from the group in time. On the evidence of their latest track, the band have lost none of their magic and potency- they have grown in confidence and stature; found new inspiration and sense of purpose- their current offering is their most stunning cut to date. I love how effortless and assured everything sounds; how bonded and tight the guys are- their music ranks alongside some of the most fascinating and promising in all of music. I would advise that everyone take a look back on the band’s work- find out how far they have come and how great their beginnings were. It is not just Subject Number that hits you: the potential and promise gets you very excited and filled with hope. Being penniless and impoverished, the boys may have to club some cash together- to be able to record an album. It is my wish that people snap up physical copies of their singles; give their money across to a band that have the potential to go all the way. So few new musicians sound as intent and meaningful as Bi:Lingual: they are an act that want nothing more than to stay in music for as long as possible. I have never seen them perform live; I imagine it is quite an unforgettable experience- if they come down my way, then I have no excuse missing out. Before I wrap up, I should offer some sort of direction to up-and-coming bands; provide missive and truth. The sense of fun, wise-crack and anger is seeping from music; bands that can tie this to deep and inventive sounds are disappearing and fading out- what we are left with is less daring sounds; those that are safer and more predictable. It is true that some terrific music can be discovered- within these confines- yet there is a part of the brain and psyche that is going to seek out those who do not want to follow the flock- Bi:Lingual are the guys for you. Artists that usually spar Rock and Rap capitulate and stumble with embarrassing results- our guys are in no danger of suffering this fate. They clearly have a love and admiration for classic acts like Rage Against the Machine and Beastie Boys: they do not ape them or copycat; instead instilling an essence of their magic into their own distinct sound. Fans of the genre are sure to find a hell of a lot to love (in the band); those perhaps a little more timid should come forth and have a taster- their music does not push anyone away. There are no bellicose scream-fests and profanity-laden rallying: there is rhythm, hypnotism and huge energy to be found- music that is designed to draw people together and not cast them aside. If you- like me- want to find something that is distinct and meaningful, then you need Bi:Lingual in your life. They are going to go a long way and have a lot more to say- let us hope that they have album and E.P. plans in their thoughts. Anyone that does not like their music are offered an oral sex-related option; their music has the potential to make your genitals burst- it seems that whatever you do you are in danger. The best thing you can do is to listen to the music and love what you hear- I guarantee that you will- otherwise the worst will happen. I am going to listen (again) to Subject Number; close my curtains and Cellotape my trousers on…

JUST in case.

 

About the Author:

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

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Follow Bi:Lingual:

 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/bilingualband

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/bilingualrshit

SongKick:

http://www.songkick.com/artists/7535034

ReverbNation:

http://www.reverbnation.com/bilingual69

iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/bi-lingual/id644429288

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Tour dates accessible at:

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

 

July:

23- The Showroom, Hartlepool

30- The Fenton, Leeds

August:

2- Carpe Diem, Leeds

4- Subject Number Single Release

5- The Keys, Middlesbrough (supporting DZ Deathrays)

9- The Globe, Newcastle

14- Roadhouse, Manchester

15- Ryans Bar, Derby

26- The Islington, London

30- The Lomax, Liverpool (International Music Festival)

September:

11- Zombie Shack, Manchester

October:

4- The Crown, Middlesbrough (Guests at RISE Wrestling)

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Bi:Lingual’s music can be heard here:

https://soundcloud.com/bi-lingual

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Bi:Lingual’s videos are available via:

http://www.youtube.com/user/bilingualband

 

Album Review: The 48K’s- For Every Day a Memory

ALBUM REVIEW:

The 48K’s

 

For Every Day a Memory

9.3/10.0

For Every Day a Memory, The 48ks

For Every Day a Memory is available from:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/for-every-day-a-memory/id611352647?ign-mpt=uo%3D4

TRACKLISTING:

Time & Again- 9.5/10

Flick ‘Em the V’s- 9.4

Pipe Dream- 9.2

Lead the Way- 9.3

Forget Never Met- 9.3

Back Home- 9.2

It Can’t Be Me- 9.3

Gotta Get Out- 9.3

Feel About You- 9.4

Take Me Back- 9.5

Sitting on My Own- 9.1

Valentine’s Day- 9.4

The Fortune Teller- 9.3

Something to Believe In- 9.5

Falling Down- 9.4

STAND-OUT CUT:

Take Me Back

DOWNLOAD:

Time & Again, Flick ‘Em The V’s, Take Me Back, Valentine’s Day, Something to Believe In.

RELEASED:

16th March, 2013

℗ 2013 The 48ks

GENRES:

Rock, Indie, Blues-Rock

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Having had the (former leader of Orange Juice) praise their album (For Every Day a Memory), Doncaster’s The 48K’s are winning legions of impassioned fans. With a new E.P. looming, it is high time you investigate the Indie-Rock princes: they are a band with clear potential. Not allowing their music to become bogged in a predictable quicksand, the next few years will be very prosperous.

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QUITE a task lies ahead of my today…

Faced with a 15-track album, my featured band are certainly going to get a long review- hope they don’t mind. I shall get to all of that business in due course. Usually at this point in the review, I bring up a couple of different themes: today I am thinking about bands and Indie- once more. Being enamoured of- and familiar with- groups such as The Bedroom Hour and Crystal Seagulls- two London-based up-and-comers- the genre is producing some magnificent and diverse acts. In my last assessment- of Ska band Broken 3 Ways- I was offered a wealth and treasure trove of new sounds and sensations- examining music that was quite unfamiliar and strange to me. I love past (Ska and Punk-Ska) masters of old, yet have not heard too many new examples- the seven-piece Wirral group left me quite dumbfounded. The best thing about music is split into two considerations: the quality of the sounds on offer; the quality of the personalities on offer. Solo acts give plenty of brilliance and seduction; it is bands that are still most popular among the general public. Perhaps down to the sheer range of music available- or some other consideration- you cannot deny how important that sector of the market is- bands produce some of the finest music the world has seen. At the moment, there are a great number of different groups; all doing something a little different, there is a huge choice for the consumer- meaning the pressure is really on new acts. It is all very well putting music together- forming your act- and going out into the ether: a hell of a lot needs to be considered before you go out there. It is not the 1940s any more: we do not live in a time when there are few acts and choices (of music) to witness- our music scene is growing and expanding at an exhausting rate. One of the most lamentable aspects of music is how many mediocre and limited artists are out there- so many newcomers have no sense of adventure, ambition or quality. The hard truth is: if you can’t provide a certain degree of excellence you will be buried and forgotten about- those that are most noble and insightful will win the day. With that in mind, we must embrace and herald these acts- artists that take leaps and have that quality deserve reward and patronage. This year, I have been lucky enough to see a host of wonderful and different bands poke into new music: many are still in my head now; few have made their way out. My featured act fit into a point I am going to make: the people behind the music. In a social media age, relations and friendships are becoming more detached and impersonal- most of us are satisfied to connect with people via a computer- rather than get out there in the environment. One of my biggest regrets- when reviewing music- is how little some musicians appreciate the work- spending time on a review, a lot of times they (the musician) do not get in touch- just ignore what is put out there. There seems to be a correlation forming: the artists who love music the most; when it means that much to them- they are the ones that are most appreciative of attention and focus. I shall not name-and-shame (one day I will), but The 48K’s adore music and the way it translates to the people: from their music, you just know that this is something that is a calling- nothing else will do. Bands like this as those we should be putting in the spotlight- ensuring their ambitions and dreams are fulfilled and realised. Before I get to my second point, let me introduce the guys to you:

Ryan Lightfoot

Steve Dale

Simon Kato

Adam Golightly

Chris Morris

After several years of refining their sound and presence on their local music scene, they settled a permanent lineup and set their sights on the horizon. We are here to entertain and hope you’ll enjoy our music. We are not looking to sell out to the highest bidder and want to keep the spirit of good, catchy music alive. We hope you do too… The 48K’s is a result of shared musical influences drawing people together. Quickly drawing a following in the Doncaster area, they are set to expand and explore the surrounding regions throughout 2013.”

Being based out of Doncaster, it sees me back in Yorkshire: I swore I’d distance myself from the county- having reviewed most acts that play here- yet it seems like an alluring and hypnotic seductress- you cannot help but to keep coming back and experiencing the joy. Whereas a lot of fellow Yorkshire acts- mainly based around Leeds and Bradford- play Pop, Soul and Electro.; here is an Indie (and Indie-Rock) band- most commonly found in other parts of the country. I know Yorkshire has a fair few bands, yet most of my attention- when it comes to the genre- has been directed towards the capital- bringing me to my point. Indie and Rock are styles of music that have a huge amount of representation- there is such mobility and potential in the genres that bands are attracted by its gleam and openness. So many artists come up a little short: too concerned with being involved with music, they negate the important of honing their sounds and providing something different. As much as I love Indie and the wonders it provides- if you want to succeed- you have to go that step further: distinguish your sounds from that of every other act out there. From The Bedroom Hour’s Hinterland through to Canada’s The Dirty Nil, plenty of diverse representatives have come into my sights- each time I was left feeling hugely satisfied and inspired. Indie and Indie-Rock provides a sense of drama and epic proportions; it can be tender and calming; uplifting and motivational; foot-tapping and catchy- it is a form of music that is as flexible and promising as any others out there. It is not surprising- for these reasons- many acts want to join in- The 48K’s are among the most promising and fascinating proponents of the moment. Having recently won praise from legendary stalwart Edwyn Collins- he praised the lads’ album- the boys are rightfully proud. For Every Day a Memory is a packed and scintillating album- or several E.P.s put together (as the band may profess)- that is a wonderful collection. Few new bands- or acts that have been playing for a couple of years- do not put out something so strong so soon- not a 15-track collection anyway. I will investigate the tracks later, but will finish with one point: quality control. So many albums and E.P.s- in the mainstream and new music- have too many filler tracks; there is a certain lack of consistency- it takes the momentum and pace right out of a record. The 48K’s have not merely stuffed every song (they have recorded) into one album in the hope that quantity equates to quality. They have been a lot more shrewd and intelligent: the five-piece incorporated quality alongside quantity. It is not surprising that the album- which was released last year- is still affecting hearts and minds- as the likes of Mr. Collins have ascribed; it is a record you need in your life.

For a comprehensive impression of the band, it is pertinent to look back at their beginnings. Some reviewers have displayed some obstinacy when it comes to Indie- keen to assume all bands are going to sound the same and not make a big impression. At the moment, the band are producing new material; For Every Day a Memory was their last full work- before then, the bands dabbled with a couple of songs. Happy Christmas Day has hard-edged and ragged guitar riffs; chugging and determined, it is no mere novelty toss-off. In spite of the lyrics (containing some twee and traditional messages)- Rudolph and sleighs; Santa making it in time etc.- the sheer delivery and pace turned it into something less predictable. A lot of bands try Christmas numbers- most are an unmitigated catastrophe- so it is brave of The 48K’s to attempt it- at least it shows a different side to the guys. Instilled with Pop upbeat and raw and rushing compositions, it was one of the first signs of what they could acheive- displaying the hallmarks that would be cemented in their L.P. Other tracks such as Trophy Wife contained much pizzazz and edge: perhaps their most solid early work, it was a forerunner to For Every Day a Memory. Possessed of plenty of drive and grit, it has a true Indie edge to it- there is a naturalness and sense of authority coming through in the song. A few early songs gave the impression of a confident band determined to succeed; the signs were there and the guys certainly showed what they were made of. It is the here and now- or last year- that is the best indication of The 48K’s (and their true potential). Most Indie and Rock bands tend to stick with a restricted and defined sound: they have focus but do not incorporate too much range and shock into their sounds. The 48K’s released a four-track E.P. in 2010: most of the songs appear on their album; Cotton Wool is the only track that does not feature. That particular song had a vibe of Arctic Monkeys to it: the riffs are insatiable and punchy from start to finish. Packed with grit and energy, it is a conficdent number but not perhaps their finest song. Since the E.P., the band have shown how much stronger they are: quality control is at the forefront and the band ensure that all of their songs are assured and strong. Whilst their fledgling days put them ahead of most of their competition, the movements they made after (the debut E.P.) shows a clear development and progression. Stepping aside from obvious sonorousness of many Indie staples- Arctics included- more positives and Pop edge came into their set. The riffs are fuller and more interesting; little details and stunning chord changes give their songs a great sense of passion and intrigue: the band have opened up their ambitions and broken through barriers. Too many modern acts are rigid and poverty-stricken when it comes to interchangeable regards: they are key to play it safe and ensure that discipline and strict rigour defines their sounds. If you work within the Indie and Rock confines; allow some mobility and movement, then you have greater potential for creativity and originality. The material that comes through in For Every Day a Memory shows a unique and individual voice. Most bands you can ascribe to others; hear where they came from- know exactly who inspired them. Whilst I will be mentioning some other names (below); the unerring sensation is of a distinct act. The vocals are particularly stand-out and incomparable. There are few strains of other artists; the tones that pour forth; the phrasing and delivery is tailored to the band- you would struggle to find another act that sounds just like them.

If you are looking for anyone like-minded, then I can probably point you in some directions. Most of the comparisons revolve around the sound (and compositions) as opposed to the vocals. When tracks display a youthful and energised rush, you can catch touches of The Libertines. The band’s Up the Bracket (debut) was stuffed with sweat-filled jams; spiraling and scenic stories of street life and the modern day- tied around compositions that compelled you to sing along. The 48K’s rustle up a similar potency and wonderful racket. Their guitar lines are sleeker and less rampaging, yet the band put me in mind of the early days of The Libertines. Determination and gravelled heartbeats pop in The 48K’s work: you imagine young and sprightly chaps gadding about town; a cocky swagger in their step, they have no fear or need to feel second-best- there is a truth and honesty to be heard. When the band’s songs get gritty and raw, the likes of Queens of the Stone Age and Kasabian enter my thoughts. Q.O.T.S.A. are Desert-Rock geniuses: their primal and captivating swing is still seducing and alarm fans (so many years after their inception). The Doncaster boys have a great ear for that type of sound: they can elicit a comparable force and manly punch. Queens’ are exceptional at mutating their sound and changing course (with barely a breath); making sure that their songs remain alert and surprising. The 48K’s ensure that their songs do not rest or refrain- every song has a determined drive that keeps you arrested and on the edge of your seat. The way Q.O.T.S.A. employ so many different guitar shades comes through in For Every Day a Memory. Homme is a master of diversity and phenomenal fret work. Every album and song from the band (Queens’) contains glimpses of the passion and energy that has made the band legendary- they ensure all of their music is filled with layers and heart. The 48K’s have displayed an adeptness that means that can mingle sounds of the desert together with barbed wire guitar work: shifting from darker and shadowed number to catchier rushes, that pioneering ambition and spirit can be applied to the Doncaster quintet. Kasabian are a band that have grown and improved with age. Their current offering perhaps marks a peak: imbued with epics and stadium-sized riot, 48:13 is a stunning album. The 48K’s make sure they do not succumb to boredom or aimless wandering- like so many of their peers- and have plenty of stadium-themed numbers; pumped-up and rampant fun spars with lariness and excitement- in addition to some great social commentary. Whereas Kasabian are not noted for their lyrical nous, The 48K’s have a better ear for dialogue: their songs are sharper and more compelling- perhaps not up to Alex Turner’s standards but pretty impressive none-the-less. The Doncaster troupe mix Kasabian-esque frivolity and catchiness with a terrific sense of story and surprise- making me think of Arctic Monkeys. It may sound like an obvious comparison- how many Indie bands aren’t compared to them?- but not in the way you think. The vocals and compositions stray from the Sheffield boys’ mould: the comparable take-away is the songs; the narratives and witness is there. The 48K’s are skillful and confident when dressing-down dishonest and unfaithful loves; spiking and masterful when bringing in strange characters and street scenes- that rounded and quotable ability stands their songs out; giving inspiration to fellow songwriters. ’60s and ’70s icons come to mind when thinking of the band. Some of For Every Day a Memory‘s more primal and hypnotising numbers put me in mind of Led Zeppelin. Our boys are capable of offering powering and divine riffs; pummeling and intense percussion- full-blooded and heavy vocals. When the quintet’s mind turns towards pointing the finger (and casting blame and aspersion), that same passion- that Zeppelin pioneered- comes to the fore: maybe not on the same chest-beating level as the legends, our boys put on a hell of a show- mixing Blues touches of the ’30s and ’40s with a dramatic and lustful soul. When witnessing the band’s catchy melodies and sense of fun, it is hard not to think of The Beatles. If you listen to the band’s The Beatles-era work; the sound that rings through that (double) album is infectious and endlessly fascinating. The 48K’s have a Beatle-esque sound in their music: Beat Invasion ’60s vibes mix with a sense of free spirit and head-nodding sing-along. When the vocals are doubled and augmented (by the band), you can almost picture the Liverpudlian four-piece- Gotta Get Out is probably the best example of this. The last two examples I will draw in are U.S. Blues-Rock bands: The White Stripes and The Black Keys. When surveying For Every Day a Memory, I catch glimmers of The White Stripes’ debut album: the guitar sound is quite similar; that D.I.Y. and chugging momentum; the banging and grand riffs- it definitely has a touch of the Detroit duo’s late-’90s output. The way Jack White mixes Blues, Metal, Punk and Alternative can be compared with The 48K’s. A lot of bands do not fuse that many sounds together; our boys draw in multiple sounds and flavours into their songs- bolster its weight with methodical and considered incorporation. Jack White’s (current) solo work has clout and plenty of personal insight. He talks of separation and dishonest women: The 48K’s skillfully pen tales of tangled love and the need for freedom and contemplation- without coming across as chauvinist or arrogant. Moulded into compositions which spin Blues riot into a centrifuge of modern-day urgency, the Doncaster lads seamlessly blend these strands together. When listening to Turn Blue (by The Black Keys), you cannot help but to be amazed by the depth and nuance of the material. Essentially a ‘break-up album’, it has plenty of recrimination and anger within. The 48K’s do never let their sentiments turn to bitterness: like the Ohio duo, the lads are skillful potrayers of fragmented love and ill-fated relations. It is perhaps the overall sound that has my mind racing (to compare the two). Joining Blues wail with spellbinding and contrasting jams, The Black Keys’ latest album is a work that grows and grow- its charms are revealed after multiple listens. The 48K’s have a similar quality: a lot of their songs are instant and direct; others stake their claim across repeated spins. Uniting Stripes-esque Blues rawness with a more defined and rounded Black Keys sound, their (The 48K’s) songs conjoin tenderness and reflection with bitter sparks and overt outpouring; colourful and striking sounds; repeatable and kick-your-feet jams- projected in their own distinct voice. If any of these bands and acts capture your attention, then you will find a lot to recommend within For Every Day a Memory. Whilst being unique and ambitious, the quintet have embers of some of the greats- both old and new- which will appeal to new converts and the undecided voters alike.

Kicking off the album is Time & Again. With a tumbling and Blues-tinged riff- that marries The Black Keys with the Fratellis- it is an energised and intense beginning. Designed to get the body moving, the catchy and intent opening salvo. has plenty of passion and punch to it. When our frontman comes to the mic., his words are upbeat and redemptive. His girl may be doubtful or in a down-turned mood- in order to rectify this, our man wants to “show you everything I’ve seen“; turn her frown upside down. The energised and persistent swagger of the composition gets the song directly into your brain. As the scenes and requests pour forth, it seems that maybe his sweetheart is holding him back. Perhaps too demanding and righteous, our frontman is sacrificing a lot for her- he goes on to say that she is cramping his style. Desirous of some freedom and breathing space, the chorus acts as an exorcism- backed on vocals, the addictive repetition (of the song’s title) enforces the sense of suffocation. Ensuring that the bonhomie never slips, the boisterous delivery keeps things compelling and upbeat. His girl is trying to please (perhaps)- “Seven out of ten for your effort there“- you wonder what it is that is being scored- perhaps just being her is not quite enough. Claiming that he is not the fairest judge, you sense that his love is not putting her best foot forward. As the song progresses- and our hero asks to be driven to a local bar- half of your mind asks whether a friend is being assessed- perhaps a ligger or hanger-on (that is a bit too needy and nerdy). In the banged-up car, you sense disharmony and fractured relations: our frontman’s delivery (displaying the passion and determination of early-career Oasis) makes every word sound urgent as hell. A rousing opening coda, the song reveals multiple layers. After the two-thirds mark, a brief- but squalling- coda riff adds electricity and passion into the mix; ensuring a slight deviation, it shows the band’s talent for surprise- injecting a much-needed display of fretwork. Anthemic and insatiable, our hero strikes about a determined composition: heading out for the night, his confidence is shot; his anonymous subject is once more cramping his style- you feel that explosion is imminent. Never dropping its momentum or sense of infectiousness, it is a brilliant kick-off track. Instilled with attitude, Flick ‘Em The V’s starts with a pummeling and spiraling intro.- the guitars weave and wail; the percussion clatters and chatters- Indie and Garage-Rock of today mixes with ’90s U.S. Blues- to create an exhilarating sound. Stating “If you don’t lose then you can’t win“, the song’s subject beat the rest; putting the effort in, our frontman wants to buy him a beer- the ambitious hero has come through some trial and is deserving of his libation. Climbing ladders and skipping rope, there is ambiguity afoot: whether referring to an ambitious career-climbing friend- or literally assessing physical activity- you get the feeling that here is an ambitious and driven person- their zeal may well see them fall down a slippery slope. Whether an athletic superhero or kick-ass business brain, the hero needs to stick two fingers up- he has climbed high and is not letting anyone take him down. Once more presenting a captivating composition, you are fully entranced in the song: with our hero guffawing and living life at full chat, it is a rally cry for the boys. As the song progresses, light is shed- we are dealing with events in the athletic realm. Having reached the final, our hero has the chance to make the bookies cry- he is an odd-on favourite. By the last clattering and conclusive notes- marrying bolstered riffs with percussive smash- vivid images swim into mind- the hero would have won the race; flipped the v-sign (probably going for a beer afterwards). Less spiky and hard-edged- more open and melodious- Pipe Dream sees the band step more into Indie territory- and slightly away from Blues. To document our frontman’s realities: he lives his life in “turquoise skies’; daydreaming and hopelessly ambitious, there is restlessness to the vocal delivery- you can sense that he wants more out of life. Growing old before his time, you can hear the cracks on his face: that premature maturity is subjugating and confining his potential- backed on vocals, the song sees his comrades support his plight. More Pop-infused than previous numbers, the band showcase their talent for range and mood: there is a great mix of hopeful and resigned; insightful and vague- so many different strands and threads work away in the track. Fear comes creeping in; the years are seeping away- our frontman is going to “make it better.” Speaking to his love- or perhaps a treasured friend- he has salvation: the person can make the sun shine; provide comfort and safety- inspire our man to get what he wants out of life. With melodious charm and smile, there is a feel of ’60s Pop: it is the band’s most overtly positive and redemptive song- it leaves you with a nice little grin on your face. Starting with a boisterous riff- mingling Status Quo’s Down Down with modern-day Arctic Monkeys- Lead the Way certainly has early potential. The intro. snakes and develops; grows in pace and energy- nicely leading into the vocal. Looking at his subject, our frontman sees them close their eyes and drift away- sun beating on their face, you speculate as to what is being documented. It seems like a friend is in trouble perhaps; not overly fraught- but prone to moments of vulnerability- our frontman offers a supportive shoulder- if they need him at any time, they know what to do. Once more showing their tender side- following the album’s opening grit and accusations- it is a comforting and warm song- with ample stir and fascination. Twists and turns are on every street; our (wise) frontman has seen what dangers lie ahead- backed by his band again, the multiple vocals ensure the track is inspiring and anthemic throughout. Designed to inspire legions of fans- to get up and chant along- its heart and sense of care never subsides. Most bands may come off as saccharine or cloying- when detailing similar themes- yet The 48K’s pack suitable conviction and invigoration into the song- the guitars stand out here; periodically providing some curdling and roaring pride. Perfect for the summer days: window wound down and the open road in front, it leaves the listener with a lot to reflect upon. Back in meatier territory, Forget Never Met rocks up with its cool swagger; Blues-tinged leather jacket; wind in its hair, it is a suitably bad-ass beginning- you just know the song is going to have some pertinent messages forthcoming. Discontent and let down, our frontman is reading bad news- whether talking about the media (or something on social media), he is resigned and anxious- savouring the moments he actually feels alright. Perhaps betrayed and double-crossed by (loyal) friends, there is one thing for it: head into the night to find someone “I’ve never met“- perhaps random strangers and strangeness will be more loyal. Backed by a kicking and Blues-Rock undertone (a bit like a slowed-down version of The White Stripes’ Instinct Blues), our frontman has someone in mind- they cannot forget them; perhaps they are inspiring his current state. With the anonymous and undefined stranger in mind, it acts as a metaphor for a state of mind: events have caused quite a lot of distress and annoyance; hitting the road to destinations unknown, confusion and anger seem to inflict our frontman’s mind. Not able to picture his subject’s face, a myriad of thoughts and contradictions flood in: the song causes so many visions and possibilities to pour forth, you wonder what the true meaning is- it keeps things intriguing and open for interpretation. Marked by a restless and winning vocal (from our frontman and backing); a cool-edged composition and a sense of hope, Forget Never Met is a perfect way to close the album’s first third. Back Home is next, and begins with jiving, stuttering and weaving guitar riffs; cool and slinky, ducking and diving, it definitely has intent and purpose on it mind. With a lighter and more passional vocal, our lead is in a car park by the underground: trying to find his way home, there is a sense of dislocation and loss- the song wins you over with its striking scenes and sense of story. Having progressed to the pub- four friends in tow- a lack of sobriety results in them missing the last bus: the capers continue and homely destinations are a distant proposition. Rooting for our man, a cat-and-mouse game unfolds: he is thwarted at every possible juncture- a drunken version of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz it seems. Joyful, carefree and swaying, the song has a cheeky and loveable charm- mixing rousing “Come on come on come on“s, ’90s Indie/Rock, ’60s Pop and modern-day Indie spiral together. Not too over-sung or over-performed, the song has just the right balance of projection and mood: meaning you are invested in it until the final moments- our man no closer to reaching his front door. A likeable wander, you just hope that he made it back safely- or spent the night on a park bench somewhere. With the percussion giving It Can’t Be Me a suitably punched and pronounced heartbeat- a weaving and delirious intro. gets things off to a flyer. The song looks at our frontman and his identity: a shadow of himself, his reflection is scaring him to death. Whether disappointed by the image that comes to mind- or acting out of character- there is definite anxiety to be found- jumping at shadows and noises, something has rattled his brain. The percussion is particularly impressive: driving things forward, it layers on the sense of discontent and defragmentation- kudos here indeed. Taking a while to return to planet Earth; grappling with common sense, time seems to be slipping away- I was wondering whether a certain event had triggered this thought process. Before my mind imagines, a psychedelic and wigged-out guitar riff seduces and intoxicates- leading to a springing and itinerant bass line, the composition shifts and mutates brilliantly. Perhaps weighed down by a relationship; under the cosh of a stressful life, our frontman wants to be left alone- leave the heel-steppers alone and try to rediscover his former (better) self. Once more instilled with sing along potential, events are not too repressed and foreboding- the band ensure that you sympathise with the plight (rather than overlook it). Escape and release define Gotta Get Out: beginning with a calmed and measured intro. the pressure and pace start to build- notching up the degree of fascination and speculation. Able to do and say what he pleases; be where he wants to be, our frontman can do this because he is alone- perhaps his sweetheart is an anchor he needs to cast off. With a Beatle-esque composition, you get caught up in the swing and charm of the music- whilst focusing on the recriminations of the foreground. With his other half pusillanimous and circumscribed, our man heads out on his own- you cannot change the future; he sure as shoot can achieve it on his own terms. The chorus is an impassioned and chanted mantra: defining the song’s terms, a clear sense of emancipation comes in- having lived an undesirable life for too long, now is the chance to shine. No longer emasculated or under the thumb, perhaps things are turning the corner- as the song progresses you wonder whether it is a relationship (being focused on) or perhaps a suffocating associate- when our frontman says “Gonna take you all on my own” it makes me doubt my convictions. The song has the power to make you question and second-guess. By the final notes, I assessed my assuredness and still stuck with my guns- instilled my theories with some new shades and insights. Youthful passion and intention starts Feel About You- signs of Up the Bracket Libertines came to my mind. With the guitar sharper, punctuated and more atmospheric; the song makes you sway and nod- possessed of a cheeky charm. Our hero wants his subject- I was thinking it was his lover- to tell him her secrets: open up tonight and let honesty and truth come out. Enraptured in a true sense of love, nothing will change the feelings (he has about his girl): whatever skeletons or ghosts haunt the closet, they will not make a difference- here is a solid and defined relationship too strong to suffer easy cracks. The song drives and never relents; the cheer and sheer energy keeps on going: that delirious and indefatigable kick grips you right the way along. Telling his beau to “Forget situations“; overlook diminutive impurities and indiscretions; forsake every little cosmetic blemish- it would take something monumental to phase our unflappable hero. Few Indie bands have such a openness and romantic positivity: it makes the song a strange (but pleasurable) aberration- an apparition that should scare bands into writing similar tracks. Notable for its tender and earnest vocal, the track is augmented by a band performance that is tight and perfectly in-step: the guys commingle with true sympatico and intuition; making the song focused and relentless. Take Me Back starts with a primal and lurching crawl; displaying some crepuscular Pixies menace, the intro. here is among the most intriguing on the set. Opening itself up- for a brief moment- the parable is brief but memorable. Our frontman wants to come back home. His voice filled with spiked venom; grit and masculine gravel, the direct and urgent delivery is hypnotic- the delivery has a catchy and insatiable projection- words are repeated and overlapped. Backing vocals encroach and echo- which sees the chorus put right up front- which quite an unusual and impressive consideration. Our man dreams of waking up- when sleeping- and getting away: he is being forgiven by a person he is not familiar with- perhaps a drunken night has seen him bed a regretful conquest? Unsure how it got this far, the morning light is illustrative and harsh: the mannish and laddish swagger of the song makes sure little sympathy is provided to the heroine. Taking a walk back home, a twinkle is in the eye: negotiating and perambulating the dark streets, his spirits and senses are back at their most heightened. Kasabian, The White Stripes and Led Zeppelin mix with Arctic Monkeys in a sense: the former camp is represented by impassioned Blues, rousing choruses and masculine energy; the latter by that distinct northern Indie sound- tied to lyrics that have one eye on the streets and one in the bedroom. The enticing mixture of flavours ensures that the track lodges into your mind- I am sure that it is a firm live favourite. Crunching and dizzying riffs join with pummeling and scattershot percussive rolls; propulsive and forceful bass notes mean that there is no leniency or intrancegency- it is a track that demands your full attention. As we start to approach the end, Sitting on My Own comes to play. Acoustic notes begin the track- subverting expectation and circumventing your predictions- to give the album a new twist and layer: not prominent up until this point, it acts as a pleasing ballast- the intro. has a tight energy, yet is romantic and tender. It is  not too long before spiraled and elliptical electronics overtake proceedings- upping the ante, the track’s intro. is a fascinating little nugget. I was intrigued by early words. Our hero is speaking to his subject: unwilling to get their feet wet, the heat has arrived. It seems that the heroine has timidity in her soul: our frontman is sitting on his own and wants to find a more adventurous and daring partner- someone who can take a leap and make their voice heard. Perhaps not instilled with the same conviction and passion of previous tracks, it is a pleasing and pleasant track- one that does not suffer by being low down the tracklisting. The composition has a traditional Indie feel that will draw in some eager ears- its loyal and authoritative beating heart is its most impressive facet. Not giving his sweetheart a moment for rebuttal, he is inflamed: she wants apology and some compromise; whatever has unfolded, an apology is not going to happen- there is a distance between them. Providing a cold shoulder- on a hot day- it is time to see “just how much you mean to me.” As his girl sits on her own- waiting for someone to call- you are left wondering whether reconciliation and reappraisal will be forthcoming- perhaps too much damage has been done. By the end, it seems that a middle-ground has been achieved: détente and emotional tontine has led to some (albeit vague) mutuality. A stomping and hell-yeah punch opens up Valentine’s Day- it is a coda you want extended and elongated- the band tease with its succinct and brief charm. The song’s core falls in love too easily; our frontman seems to have seen this all before: the heroine is decked in resplendent garments; quite eye-catching and alluring, her man is sweeping her off her feet- you sense that the infatuation will be brief and predictable. Familiar with the route of events, she “wouldn’t have it any other way.” Perhaps a teachable moment is needed: sitting down the heroine and highlighting her naivety and destructive patterns. Love is blind (is the axiom); postulate and noble truth- an idiom that has a particular relevance and universal truth here. The no-good dick she is hanging around with is going to jerk her around; toss her aside with callous ease, our frontman wants her to shape up- asking what the hell she is doing, you wonder why she puts herself in this position. More an adage than an aphorism, the song’s maxims have been heard before: we all can relate to the type of woman who is being eviscerated- the listener will picture the heroine of the song with clarity and detail. Offering up plenty of hard-edged and primal lust, the track sweats, contorts and smacks: it defines and solidifies the song’s words; adding focus and much-needed clarity. Hoping it’s different (this time), the band seem less optimistic- the shark is circling and will claim its victim. Displaying a composition that is more mobile and unpredictable (than past numbers), the mood drops and rises- the band step up a gear here and provide one of their finest tracks. Being a man, our frontman knows how his gender (and mine) operates. A sense of sarcasm and insincerity echoes in the chorus: not washing his hands of her, it seems that nothing he can say can change his mind- by the final moments, he is bereft and exhausted by his friend’s foolhardy and exhausting ways. Ensuring that the final tracks on the album are no latchkey child (or sapling), The Fortune Teller has a verminous and grumbled introduction. With Queens of the Stone Age majesty, the opening moments are certainly invigorating and menacing. The vocals slip into Arctic Monkeys trousers; that same aloof and distinct tone (that Alex Turner perfected) shows some influence on our frontman- the song’s words distance themselves from the Sheffield icons. Asking to be taken out tonight- to the city of bright lights- it seems that our hero is keen to lighten his wallet- give his fortune away and lose it all. Whilst walking on the sand, he wonders what to do tonight- enticed and lead astray (by the city and its proclivities), it seems that our man is embarking on a dangerous course. Stating that “You can have it if you like” a feeling of disconcertedness and unfeeling detachment is enforcing his mandate: less concerned with material wealth, there are more pressing thoughts on his mind. Not revealing the motives behind his benevolence and recklessness, you speculate as to the circumstances behind the story. It is an original song that presents a new take on personal anxieties and disenfranchisement: the images and scenarios proffered mix vividity and distance meaning- full clarity is never obtained (ramping up the sense of mystery and mystique). With the emphatic chorus (ensuring it will not budge from your brain)- for weeks to come- it is a terrific ante-penultimate track- leaving you wanting more. When more does come, it begins with a springing and waltz-like introduction. Its Garage-Rock/Blues luster cannot be denied or overlooked- reminding me of The White Stripes’ debut (songs like Broken Bricks and Jimmy the Exploder particularly). Tired of mathematicians and politicians plaguing the airwaves, our frontman has had enough of things. Offering lies and half-arsed truths, there is no assurance or faith forthcoming: our man wants something he can believe in. Having confidence in himself (his friends and his girl), it is the rest of the world that cannot be trusted- the deceitful and dishonest public figures are causing derision and annoyance. Not content to let his words do all the talking, the composition makes its mark throughout. The chugging Garage riff that propels the song never relents; energised and colourful solos add barbed wire- shout and virulent rage spar with one another. The band seems energised and up for the fight: the way they combine and lift the song is to be commended- lesser groups would tire and offer less passion. Our frontman turns in one of his most intense and direct vocals here: towards the closing moments, it rises and augments with menace and meaning- backed by an accelerated composition, it emphasises the song’s anxiety and desperation. For Every Day a Memory’s swan-song is Falling Down. Starting with a militaristic and tribal drum-roll, you are sat to attention; joined by gentler and lighter guitar strings, a curious and colourful blend is stirred. Determined to end the album with a majesty, the track grips and grabs onto you. With his voice somewhat distant and echoed, our frontman is examining a particular subject: perhaps looking at a love or a friend, it seems he has had enough. The heroine’s daydreaming and friend rotating is tiring and ingratiating; she is going to suffer a downfall and heartache (if she keeps going on this way)- a lesson needs to be learned. If talking to his focal point- or another person- it seems that they are the “only dreamers left around.” On their feet, everyone else is falling down and failing- you can hear the discontent and loneliness in the vocal. In a world where he cannot relate to anyone else, our frontman is clinging onto his friend- the only visionaries and brave souls in town. With that constant percussive riffle in the fray, the urgency and directness never relinquishes. The band mix aching and fuzzy guitar riffs with more sombre and spacey threads; throbbing bass ties everything together nicely- it is one of their most compelling and full compositions. As the chorus comes back around, you think whether our frontman will find his meaning and answers- detached from most of the crowd, here is a man looking for similar bodies and minds. By the final notes, you wonder how things worked out- cliffhangers linger as For Every Day a Memory ends its course.

Before I get down to assessing the band- and highlighting the positives- let us have a closer look. At 15 tracks, the album is a lot to digest. The tracks are excellent, but it may take a couple of listens to take it all in. If you listen to every track is one go, they will not elicit their full potential. It is a record that needs proper investigation and digestion. Maybe the band could have trimmed one or two songs- skimmed a bit to ensure an overall strength- and tightened some of the longer numbers up. The band is original and unique for the most part; some songs tread into Arctic Monkeys territory- the folly and natural instinct of every Indie band. When they do go down this road, perhaps some of their special charm is distilled and watered-down- a lot of other acts suffer this fate. Those are perhaps the only constructive points I will raise: they are not big issues, but maybe something that will remedied when their new E.P. is released. If we assess the positives, then there is plenty to find. The intros. are short and concise throughout: too many bands provide elongated and rambling introductions- the band’s truncated and thoughtful approach makes the songs more focused and urgent. In so much as I have said (some tracks are a bit overly-long), the majority of the tracks seem brief and short- the charm and quality means they whiz by and leave you wanting more. This harmony is achieved due to the band’s songwriting ability. None of the songs sound the same; themes are different and shift- the group approach songwriting with an openness and ambition. Not content to stick with one dimension; our boys look at love, personal insight, money, modern life and regret- so much is investigated across the L.P.- it will appeal to a wide range of listeners. The production and tracklisting is well-considered and impressive. The album is not top or bottom-heavy: the finest tracks are placed appropriately so that the momentum never relents; by the final songs you are left wanting to hear more. The crisp and clear production gives the songs a polish and shine- all the words and notes have a sharpness and sound that means they resonate and ensure nothing gets buried, muted or overcrowded. Each song has its own skin and personality: the band retain their own core sound; open their palette and infuse the pot with diversions, new directions and contours. A rich and rewarding disc, it is not just another album by another Indie band. So many new artists record albums that do not offer too much or separate themselves apart- The 48K’s have enough promise and potential to suggest that they will gain mass critical acclaim. If they can remain disciplined and intelligent- ensuring they keep things tight and taut- then they will have an exceptional and busy future. The album impresses because of the performance of the band as a whole. The vocals are constantly exciting and passionate: able to change course and provide so many emotions, you have to give applause to our frontman. Whilst keen to distinguish himself from any particular names, a clear voice comes out- one that is hard to compare with too many others. It is the conviction and urgency that really makes the vocal stand out- no song suffers due to insincerity or ill regard. The guitar work is potent and electrifying throughout. Mixing in Blues and Garage acts (such as The White Stripes and The Black Keys), the strings can mutate into Indie slams; psychedelic vibes and Pop-tinged seductions- so much difference and diversity is offered. Again, our band do not tread on anyone’s toes: the riffs and parables are very much the work of The 48K’s- few other bands have a distinct edge; making the Doncaster boys a real treat. Tight and driving, the bass holds all the tracks together; it adds its own menace and weight- showcasing an ear for melody, mood and surprise. On many of the tracks that startling bass added a tonne of heart and restlessness- combining seamlessly with the rest of the band. Percussion notes range from pitter-patter and soft to emphatic and pummeling- the drumming is consistently striking and strong. Few Indie bands are noticeable because of their drummer: The 48K’s have quite a fertile and promising stick-wielder in their ranks. Before I move on, I shall just encapsulate the album (in a few lines). There is plenty of catchiness to be found: heart, emotion and anger sit alongside one another; nothing seems forced or unnatural. Possessed of depth, intelligence and professionalism, it is a dizzying array of tracks. Whilst not all 15 tracks hit such a heady peak, there are no outsiders or obvious weak tracks- the lesser numbers still contain necessary clout and impression. I am staggered the band have so much material and quality to play around with here- expecting an E.P. or smaller album, it is a mark of their ambition that they put forward something as rounded and brilliant as For Every Day a Memory.

I have typed quite a few words- I shall not keep you too much longer- but it is important to give a summary: assess where the band are going and how they fit into the scene. For Every Day a Memory is a stunning collection of songs and moments that seems more like a film: so many different stories and moments are packed in; it is as though you are watching an epic of the screen. If the likes of Edwyn Collins takes the time to recommend your music, then you can’t be going far wrong- the man is not exactly renowned for his poor taste and judgement. The boys may have enlivened and entranced Doncaster; bewitched Yorkshire and the north- they should prepare themselves to take their music a lot further than that. I know that For Every Day a Memory has drawn support from fans across the U.K.: the lads have been getting some positive feedback and praise from all across the country. Even though the album was released last year, its appeal and sense of fascination is still burning- commentators and music-lovers are still paying paen to it now. Even though Indie and Indie-Rock are busy and bustling genres, there is a huge amount of potential for profitability- if you are up for the fight. Those that are prepared to put in the graft and effort will reap the benefits; win fans and see their stock rise- as the years go by. The 48K’s will definitely be one of the biggest acts to watch- as we head into 2015. Their passion, flair and talents cannot be denied: they approach music with such consideration it means that all of their tracks are full and well-considered. Bands either lack lyrical clout or suffer when it comes to music and vocals. The quintet pack each song with beautifully vivid and stirring words- themes that cover a spectrum of emotions and subjects. The vocal projections are urgent and rousing; infested with such a gripping sense of occasion, it draws you in- pulling you straight into the song. With tight and layered compositions; consistently stunning performances, the lads have managed to perfect their craft- standing aside from so many so-so acts. So what of the future? Well; I am guessing that some pretty illustrious tour dates will come their way- venues and promoters would be remiss if they overlooked the quintet. The most obvious prediction I can proffer regards predilection: so many new fans will be arriving the way of The 48K’s. Support and popularity is as important and necessary- if you want your music to take off- as anything else: with their numbers increasing and swelling it is not going to be long until the boys get their rightful acclaim. With a new four-track E.P. on the horizon, it is not long before new material is afoot. It will be great to see how the boys have developed and changed- since For Every Day a Memory- and what new inspiration they have picked up. I will leave the review with one particular point: the next year in music. This year has seen the uncovering of some pretty special musicians; a host of terrific acts have made their voices known- I wonder how many of these musicians will make their way into the mainstream. You can always tell whether an act is going to make it big or not: quite a few will be around for a couple of years but will probably not survive in the long-term. The 48K’s are one of the acts you feel will take it all the way. It may take a little while for the boys to climb to the heady heights of their heroes, but the signs look good: if they keep stamping out music of this quality, then they will be big names to be reckoned with. The quintet has assimilated a wealth of influence and knowledge; the kinship and closeness of the band members comes through in their stunning music- they are a group you really want to succeed. Hopefully they can go on amazing their home crowds and flock; I see the guys’ potential further afield: their sound has an international and flexible appeal that will be appreciated by music-lovers across North America, Europe- and beyond. You can only imagine it is a matter of time before demand comes in from across the world- once the full potential of their music hits, it will be great to see just which countries and cities come calling for The 48K’s. Let us sit back and see; enjoy For Every Day a Memory- and wait for their new material to come forth. Safely and securely adorned in the comforts of home, our lads may well have to brace themselves for the bigger and hungrier world…

IF that is okay with them.

 

About the Author:

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

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Follow The 48K’s:

Official:

http://www.the48ks.co.uk/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/The48ks

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/The48ks

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/the48ks

YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCReypWgvul5zBTrMCI1GRQA

Last F.M.:

http://www.last.fm/music/The+48ks

MySpace:

https://myspace.com/the48ksband

Spotify:

https://play.spotify.com/artist/4BzdgCoTfYNa5YgLXIhCpd?play=true&utm_source=open.spotify.com&utm_medium=open

The BandWagon:

http://staging.bandwagongigs.com/epk/the48ks12

iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/the-48ks/id515022514

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Gig dates accessible at:

http://www.the48ks.co.uk/gigs/

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The 48K’s’ music can be viewed here:

http://www.the48ks.co.uk/music/

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The 48K’s’ videos are available via:

https://www.facebook.com/The48ks/videos

 

Track Review: Broken 3 Ways- Work On It.

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Broken 3 Ways

 

Work On It

9.4/10.0

Work On It is available from:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35S3h1DXU5M

The album Return to the Shack is released on 28th July

GENRES:

Ska, Punk

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Having witnessed so many Indie and Rock bands come through, my thoughts turn to this brilliant seven-piece Punk-Ska band.  Broken 3 Ways provide delirious and upbeat energy; angered and angular discontent, buoyant and impassioned vocals.  Work On It is a stunning song from one of this country’s finest live acts- make sure you check out these Wirral-based wonders.

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IT is not often that I get to step away…

from my normal course of investigations. Over the coming days, I will be assessing a couple of different albums: Indie and Rock are going to come under the radar. It is always great to delve into a band (or artist) with a terrific sound: discover something exciting and genuinely unexpected. As great as it is to hear these acts, a part of my mind always looks outwards: yearning to find sounds that are that little free-thinking. Rock, Indie and Grunge are genres that have many representatives: there are plenty of acts that give different takes on these particular forms. Aside from that, you get a fair smattering of terrific musicians- everything from Pop and Soul can be reinterpreted and redefined in bold and unexpected ways. I am excited today, because I get to look at two different topics: northern music and Ska. When looking at the north, most of my attention is primed at Yorkshire: the county has taken up quite a lot of my time and passion across the years. It seems to be the region to discover what is genuinely hot and upcoming: the multitude and range of different sounds far surpasses that (provided) by other areas of the U.K. I will not go into too much detail with regards Yorkshire- having laboured the point so many times- but something wonderful is happening if you head further up the country: the musicians here are creating something quite special indeed. It was only a few days ago I was lamenting the lack of great Liverpudlian and Mancunian artists- Liverpool and Manchester have such a historic reputation; the apparent energy and tremendous output seen in the ’80s and ’90s has subsided somewhat- there are still some terrific bands here; far fewer than I would predict. The problem is the nature of the genres pervaded: artists still lean too heavily towards the avenues of Rock, Indie (and its sub-genres)- the diversity and experimentation is lacking. With Yorkshire boasting authoritative Swing and Electro. acts; an incredible ’50s-inspired chic songstress; solid and reputable Pop-Soul artists- you wonder why one county is leading such an emphatic charge. Across the North West of England, there is a revival happening: fascinating and original artists are poking through; presenting music that separates itself from the predictable mass- offering the listener new and scintillating experiences. My featured act hail from the Wirral: an area of the U.K. that is showcasing some of the nation’s hungriest and most eager new musicians. Although not on the same rarefied level as Yorkshire, the Liverpool district is proving how adept and malleable the music scene is. One of the big problems with the mainstream is that the albums and songs put forth do not possess that much true diversity: certain albums will splice and mix genres; there are still a lot of forms of music that are relegated to niche and clandestine quarters. Popular demand and market forces have perhaps moulded a rigid and ill-defined core: something needs to be done to ensure that unexpected and flavoursome sounds are stirred into the mix. In order for this to happen, eyes must look towards new music- beholding and proffering the bravest and most compelling acts around. Before I expand on this point, I shall introduce my featured act:

Broken 3 Ways, a 7-piece ska-punk outfit from the Wirral, UK are living proof that raw talent, ambition and honesty can still prevail in an ailing music industry. It is no surprise that their energetic live performance has helped grow a loyal fan base throughout the Wirral and Liverpool music scene. Their signature sound in captures the raw essence of Ska-Punk with hard-hitting dual vocals, Skanking guitars and addictive brass that take their influence from bands such as Streetlight manifesto, Sublime, Rancid, Reel big fish and Capdown. Since 2008 the band have played hundreds of shows, supporting bands such as The English Beat and The Skints. In the summer of 2013 they enjoyed performing at a string of festivals across the North West including Zanzifest, Fort Perch Rocks and headline slots at The Gathering, Port Life and Summer Jam festivals. Their debut self funded album ‘Return to the Shack’ is due to be released summer 2014.”

Jay Peers Bow- (Vox & Sax)

Scott Hyland- (Vox & Guitar)

Jay Aldred- (Trumpet)

Chris Gartman- (Guitar)

Fal- (Bass)

Shaun Price- (Keys)

Ben Green- (Drums)

Broken 3 Ways are a group that I have only know of for a few days, yet am excited to follow their careers- see just how far they can go. The fact that the group has received such incredible feedback- reviewers and commentators see them as an institution as opposed to a band- is due to the music they play: you are going to struggle to list a whole lot of other acts that sound similar to them. Ska and Punk are genres not often bonded and fused: having quite a few similarities you wonder why new musicians are not joining these genres together in matrimony. Both are based around energy and passion; the blending of elliptical and danceable Ska- tied to harder and rawer Punk- creates quite a sensation. Broken 3 Ways have cleverly discovered a rare form of music: their songs are among some of the most exciting and invigorating you will hear in all of music. Reviewers and publications have been keen to point out just how terrific (the band is) in the live arena: their performances are legendary and unforgettable; that insatiable seven-piece fill venues with merriment, swing and joy- there is no negative motive or chance occurrences. Bands that usually provide fun and fascination do so because of the quality of their performances- rarely does the music itself appeal to such a deep-down and primal core. With new music housing so many heavier and Indie-based acts- where the music can be introverted and overly emotional- Broken 3 Ways present something more extrovert, all-inclusive and delirious- one taste of their insane sway and you are hooked for life. With their new album on the horizon- I shall touch on this in my conclusion- their future is going to be very busy and packed: the L.P. is destined to see many new fans convert themselves to the Wirral-based clan- and experience the wonder. Before I get down to investigating the band (in closer detail), I will make one more point: that which concerns Ska itself. Here is a genre that few of us are overly familiar with. My main exposure to this type of music is through the likes of Madness and The Specials- quite mainstream and predictable but still geniuses of the form. Whilst Suggs’ crew have an air of Cockney happy-chappy cheekiness about them, it is perhaps The Specials that stick out in my mind- their fusing of darker and sharper edges beautifully contrasts their upbeat and mesmeric swirls of majesty. Broken 3 Ways have a lot in common with the Coventry clan: that comparable sense of adventurousness and lust shines through in their music. Too many people focus too narrowly: so much treasure and marvel can be found if you expand your mind and take risks- with regards your listening experience. As the Wirral band are proving; if you offer the public something genuinely distinct- with familiar and classic edges- you garner a huge reaction: their reputation and legacy is expanding and developing by the week.

It is at this stage of a review that I look back an artist’s past: examine their past sounds; the songs that got them to where they are- trying to explain how their sound has changed and grown. The band have been going for over five years now: Return to the Shack is their most fully realised and full-bodied work- the first comprehensive representation of the pioneering group. The most prominent exposure the band has had is in the live arena- it is where they cut their chops and got critical tongues wagging. Honing and premiering their music, most of their movements have been made away from the studio- making it difficult to see just what a leap they have made. That said, I have been searching YouTube and the Internet for Broken 3 Ways live cuts. The raw and urgent energy that defines their live performances is certainly something to witness- of course you can never realise the full effect through a laptop. Having played hundreds of shows- and rotated their band line-up- the seven-piece have spent a lot of time perfecting their sound- in addition to settling and cementing their ranks. This year is the most important one for them as it sees the release of their debut album- the first chance to see how the songs transition from the stage to the studio. Being a self-funded album, the boys have also had a lot of creative input (into the album’s production). Because of this, there is not a huge difference to be found- in a great way. A lot of albums would see once great songs somewhat distorted- the energy and captivation of the live performance is nurtured and diminished.  Back in 2009, the band did unveil a demo E.P.- the nine tracks on there give a good impression of their embryonic thoughts and feelings.  Tracks like Brass Knuckles, Wasted and I Ain’t No Racist crackle with the same energy and rawness that defines their current sounds.  Whilst not a full album, it gives an insight into an eager young band.  The quality of their early music is surprisingly high and rich.  My personal favourite tracks- Woody and I Said Now What- capture my mind with their incredible compositions and memorability.  The production values are high; I would say they have grown since 2009.  The confidence of the performances has increased; the band draw in more depth and colour into their music- that vital urgency (and trademark sound is there) but they have a huge confidence and sense of ambition.  The songwriting has become sharper and more intuitive; the vocal turns are more striking and compelling- the countless tour dates over the past five years have seen the band hone their skills.  Whilst anger runs through most of their work, Broken 3 Ways have drawn in more emotional depth- their new material is testament to a group that never stop aiming high and wide. When listening to Return to the Shack’s numbers, you imagine you are in a venue- at one of the band’s shows, it as thought you are hearing the songs from the front row. The dual vocals and ferocious intention goes a long way to making this happen- backed by stunningly evocative compositions, the album is a raw and primal animal. For anyone that may be turning their head- thinking the band are just hot, heavy and brutal- then think again. Influences such as The Specials and Streetlight Manifesto come through across the album- that blend of passion, intrigue and emotional undertone bubbles through. What impresses me most about Broken 3 Ways is their range and motility: their songs do not stick to one pace or theme; there is surprise and movement to be found. Work On It is a perfect representation of all of this: the colours and flavours that make the band such a special prospect are wonderfully mixed in the track- I shall examine the song in more depth in due time. Few modern bands are such a special live prospect- maybe few would expect a studio-recorded album to match the heady heights. There is no overproduction or muted sound: the group keep everything honest and in tact- you would not notice a huge different between the two disparate settings. What the album does show, is of a band with a lot to say: possessed of an original and potent voice, Return to the Shack is an impassioned record that has no weaknesses or slip-ups- everything contained within knocks you off of your feet. I would advise anyone- that is new to the band- to go and see them live; maybe seek out a video or two of theirs- just to see how they make their name. It must be quite a phenomenal experience- seeing them in the flesh- and is something I shall endeavour to do in the coming years. Only having their studio sounds in mind, the best thing I can do is to give a fair assessment of how strong their music is- here and now in 2014. It is clear that the developments- band members changing; multiple gigs- have inspired terrific music; solidified their magic and menace- their debut is a sure-fire hit and stunning record. Not too bloated or vague, there is a sense of clarity and concision throughout. Nobody sounds like them- they do not sound like anyone- making them a unique bird: an act that does not leave you scrambling towards other artists. Of course there are notes of other acts- I examine this below- but the abiding sensation is of a hungry group that are doing things on their own terms- shouting their voice to the world and wanting to make as many friends as possible. That sense of inclusion and community is the strongest bond in their music: they do not make music just for them; they want the listener to connect and feel involved- you get a clear sense of this dynamic when listening to their songs. If you want these kind of qualities in music- we all do to be fair- then you cannot go far wrong with Broken 3 Ways are the guys for you.

If you are seeking any similar-sounding artists- those that inspire the band- there are a few names that can be mentioned. Streetlight Manifesto are perhaps the most clear-cut influence for Broken 3 Ways. The New Jersey Ska-Punk band employ embers of ’50s and ’60s music into their agenda: incorporating eastern European aspect into their later work and keeping their music distinct and changeable. At their core is that energetic rush and primal feel- complete with diverse and atmospheric horns their albums are awash with nuance and depth. Broken 3 Ways have elements of Everything Goes Numb (Streetlight Manifesto’s debut album) in their latest offerings. That hardcore spirit and sense of occasion comes through in their work; the incredible lyrics which look at hardcore themes and personal insight. Broken 3 Ways mix acceleration with deceleration; they keep the tempo malleable and flexible; their compositions bond darker shades with upbeat life: these qualities come through in Everything Goes Numb. Whereas the U.S. giants tend to fill a lot of their albums with scenes of despair, personal pain and against-the-odds violence; our seven-piece tend to offer up more positivity and openness- they draw the listener in a bit more and do not come off as aggrieved or discriminated against. The Hands That Thieve (Streetlight Manifesto’s latest album) is a more mature and fun endeavour: the songs mingle Third-Wave Ska ebullience with party times and depth. Most Ska bands can present something shallow and single-minded: songs for partying and getting your feet moving; that which contains little depth or range. That album possesses plenty of grown-up and intelligent undercurrents; emotion and resonating depth shows its hand- the L.P. is a fully rounded and compelling release. Broken 3 Ways have a similar multifareousness in their armoury: able to liven up dance-floors and let their majestic horn work invigorate; their music goes that bit deeper- songs and moments can soundtrack more introverted and solemn moments. It is a rare feat to be able to do this- when working in the genre- our boys have taken inspiration and guidance from the New Brunswick frontrunners. Sublime and Rancid are idols of the band. Sublime hail from California and mix Reggae-Rock alongside Ska-Punk- the group were renowned for their fusion of genres and sounds. Following on from the death of their lead (Brad Nowell), the band’s self-titled album was a tad overrated and under-stocked. A glimmer of their former selves, it did at least provide sights of what made them so special. Insatiable and gravitating hooks parabond with sexy Reggae numbers- the album is not a disappointment by any means. Broken 3 Ways provide some California sun-cum-Reggae sway: able to inject unforgettable hooks into their jams, the band instill some of the essence of the bygone legends. The suppleness and tautness that ran through Sublime appears on Work On It- the track does not rest or sound contented to do the bare minimum. Fellow Californians Rancid are a harder and more carnivorous act: their music takes in Street Punk, Hardcore and Ska-Punk. The band provide old-school Punk sounds with essences of The Clash: tied around a primal and urgent centre, they are one of the most inspirational bands of the genre. Broken 3 Ways have a unique and original voice, but have some shades of Rancid. Both bands provide fiery intensity and passionate speed; powerful hooks and repeatable songs. Whereas Rancid were hampered by some pseudo-intellectual moments- especially on their album Life Won’t Wait- Broken 3 Ways do not suffer this ignominy: their music is consistently vital and focused. Californian sounds feature highly on the band’s periscope: Reel Big Fish are another source of inspiration for the seven-piece. Like their contemporaries and Ska neighbours, Reel Big Fish have a beating Punk-Ska heart; instilling Alternative-Rock tones into their agenda, their music has inspired and compelled many modern Punk and Hard-Rock bands. Reel Big Fish have a sense of humour and ear for cross-hybridization that made albums like Why Do They Rock So Hard? so important. That album mixed Reggae sounds with Rock- it translated surprisingly well in Jamaica. The cheekiness and humour that synonimised the band can be found in the songs of Broken 3 Ways. Their album will showcase some tongue-in-cheek and impish mandates; it has slick and assured Ska-Punk rushes; incredible horn blasts and rushing compositions; a carnival of fun and deliriousness- the very qualities that cemented the reputation of Reel Big Fish. Capdown are one of the few English references for Broken 3 Ways. Formed in 1997- and still performing today- the band made their name with their independent releases and politicised songs. Broken 3 Ways are releasing Return to the Shack off of their own back: with no record label, the boys possess the same independent and bold spirit as Capdown. Their sophomore album- Pound for the Sound- saw positive themes and redemptive messages come through: ideals that rallied against racism and persecution made the album such an essential disc. A lot of Ska bands tend to train their thoughts to subjugated and repressed avenues- few incorporate necessary happiness and positivity. Whilst Broken 3 Ways do look at harsher and harder themes, their music is imbued with spirited and affirmative heart- there is plenty to enjoy and recommend. The final two influences- or bands- I shall mention are Madness and The Specials. Less Punk-infused and more traditional, there are threads you can take from both acts. Madness’ New Wave and Ska energy made them the legends they are. Whilst not as wacky and far-out as Madness, Broken 3 Ways have a similar sense of story and adventure. Both acts fill their songs with interesting characters, charming scenes and oddities- dimming the mood when required. From One Step Beyond…, Madness showed how versatile and mobile they were: combining various genres and music forms, the relentless sense of cheer and energy never drops. Broken 3 Ways appropriate a modicum of Madness’ wildness and alacrity- those distinct and regal horn climbs can be detected in both acts. Less The Nutty Boys; more The Headbutty Boys, Broken 3 Ways have retained the core and honest Ska sound Madness popularised, and added to it. The Specials were renowned for their angriness and essential lyrics: their songs looked at the realities of the streets and modern life. Father figures to the likes of Sublime, The Specials is a masterpiece of dissatisfaction. Whereas the album looked at the likes of teen pregnancy and the local streets, Broken 3 Ways take their creative mind elsewhere: their songs are instilled with some comparable urgency and striking vocals. The sharp and quote-worthy lyrics that ran rampage through the album have inspired the likes of Broken 3 Ways. Our boys have an ear for a terrific line; able to distill the essence of social impotency; strange scenes and characters; weird and disconcerting themes into coherent and compelling songs. Fun and frivolousness can be detected in the work of The Specials- they did not just go with bad mood music- and this range and fullness has inspired many current band such as Broken 3 Ways.

Work On It has already been receiving some infused praise- a promising litmus test ahead of their album release. Noted for its gladiatorial and grand sound, it is a song that you cannot ignore- and will not forget. Beginning with some flowing and teasing guitar strings, the song beckons the listener in- a gentle and seductive start, that parable is soon joined by parping brass. The vocal delivery is quick-fire and impassioned: our hero lets his words tumble and strike as they do. The early stages of the song introduce the song’s title- employing it as a mantra, it is chanting in full voice; that energy and pride is put into the mix straight away. Perhaps speaking from personal experience- or casting himself in the guise of an anonymous hero- our singer has intent in his voice. It is hard to learn new things; wondering how he is going to learn (if he’s not been shown), I got the impression of a voice rallying against the tedium and pointlessness of office life- that purposeless skill-set that many modern employees need. Perhaps the anger is less directed towards the type of job and more towards particular employees. Our hero knows it is hard “being left alone“- fending for yourself and employing initiative can be quite strenuous and counter-intuitive. With his voice incorporating some of Joe Strummer’s legendary punch, the strength and urgency of the delivery cannot be faulted- it is a raw and meaningful coda. Backed on vocals intermittently, the track acts as a clarion call; a warning shot against the ship, Broken 3 Ways are the army fighting against the ineptness of modern-day workers. The song advises that it is no good to just sit there and do nothing: proclaiming (that these types of people) need to “step on it“; if they let their focus and drive subside then the money will all be gone- and they will be done. Our hero is rebelling against the trend of moaning and capitulating: he will make it through the days and get to the very end. Whereas colleagues and contemporaries are exploding and breaking down, here we see a man who needs to make money- his boss is not causing him to fret; stating that he just needs to work on things. Exploring an original and ever-relevant subject, the song marks itself out from the scores of others out there- few acts take their minds away from love and break-ups to explore something so meaningful and universal. The way the words are projected catches your ear and infuses the song with a constant drive: the hero belts and proclaims his words- with no vitriol or blood-curdling roar, his voice has a distinct and vintage Punk sound. Able to fit into the back catalogue of The Clash, The Specials and Capdown, it is a uniquely English voice that comes through: that everyman soul in the vocal makes the song resonate and hit hard. The rest of the band is up to the task in hand. In addition to setting the scene, a hell of a lot of atmosphere and music is whipped up. Between lines, brass is scatter-shot and frantic- it retreats and then goes back for one more go- the percussion rifles and punches in the background. Versatility and cross-pollination is something Broken 3 Ways are noted for. In Work On It, they inject Reggae touches: towards the 0:55 marker, there is a relaxed and island-sounding sigh. The energy and passion in the vocal not only calls to mind Punk and Ska, but of modern-day Indie and Rock. If you are a fan of the heroes of the genres, then you will find some treats here: Peers Bow and Hyland have unique tones but are equally as impressive as the most impassioned singers on the scene. The song’s developing story and itinerant drive keeps the listener compelled and hooked: you are rooting for our man but your thoughts divide themselves. If you look at the video for the track- go to YouTube and seek it out- it depicts clips of office workers melting down: destroying company property, it is the clip show of the pissed-off drone- rallying against the stress and strains of office life. When I hear the song, I imagine our hero doing his work: getting on with his chores, you sense various bodies succumbing to the pressure of the environment- crumbling under the weight of expectation. If others are finding this setting too hostile and unforgiving, it is not the case for our hero: the pithy three-word performance review is inspiring him to get the hang on things. Backed by a propulsive and considerate composition- it is not too heavy, instead providing tender notes and building emotion- our hero is feeling a little fed up. In spite of mastering his duties, the same problems keep occurring- the “same old strife” is haunting his mind. Not only giving the song a new perspective- you feel that he is the embodiment of one of the video’s crazed and delirious workers- that tension starts to build. The job is being done by a loyal and eager employee; throwing back nothing but kicks in the teeth, life is not fair at all. That indelible and gorgeous compositional rise- where the horns and brass rise and blast with ceremony; the percussion pummels- perfectly punctuates the tension and building anger. In spite of all the horrors unfolding, our hero is remaining firm and strong: get through the day and do what you can. This philosophy seems almost harsh as the song progresses: with his boss advising his employee to step it up, you sense a man under the lash and yolk of a tormenting hell- he does not want to me there but can’t afford not to. Before the 2:00 mark, there is a chance for interval and pause. The composition takes charge and provides another fascinating layer of sound. The brass comes up first: Jazz-infused and free-form, it spirals and twirls- the coda snakes and twists; shifting directions (and putting you in mind of Charles Mingus). Whilst not breaking into full-on eccentricity, the passion and fervour that is summoned is a wonderful touch- leading to a fantastic guitar solo. Both psychedelic and tranquil, it matches powerful grit with soothing calm- mixing Hard-Rock fret work with Jazz-Rock experimentation. Before long, the vocal is back in the fold: the chorus swings back in and that mocking message makes its mark. Our hero is quite coy in his delivery: whether vengeful of his inept boss (or keen to keep his discipline strong), you start to wonder- I suspect that a sarcastic edge is enforcing his words and delivery style. I mentioned Steely Dan in my last review- can’t remember the context- and the U.S. Jazz-Rock gods come back to mind. When the trumpet is back in the spotlight, the sound and sensation you get from it puts me in mind of Aja/Gaucho-era Steely Dan. Perhaps not a name on the boys’ radar, it is an impressive feat. Having already expertly blended Reggae and Ska alongside Punk, it is great to hear the sound of ’70s-’80s U.S. Jazz-Rock- the song keeps building and getting more assured as the time progresses. Joined by romantic and lustful sax; stirring and intent guitar work; solid and pounding drums- the compositions flourishes and spreads its plumage. Colours, smells and sights are unfurled as the boys combine in harmony: part-jam; part-studied detail, the mix of youthful energy and maturity creates an incredible sound. Rousing and uplifting, they ensure the listener is treated to an honest display of the band’s full talents- the parable is not merely a stop-gap; it adds enormous weight and fascination to the song. Ceremonial and arms-in-the-air joy infuses with a sharp and Blues-inspired guitar sound- the crispness of the Blues notes work well with the glowing throng of brass, guitar and percussion. With the bass holding the two sounds together- and keeping the song moving forward- we reach the final moments. Enraptured in the wonderful musical rampage, it acts as a fitting conclusion and wonderful outro.- you sense the song’s hero has gone to the dark side; destroying his laptop with venom, maybe his boss’s possessions are his next target. As the final notes ache and shrink, it is impossible not to elicit a cheeky grin- the song’s energy, words and high-points spiral your mind with centrifugal momentum.

It is rare to come across a song as loveable, instantaneous and unusual as Work On It. In the modern market, there is still a dominance of love ballads and romance-themed tracks. When a musician does come along (and differs in that respect) the effect is quite strange: they seem almost unnatural and rebellious. Perhaps I over-exaggerate, but you cannot deny the prevalence of the tender song: that which is designed to exorcise demons and connect with the listener. I think those songs have a rightful and much-needed place- I love hearing music that breaks away from this. Taking us inside of the office place- studying miscreants bosses and bad-tempered working conditions- you get a vivid sense of reality and relevance in the song. I have heard few tracks that cover the same issue- Broken 3 Ways distinguish themselves in so many different ways. The lyrics are sharp and witty; there is anger and de-motivation; febrile aloofness and the assessment of the mundane- so much ground is covered in the track. Return to the Shack contains similarly adventurous numbers: that same individuality and diversity makes its presence known. Before I mention the band members, it is worth assessing the song as a whole. It is a track that compels and fascinates from the very first notes. There is such a depth to the composition; meaning the energy never relents- it is a wave of song that you are helpless to swim against. With a superb composition that lets the guys get on with things, there is a great live feel- if you strain your ears you would imagine you are face-to-face with the chaps. The sheer catchiness of the song cannot be overlooked- the chorus’ addictive chant is one you will be parroting and projecting for days to come. A triumphant and incredible track that is perfect to lift the mood: it has a depth and maturity that few Punk-Ska tracks possess; clearly a lot of work has gone into the track. I should mention the band themselves. Peers Bow and Scott Hyland inject a huge amount of force and passion into the agenda. The lead vocal has touches of Joe Strummer and Tim Strickland: our hero incorporates his distinct accent into things; that mingling of uniqueness and vintage gives the performance an extra layer of conviction. Hyland’s salt of the earth personality gives Work On It a charm and weight that few other singers are capable on: every word sounds essential and inordinately pressing. Aldred and Hyland contribute trumpet and saxophone. The trumpet adds shiver and stirring rush during the song- some of the most intergalactic and spellbinding moments emanate from that instrument. An assured, fascinating and impassioned performance- it is a facet that makes Return to the Shack such an entrancing album. With Gartman joining Hyland in guitar duties, a Punk/Rock kick is mixed into proceedings: the guitar lines are slithering, striking and packed with plenty of clout and spit. Bass drive and direction is provided by Fal; Price on keys: instrumental composites that provide concision, beauty, dance and emphasis- not relegated to second-fiddle duties, they are essential ingredients in the mouth-watering dish. Green’s drumming is hard and memorable throughout. Flair and swagger; smash-and-grab gives Work On It the audible punch promised in the lyrics- matching the vocals perfectly, the combination is potent and domineering. Overall the band work wonderfully together. The close friendship and brotherly spirit gives the song such an assured and unmistakable naturalness: you can tell how long they have been playing together; the track does not sound too over-rehearsed or tampered with. The tight and stunning performances from each member get inside of your head: the entire song swirls and spikes your brain for a long, long time. Few other songs- I have heard this year- echo and rebound my mind with such a startling attack. Instant and driving; urgent and vivid, it is a song that mixes classic Punk and Ska (both U.S. and U.K.-based) together with a very modern sound- scoring a subject that is relevant and extrapolatable in any decade. Before I move on, I want to mention the genres of Ska and Punk. In the past they have pervaded and represented by a number of different acts- The Clash, The Specials etc.- but few modern acts keep this flame alive. Broken 3 Ways are capable of inspiring other acts to take up the type of music: with songs as strong as this I am tempted to give it a go! If you like Work On It, then you will love their album; if you prefer something a bit different then do not dismay- so many different shades and directions can be found throughout the L.P.

I have reviewed a lot of different musicians (the past few weeks). Plenty of stunning artists have made some very big impressions: from the recent stagger of The Moth Lantern’s beautiful Light Waves, my mind has been kept alert, alive and fascinated. Broken 3 Ways unveil Return to the Shack (on 28th July). Being a self-funded album, the seven-piece have worked long and hard to get the record made: that sense of pride and determination comes through across all the tracks. I have listened to the album and am stunned by the amount of depth, range and adventuorusness present: chocked full of life, compunctive swagger and endless brilliance, it is a perfect fusion of Ska and Punk- a collection that strikes your head, heart and soul. Not only does their music excite and tantalise the blood; it makes you want to move and dance- by the end of the album, you will be left wanting a lot more. For that reason, it is perhaps not a surprise that Work On It has had such a profound effect (on me). I adore music that mixes brass and strings; where the vocals are urgent and utterly arresting; sounds that are rich and steeped in colour and life- essentially music that does exactly what music should do. The boys have created a group that are sure to be big business in future years: the initial feedback and praise contains no hyperbole or exaggeration- everybody needs Broken 3 Ways in their lives. With the summer days promising stifling heat and wall-to-wall sunshine, their music is perfect for the season- it implores you to move and lose yourself inside of the music; become immersed in the myriad perfections of their tantalising seductions. Make sure you snap up their album, as it is one of the most exhilarating and urgent releases that 2014 will see. There is still too much hesitation and risklessness in modern music: a rigid formation of guitar, vocal, bass and drums composes most of today’s music- if you broaden your sonic palette, so much more depth and brilliance can be elicited. Broken 3 Ways will not be a secret for too much longer: with a stellar reputation in the North West, their inspiration and momentum is sure to seep further south. The likes of London are crying out for more acts that provide something genuinely unique. Music will only thrive and diversify if the artists take a stand: unexpected and mesmerising sounds inspire like-minded action; that in turn leads to bolder sounds; that leads to a less homogenised and stale scene- meaning future generations are in safer hands. If you are a fan of ‘traditional’ Ska outfits like Madness and The Specials, then Broken 3 Ways provide some relevant detail- they go beyond that and add a Punk energy and rush to the genre. Instilled with fun, emotion and exciting lyrics- topped off with incredible vocals- their sound is a festival of effusiveness and abandon. Before I wrap up, I will dovetail my original thesis: the issues of northern music and Ska. The North of England is showcasing the most impressive and ambitious musicians in the U.K.: artists that do things a little bit differently but keep the quality at the very highest end of the scale. I will always have time for Indie and Grunge: these genres are producing some of this country’s best and brightest bands. It is great that this is happening, but I suspect that a day may arrive when the market is suffocated by these types of artists: a battle royal will ensue and blood will be shed. There is not going to be enough room and space for all of these bands to gain acclaim and attention- only the fittest and most agile will prevail. If you want to progress and develop in music; ensure that your career lasts and blossoms, then you need to provide the public with something new- present sounds that do not tread the same ground as so many others. Broken 3 Ways will have an exciting future ahead of them. Work On It is a brash and phenomenal statement from a seven-piece that want to seduce as many listeners as possible- with the release of their album, they will see their followers rise and swell. As much as anything, I have been opened up to a band that I had not heard of; witnessed music that differs from my normal rotation- something striking and unexpectedly brilliant. I will be sure to keep Return to the Shack in my mind: keep the tracks spinning and get to grips with the full extent of its potential. Great music is defined by its power to inspire the mind of the listener: not only get their creative side working, but investigate similar-sounding bands (in a particular genre). I have been digging up my old Ska and Punk albums; gone online to check out (some of Broken 3 Way’s) influences and inspirations- getting a fuller impression of the type of music that compels them. This summer is going to see plenty of heat and sun; enough rain and unpredictable meteorological days- our intrepid seven-piece offer a soundtrack that is perfect for every climate and mood. With their legendary reputation for exciting live performances, the band are going to be promoting their single- and album- over the coming weeks. It will give the public a chance to witness the Wirral boys in their natural setting: inflaming and igniting multiple venues around the country. I have made a note to come and see the guys do their thing; experience their music up close and personal…

THAT is going to be worth seeing for sure.

About the Author:

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

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Follow Broken 3 Ways:

 

Official:

http://broken3ways.co.uk/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/broken3ways

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/broken3ways

YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/user/broken3ways/videos

ReverbNation:

http://www.reverbnation.com/broken3ways4

MySpace:

https://myspace.com/broken3ways

SongKick:

http://www.songkick.com/artists/6463204

Last F.M.:

http://www.last.fm/music/Broken+3+Ways

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Gig dates accessible at:

https://www.facebook.com/broken3ways/app_123966167614127

 

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Broken 3 Ways’ music can be viewed here:

https://www.facebook.com/broken3ways/app_178091127385

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Broken 3 Ways merchandise is available via:

http://broken3ways.dizzyjam.com/

 

 

Album Review: The Moth Lantern- Light Waves

ALBUM REVIEW:

The Moth Lantern

 

Light Waves

9.6/10.0

Light Waves is available from:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/light-waves/id889037836

TRACKLISTING:

End of Summer- 9.6/10.0

Armour- 9.5

Fall In- 9.6

Myself- 9.5

Black Shapes- 9.6

Bad Sun- 9.6

On a Boat, On the Water- 9.5

Fly- 9.7

The Light That Broke the Waves- 9.6

Taser- 9.7

The Nightmare Is Just the Beginning- 9.6

Comfort- 9.6

STAND-OUT CUT:

Taser

DOWNLOAD:

Fall In, Black Shapes, Fly, The Light That Broke the Waves, Taser

RELEASED:

23rd June, 2014

℗ 2014 The Moth Lantern

GENRES:

Alternative, Indie-Rock, Grunge, Pop, Acoustic, Psychedelia

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The Lincolnshire four-piece have gained praise from the likes of Steve Lamacq and Stuart Maconie. With their music taking in the likes of Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac, Pearl Jam and The Beach Boys- these music warriors are destined for regal climbs. Light Waves is the sound of The Moth Lantern at their very best: filled with sweeping epics, delicious ballads and colourful jams, it is an album (and band) you need in your life.

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QUITE a turbulent and unsettling past few days has seen…

a rather horrific world event. Having just heard of another tragic air crash- in which near to 300 people died- it has got me thinking about the world at large. I know it is an unorthodox beginning to a music review, yet the point I am leading to is this: stability, assurance and safety is needed- as much now as it ever was. The likelihood of the likes of you and me becoming involved in such a horror is incredibly slim- the world is becoming more unpredictable and detached by the week. Whilst bewildered eyes scan the magnitude of unfolding catastrophe; try to comprehend just how people- that perpetrate such crimes- are allowed to wander and breathe- anxious and confused minds need soothing and redemption. It would be a leap to suggest that an art form such as music can completely allay such stresses: bearing no physical manifestations, it is limited in its overall potential. Saying that, it is important to recognise just how effective and uplifting music can be: it not only can distract the mind for a short period; it is capable of providing long-term support and pleasure. All of us- to some extent- need an escape from the vicissitudes of modern life: somewhere personal and warm that can fill cracks and ensure our minds are not too weighed down- the music coming through at the moment is providing plenty of options. I know I have long spoken of this facet- it shall be the last time I will for a while- yet brand-new music is impressing me now more than it ever has- the acts emerging are surprising and confounding me every week. In the past few days, I have assessed everything from Canadian Grunge/Indie; U.K. Folk beauty; Acoustic sway and of-the-moment Electro.-Pop: you would be hard-pressed to draw a line through these disparate acts. Staggering to see just what a range and diversity the music fan is being offered right now: if you search hard enough you can discover something genuinely fantastic and tantalising. Having dedicated a lot of focus towards bands (and that market), I am always excited to see a genuinely eager and talented group come through- musicians that separate themselves apart and ensure their music lodges into your brain. My featured act is garnering some tremendous praise and adulation at the moment- high-profile and reputable commentators are keen to pay tribute to one of this country’s brightest new acts. Having won support from the likes of BBC 6 and nationwide publications, The Moth Lantern are definitely a group you need to keep your eyes on. Before I go into too much detail, let me introduce them to you:

The Moth Lantern are a 4 piece indie rock band from Lincoln. They encompass the spirit of bands such as Fleetwood Mac with a wide range of songs from gentle acoustic ballads with luscious 4-piece harmonies to giant-sized rock songs which liken them to The Bends era Radiohead and Pearl Jam.”

The indie/acoustic band delighted Olympic crowds with a fun energetic up-tempo set, contrasted superbly by original potent ballads, written by band’s guitar virtuoso, Dan Clark; Jo Clark (Keyboard and Vocals) adds glamour & dynamism to the group, whilst drummer Eddie George provides the throbbing beats which underpins the unique Moth Lantern sound. Jason Rungapadiachy (Bass Guitar & Vocals) Jason’s powerful vocals are a compelling proposition, adding integrity and depth, as can be clearly heard on all tracks such as ‘ARMOUR’ and the hugely popular crowd pleasing ballad ‘COMFORT’”

Being a huge fan of Radiohead, Fleetwood Mac and Pearl Jam; I was a little sceptical- at first anyway- that a sapling band could reach such dizzying and impressive climbs. Seeing as The Bends is my all-time favourite album, I was salivating (slightly) upon hearing the first notes (The Moth Lantern provided). The music offered by the quartet is an aperture of upbeat and emphatic Rock- the band have plenty in their arsenal that compels the mind and instills embers of classic acts. A lot of my reviews have focused around bands- by quite a majority- and in all the years I have been doing this, I have been seeking an act that can combine U.S. Grunge of the ’80s and ’90s; together with early/mid-’90s British Rock and Indie: it may sound like a strange desire; when those sounds are mixed the blend is quite sensational and hypnotic. With the likes of Radiohead taking an extended hiatus and sabbatical, there is a desperate gap in the market: most modern acts either tend to go heavier and harder or softer and less striking- The Moth Lantern manage to strike the perfect balance without coming off as Radiohead copycats. I will go more into their overall sound later, but will end with one final point: the way to get critical acclaim. Aside from receiving impassioned praise from the likes of Stuart Maconie, Steve Lamacq and Pete Donaldson (Absolute Radio), the band have been touching many fans and music-lovers- each knowing they have stumbled upon something rather special. Many have different opinions on what the greatest ever album is- they are wrong, but hey- and have their own views: The Moth Lantern have picked the perfect influences and range of sounds- cunningly and expertly blended them in their own right and present music that put you in a better head space. I miss the glory days of the ’90s: when music was at its very finest and it seemed like anything could be acheived- our quartet bring you back to those days but keep your mind and head in 2014- they have pulled off quite a feat. In addition to having an impressive online portfolio, the band have a great love of their supporters (and the music they play)- you just know they are going to be making music for the rest of their lives. In an industry where there are far too many short-lived heroes, it is great to discover a band you just know is going to go all the way: make sure you offer your support and watch them as they embark on a fantastic career.

For the freshly-initiated and newly-indoctrinated, I should probably give you an insight into the band’s past work- to show how their sound has developed and transmogrified. Light Waves is the first album from the four-piece- and their most fully-realised work to date. Having formed several years ago, the band have been busy working on their sound; putting the songs together and giving the public a chance to hear what they are capable of. Their self-titled E.P. was released in November 2012 and was the group’s debut E.P.- it was met with critical acclaim and a fond amount of respect. I shall not dissect the songs of the E.P.- they feature on Light Waves so will not tread on my own toes- but it was a terrifically confident and assured four-track release. The songs Fall In, Armour and Comfort have been in the ether for a little while and form part of Light Waves- again, I shall not dive into those tracks just now. What I can say about their past work, is that it imbued with clear confidence and identity. Normally, bands take a while to overcome nerves and hit the high points: it can take months to enforce their own sound and feel comfortable in their own skin. When listening to the likes of The Moth Lantern, I was stunned by how diverse they were: being a first E.P., most acts would tend to play it safe; present songs that had sounded alike. The quartet display a restlessness and ambition right from the very start: the sound of a band that know what they want comes through. When looking back at their past work, there is one track (not included on the album)- Christmas Lights. Possessing obvious seasonal relevance, the song is no novelty or bland Christmas number- it is a genuine and compelling number. Beginning with an upbeat and The Bends-esque spiralling coda; the track has an instant spring and energy: lodging itself under your skin, a remarkable amount of intent is proffered. When the vocal does come in, it mixes Barenaked Ladies and Eddie Vedder: that gravelled and masculine burr mingles with spirited and impassioned delivery. With U.S. tones (Barenaked Ladies are Canadian technically), it works well with the lyrics. Breaking away from predictable parables, The Moth Lantern inject optimism and love-against-the-odds; there is sexuality and wittiness to be found- the abiding theme is finding satisfaction and love on Christmas eve. Infusing some distinct band tones- the gorgeous backing by Clark; the sensational blend of sounds- the track is one that should be enjoyed all-year round- it is for life after all. Few acts are brave enough to attempt a Christmas-themed song- unless money and commercialism is their motive- so it is impressive that The Moth Lantern not only have created one- it stands alongside their most impressive work. In concluding, the sagest thing I can do is to see how far the band have come in the last couple of years. Whereas The Moth Lantern have been exciting music minds since 2012, their 2014 movements demonstrate a leap of confidence and ability. As incredible as their past singles are, the newer material perhaps shows even more ability and urgency. Whereas Christmas Lights and Fall In contained some phenomenal touches and wonderful moments- my mind has been spiked by their latest offerings. Light Waves comes across as a connected, consistent and a seemless work that beautifully blends in their previous singles- together with new offerings. The ambition and quality have increased- they were already fantastic- as has their range of sounds and themes. Incorporating influences such as Radiohead and Pearl Jam, Light Waves opens up more: ’90s embers and classic Pop mixes with a distinct band that promises a hell of a ride. Opulence and inner beauty can be found trading with longing, emotion and love. The band incorporate quirky and eccentric themes; charm and wit spars alongside heaviness and heartache- at the core is a sound that is hard to refute or ignore. I suppose the biggest development the band has made is releasing the album: it gives the public a chance to witness the full potency and potential of one of the U.K.’s finest emerging acts. Anyone new to The Moth Lantern, I would say this: go back and listen to their previous tracks; then listen to the album (in isolation)- compare and contrast. You can hear a development and growth; their new L.P. shows how inspired and in awe the band are- they have lived exciting musical lives; it comes through in Technicolor detail and vividity.

The band have a long list on influences and idols: mixing genres, decades and styles it is an impressive roll-call. The essence of early-days Beatles shows itself in their softer and more introverted moments. When proceedings lean towards ballad territory; where there is a sweeter and more romantic edge, I caught glimmers of Rubber Soul- and the Liverpudlians early albums. Band leader Dan Clark has an ear for melody and composition: he packs songs with so much life and energy- it has an element of ’60s Power-Pop. When surveying Light Waves you can tell that Lennon and McCartney are heroes of our frontman: he has a fond love and authority on the best music the 1960s had to offer- modernising the sound and adapting it into his own vision. The band is renowned for their sunny moments and four-piece harmonies- a few names spring to mind. The Beatles may be relevant here as well. Often Lennon, McCartney and Harrison would take lead- Starr would intermittently steal focus. I feel the Liverpool legends were at their most spine-tingling when blending their voices together. Tracks like Hey Jude and With a Little Help from My Friends are among the band’s most special moments. That joy, uplift and endless bonhomie (and coming together) is what I associate with the band: you get that feeling when The Moth Lantern allow their tones to combine and seduce. The Beach Boys are another band that feature highly in the group’s regards. That Californian ’60s free-spirit resonates in their most joyous and elliptical moments: the delirious and sunshine harmonies evoke the spirit of Surfin’ Safari and Surfin’ U.S.A. (their earliest moments); the band are equally adept at taking you to surf scenes and packed beaches as they are the open road and stretching highways. Few acts contain one great singer- let alone four. Their distinct and equally powerful tones not only are superb when blending with one another: each band member stands out when their voices are allowed moments in the spotlight. When the mood is a little more sombre and reflective, you can detect influences of Folk and Acoustic masters Nick Drake and Elliot Smith. Whilst not projecting the same sort of suicidality and black velvet kiss, the band are capable of making you reflect and consider life’s essential themes- when they let their music calm and quell; quite a stunning effect is elicited. Rungapadiachy’s voice is a mailable and diverse instrument that is at home when soaring and climbing into the atmosphere; in addition to touching the soul and pulling on the heartstrings. The same brilliance and rich sound that Fleetwood Mac pervaded- especially their Dreams-era work- comes through in Light Waves. In addition to the vocal harmonies and the multi-talented band members, the group present the same sort of Blues-Rock energy: at times when listening to The Moth Lantern, I catch glimpses of Dreams, Tusk and Mirage- those insatiable and memorable songs just lodge in your brain. Unlike the turbulent and fractured eventfulness of Fleetwood Mac, our Lincolnshire quartet are much more harmonious and together- giving their songs an additional layer of conviction and beauty. A few other acts enter your thoughts- when you hear The Moth Lantern. Pearl Jam rank as one of the group’s top influences: you can sense some of Eddie Vedder’s passion and masculine growl blend into some of The Moth Lantern’s tracks (when Rungapadiachy sings on tracks such as Armour, you can definitely detect that sense of strength and integrity). I adore Pearl Jam’s epic and stunning brand of song- if you listen to Vitalogy and Ten you hear a band at the very peak of their powers. In addition to being able to unleash stirring and incredibly deep vocals- that mix lower and grumbled croon with high-pitched climbs- The Moth Lantern have a great Grunge undertone- they can summon up Ten‘s luster and impressionistic touches; that drama and larger-than-life vision. Whilst Vitalogy was lauded for its relentless bleakness and depression, it was celebrated (by insightful critics) due to its substance and sense of fight- the album went on to become one of Rolling Stones‘ top 500 albums of all-time. Perhaps the most distinct and impressive parable one can link to The Moth Lantern is Radiohead. Many reviewers have noted how our quartet match the majesty, epic-ness and driving beauty of The Bends-era Radiohead- that album is my absolute favourite for a number of reasons. In addition to some startlingly beautiful tracks- Fake Plastic Trees, (Nice Dream), High and Dry- the band also provided hypnotic and spiraling monsters- The Bends, My Iron Lung, Just- as well as more haunted and shadowy tracks- Street Spirit (Fade Out), Bullet Proof…I Wish I Was- there was a cornucopia of wonder to be witnessed. The Moth Lantern are equally considerate when it comes to mood and range. Not only do they summon up the ‘Britpop’-era’s outsider album; they assimilate that essential dynamics that make Radiohead the legends they are: compelling and startling vocals; incredible riffs and compositions; tight and assured performances- a consistency that sees them not dropping a heartbeat from start to finish. It seems like a poisoned chalice- if you compare a band to such lofty geniuses- but The Moth Lantern are no rip-offs or tribute band: you get a bubbling undertone of Radiohead- you never feel like you are hearing anything too obvious or glaring. It is true that there is a lot of range and different threads there- when it comes to collecting all of the band’s influences- a lot of their idols are either bygone or past their prime. That is not to say that The Moth Lantern’s sounds stop at 1995: modernity, urgency, current-day passion and sounds come through in their music. Perfectly blending classic sounds (with the sounds of 2014), you get a rich and multi-layered package: one that appeals to the modern music consumer in addition to those with a fond fascination with the glories of the ’60s and ’70s. You must always assess a band on their own merits: do not assume that The Moth Lantern are going to sound too much like anyone familiar. The greatest thing you can say about the four-piece is that they have a distinct and wholly unique voice: loathed and hard-pressed to compare it to anyone else, it is the result of years of focus, honing and cross-pollination- instilled with such a force that everything they perform sounds utterly compelling and mesmeric.

An emotional and tender sonic combination opens up End of Summer. Perhaps befitting of the song’s title; rustling strings and atmospheric percussion elicits a scene of tranquility and breeze- it has elements of The Cinematic Orchestra’s most evocative work, and instantly calms the senses. Enmeshed in the gentleness are spacey and distorted notes: touches of psychedelic guitar merge to add colour into the mix- your mind changes course and has something new to consider; perhaps a new season is being unveiled. After a trippy and Funk-infused mini-jam, the acoustic strings overladen and reinforce their dominance- before our hero steps to the mic. Backed by a propulsive and catchy drive- that put me in mind of The Doors- the smoky and coffee tones (sounding a little like early Jim Morrison) look at a “ball on a chain tied to my feet.” Things are getting deep and our hero sounds a little anxious and unsure: perhaps a relationship is moving too fast; working at a pace that is quite uncomfortable- that sense of entrapment filters through in the early stages. Your thoughts are reassessed after some instantly dark and unsettling thoughts- the river is deep and a body is being thrown in. Whether speaking metaphorically- looking at emotional issues or end of love- or literally, it is a vivid and stark image. After the beauty and positivity of the intro., something dangerous and deathly comes into play- the mood is kept from being mordant due to the rousing and striking vocal; the ebullient skip of the composition gives the track a charming peppiness. With a cohort and colleague in hand, the body is thrown into the (deep) sea. Bereft and confused it is said “Don’t know how it started“- a situation is unfolding that has escalated and spiralled out of control. Catching shooting stars (and seeing blinding lights), the end of summer arrives- our hero and his band have not got very far; their backs are against the wall. Wonderfully balancing the angst and unrest of the lyrics is a composition that mutates and conspires. Funky and delirious guitars mix with driving bass; the percussion injects a huge amount of punch and swagger- that spacey and robotic coda lurks in the background; adding delirium and hypnotic smoke. Our hero has trouble in him: with his voice rises and belting, the emotion and force of events hits him- perhaps the outcome here is obvious. Whilst the chorus is re-introduced and prophesied, the band combine in the final moments: a primal and ragged drum roll gives way to a squalling and rampant guitar rapture- perhaps representing the urgency and tension of the situation, it is a frantic and mesmerising arresting climax. Armour arrives next- the track is already a firm fan favourite. Smooth and cooing vocals are supported by a sun-kissed and foot-tapping acoustic line- after the repressed tension of the previous number, your mind is back on safe ground. Sounding like no other band, the song wins you instantly with its gorgeous and swooning heart: you sense that something romantic is upon us. “We made you in the setting sun” are the first words offered up: our hero proclaims- to his subject- that he’s their “second skin.” Determined to stop all suffering, it is an intriguing and deep beginning. Proclaiming to his sweetheart that he’ll be their armour; the honesty and directness of the words make the song stand out- you get a sense of chivalry and tender longing. Backed by swaying and serene vocals- from Jo Clark- the emotions and passion wash over your senses- our hero is not made of strong stuff but is going to make sure he is tough enough (to protect his love). The song’s constant energy and drive makes you sing-along and become involved- you are rooting for the hero and captivated by his treaty. Displaying an old-fashioned gentlemen’s heart; tied to a composition that melts modern-day Folk and Acoustic- it is a wonderful and impressive mix. Charmed and smiling guitars parabond with romantic and tender notes- towards the final stages- as the vocal comes back in: determined to make his words resonate, the delivery is hot-bloodied and impassioned. Following Rungapadiachy’s intensely emotive vocals, Fall In offers a different direction: the intro. grooves, trips and dances; imbued with Latin and Hispanic undertones, it is a gorgeous opening offering. When the get-up-and-dance parable mixes with a more teeth-clenching (and raw) guitar line, a huge amount of energy and invigoration is whipped up- it is an incredibly addictive and memorable intro. Supported by a spectral- with an energised stutter- backing, our hero has some heavy words to proffer: having had enough of things, he finds himself sleeping rough- resigned to a life of uncertainty and escape. With a mix of Radiohead’s compositional gifts (plus Barenaked Ladies-esque vocal), you get a real treat in Fall In. The chorus is another catchy gem that is incorporated of energy and inflamed vocals. My mind raced back to early moments: with our hero stating “tell my people“; it is almost as though he is being cast in an ecumenical role: whether a pastor or a figure of salvation, you feel as though his flock and followers are being addressed. If the words concern friends and family, I am not sure; you cannot deny there is epic and grand proportions at play. With a delicious croon- that puts me in mind of both Jim Morrison and Neil Hannon- you get caught up in that chest-beating and chocolate voice: masculine and sexual; teasing and tender, it is a phenomenal blend. Our hero speaks to his woman: wanting her to be his, there is lust and passion on his mind- a great need for survival. Detachment and disconnectedness come through- this life is providing a different road and is unconventional and unpredictable. The song tells us that not everyone follows the same path: some people are safe and make it through- our intrepid battler is going down another road. The composition is impressive throughout: twiddling and twirling guitars, bouncing and sensual bass mix with punchy percussion- it is bad-ass, kick-ass and utterly compelling. Such a grandeur is summoned by the band, it is impossible to not get caught up in the song: the track will mark itself out as a live favourite in next to no time. Introducing some Absolution-era Muse- in the composition- the track entrances the senses: agog at the final moments, the song reaches fever-pitch. Clark lets his guitar snake and charge- Jazz-Rock and Grunge edges contort and seduce- crunching space-age riffs mingle alongside carnivorous wailing- your head and brain are scrambled and split into two. As the track comes to a close, it is impossible not to think that one of the album’s finest cuts has been witnessed. Myself begins with a sensual and stop-start intro. Our hero is fatigued and not quite himself: desiring to sleep and rest his bones, the composition trips and topples- perhaps underpinning that sense of tiredness and confusion. Knowing he will wake “feeling just the same” there is a delicious Eddie Vedder-esque croak and gravel in the tones: words concerning dull aches and the need to re-energise are given full conviction and consideration- few singers could present the words with the same intent. When the song rises; the composition kicks up a gear; the first sign- of the band’s legendary harmonies- comes into force: words such as “I hate this/My mind doesn’t belong to me” really strike a chord. Eliciting huge emotion and strained outpouring, signs of early-career Pearl Jam poke through- it is a treasure that could easily fit onto Ten. With elegant and ethereal backing vocals, sleep gives our man “remedy“- whatever is on his mind, it is clearly causing him some unrest and insomnia. The band combine spectacularly in the composition: the guitar mutates and offers different shades; the percussion keeps constant and firm- the bass ensures that everything is kept in check and does not spiral out of control. Clark’s alluring and Siren beauty is what lingers in my mind- as Myself comes to its final stage. Black Shapes is my kind of song. A delightfully upbeat and springy acoustic guitar parable arrives after a false-start: a chuckle and ‘studio out-take’ moment gives the song an instant smile and charm. Such a rush and emphatic amount of intention comes through in the intro. you struggle to take it all in. Our hero’s voice is fast-paced and direct- in Myself it was calmed and somnambulistic- as he looks at black shapes crawling on the bedroom floor. In times like this, the last thing he needs is “a vivid imagination“- a sense of paranoia and unease make their voices known. Whether seeing the shadow of intruders; some ghostly finger in his room, it has left our hero a little breathless and worried- by the morning it has left him. A weird dream; the black shapes get closer and closer: with his voice rising and straining, that sense of desperation and fear comes back in- you wonder just where the story is going to go. Trying to close his eyes and forget things, it is a recurring nightmare that is plaguing his mind. When the song reaches its 3:30 mark, the composition becomes eerie and haunted: aching and pizzicato sounds fuse with a delirious wordless vocal- it is a wonderfully potent and arresting musical moment. Instantly that kick and upbeat drive comes back in- there is almost a positivity and sense of joy when the nightmare relinquish its grip. Theremin-sounding wails blend with acoustic strings: after the rapture and relief of the previous refrain, here we get a beautiful come-down- the band demonstrating they can end a song as impressively as they begin them. Twinkling and gorgeously seductive guitar notes give Bad Sun a terrific opening: Blues embers combine with Doors luster; giving the impression of the sun setting on a warm and bare desert horizon. Providing a rousing follow-on, the intro. mutates into an upright and effusive parable- reminding me a little of Blur’s Coffee & TV. Our hero looks up and investigates the sun: it is said that a man promises there is a star up there we can travel to; a destination that is “not too far“- oblique and byzantine curiosity makes your mind wonder. The song’s subject is lying and falsifying; long in the tooth, he is welching on his promises- the dissatisfaction and anger in our hero’s voice brings the words to life with huge emotional emphasis. Looking at the subject floating in space; there is “no use in hiding.” We are told that nothing comes from something; something comes from nothing- you wonder what is being referenced- as the bad sun is introduced. Our hero’s distinct and endless voice gives the song a constant sense of drama and fascination: backed by a tight and impressive band performance- shades of The Bends poke through the surface. Letting his voice roar; letting the guitar wail and unleash a psychedelic tirade, the band’s hallmarks come back into play- ending the song with a hell of a dose of majesty. With Hendrix-esque shredding, an aural cataclysm is unfurled- a huge bang and mighty wallop. Tender and gentle guitar notes put me in mind of Nick Drake’s Pink Moon: such is the sense of beauty and stillness in the opening moments of On a Boat, On the Water; you cannot help but the imagine the bygone Folk hero. The river goes and “carries us to where it flows“; our hero’s voice is delicate and restrained in the initial moments- after a few seconds, a gorgeous and swelling harmony unfolds; colour, light and immense beauty pours forth. Escaping where no one can find them; it seems like a romance is being ascribed: escaping from the world, the two are alone and travelling the river’s paths- keen to find solace and a sense of safety. I will not mention Pearl Jam and Radiohead too much- until later at least- but I get a great sense of both here: Pearl Jam’s epic and aching moments- think Ten again- sits alongside some of Radiohead’s early work- Fake Plastic Trees, (Nice Dream) and Black Star especially. Caught in the almost gospel proportions of the vocal performance, you transport yourself to that scene: in the openness of the river, you follow our hero as he takes a journey to pastures greener. Backed by superb backing- the guitar work is particularly impressive- it is a perfect way to kick off the album’s second half. As that dreamy vocal harmony sways back in- Jo Clark standing out here- you smile and elicit a pleasured grin: it is the kind of harmony Fleet Foxes would kill for. Having mentioned Nick Drake early, the band bring him back to mind with Fly- it was the title of a song from Bryter Layter. Any notions of introspective mourning are dispelled right off the bat: a pugnacious and determined guitar riff shows the band back in Grunge/Indie territory. The intro. is an insatiable and dizzying line that does not phase our hero- his words have the urgency and passion we would expect from him. Again, it seems that something more positive and loving is showing its heart: asking his sweetheart to “throw a leaf inside of me“; fly away with him, he wants to escape the craziness of gravity- experience something freeing and redemptive. By his love’s side, the two fly into the atmosphere. Early kudos go to the guitar, which manages to rustle up some ’90s memories- Ocean Colour Scene, Radiohead- in addition to displaying a lot of unique flair: Clark’s guitar perfectly illustrates the sensation of flight and to-the-heavens soar. When Jo Clark joins our hero, their tones perfectly blend: stating they are the lucky ones; they will be there for one another when they fall. A delightful two-hander, it seems that a pure and unquestionable love has been discovered- the fire in their hearts is being stoked and ignite. Entangled in a blissful passion, the vocal explodes and rips its clothes off: that animalistic Morrison growl bursts through- taking your breath along with it. The track never rests or can be predicted: it changes course and conjecture; displays a real sense of musicianship and intelligence- reminding me of Steely Dan’s most compelling and detailed tracks. Wordless vocals, determined percussion and dancing guitar- which mutates into a psychedelic beast- gives the song a huge amount of memorability and desire. Once more, Clark unleashes a wild and carnivorous riff in the final moments- concluding one of the finest tracks on Light Waves. The Light That Broke the Waves arrives next. Beginning with a calm and soothed guitar strum- embers of Badly Drawn Boy struck my ear- you are given chance to reflect and cleanse the palate- immersed in a beautiful and tranquil introduction. Standing on broken stones, our hero states that it was “cold but oh-so calm“- instantly you try to imagine the scene that is being presented. As they stare out at the light- that broke the waves- the duo leap into the water. Into the sea, our hero has no fear or worries: the fish let him be and it seems like all will be okay. Suddenly pain radiates through his chest: clutching at his heart, he calls out his sweetheart’s name- he needs to be pulled out of the blue. With the water trying to claim his soul, the heroine needs to rescue the ill-fated hero- backed by some incredibly detailed and memorable compositional touches, a clear mood is set. Having been rescued, the duo throw stones into the water- still cold, at least there is no more danger. As they walk away, it seems once more caution and hazard awaits- the heroine is called upon again. I see the song as a metaphor as such: employing images of drowning as terms for desires and feelings- I may be over-reaching but it seems like there is depth in the deep waters. The addition of horns gives the track an additional layer of beauty- reminding me of some of The Coral’s Magic and Medicine. Taser starts life with a definite sense of adventure and urgency: the guitar weaves and tumbles; instilling some scratchy punctuation, you get a sense of Grunge-cum-’90s Rock in the embryonic stages- the band go on to show just how well they incorporate wit into their music. Showcasing their unique quirks (and funnier side), our hero has received a taser to the back- unsurprisingly it hurt quite a bit. Almost delivered like a love song, the track makes you grin- the taser deserves “more than this.” A terrifically swelling Country-esque rush gives the words additional elevation and purposefulness- with such an original subject being assessed you are entranced by every word. Getting a taser in the head hurts even more- the violent subject does not really how much it has lost. Spellbound by the charm of the track, you get ensconced in the gorgeous vocal harmonies- when the band combine for the chorus, one of the album’s most stirring moments is offered. The final moments stuff a myriad of notes and energy into the song: the group combine magnificently to give the sense of a victim dropping to his knees- the taser has done its damage and our poor hero may well require some urgent medical attention. Again, I wonder whether love is being referred to- if the taser refers to a girl who has a comparable potency. Clark’s deep and fascinating songwriting means the listener will have their own interpretation: whether you go with the literal- or something more love-lorn- it is a terrifically memorable track. Our penultimate track begins with spectral and distant echoes. A delicate acoustic guitar lays in some calm; you prepare your mind for what is forthcoming. It is three in the morning; all our hero can see is gold- in a dream-like state, it is the sweetest one he has ever had. Elongating his vocal, strange and vivid images are released. Talking to a tree, the wise wood advises nightmares are needed- some much-needed sageness is being imparted. Before we can delve too much into our hero’s racing mind, the glorious vocal harmonies return: evoking dreaminess and sleepiness, the sound of The Beach Boys comes in. At this early hour, our hero is walking through his unconscious mind- after the nightmare comes something new; so it is claimed. This girl is in his mind; the passion and urgency rises as our hero tries to expunge her from his thoughts- that emphatic and unforgettable belt reaches heights (even Eddie Vedder could not achieve). Being impressed by Rungapadiachy’s vocals up until this point- a understatment I guess- Comfort showcases him at his near-best. Not only the album’s swan-song, it is another fan favourite- one of the band’s oldest songs. The number’s sapling chords are a symphony of soothe and calm- befitting of the song’s promising title. The vocal is tender and direct: letting those roasted caramel do their work, we see the waves crashing- biting his tongue, our hero wants his girl to comfort him. The song is the most bare-naked and honest thing the band have produced: there is no agenda or twist in the tale; the words here are as passionate and heartfelt as any you will hear- drawing inspirations from the likes of Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Wearing his heart on his sleeve, our hero will not run away: each time he sees his girl he breaks but is determined to make this love work. Augmented by some incredibly elegant backing vocals, you get the sense you are hearing a Folk/Acoustic classic- something that could seduce anyone at any time. Bringing the album to a stirring and haunting end, the wordless vocals- tied to gorgeous harmonies- brings Comfort to an end. The band complete the album with a necessary subtlety and romantic edge- the entire L.P. showcases just how diverse and surprising they are. After hearing Light Wave’s tremendous dozen tracks, you are begging for more…

What can one say about Light Waves- that hasn’t been expounded by some rather illustrious names? Sometimes you get a lingering feeling a band (or act) will make some headway in a few years; occasionally you know they will not make it all- very few lead you to believe they will be huge in next to no time. Over the last couple of weeks, I have assessed some musicians I know are going to be mainstream stars in the coming years- The Moth Lantern definitely fit into that camp. Their album is packed with so much fascination and brilliance it is hard to take it all in- you find yourself repeating songs over and over; addicted by their insatiable quality. With some pretty incredible names already lining up to promote them, I feel a little bit diminutive and meagre by comparison- I hope that my words have done the band full justice. If you are familiar with the band’s influences- and just got into listening with that in mind- you will get a limited listening experience. The best thing you can do is to clear your mind and let the music seep (into an undiluted and open brain). The production and values across the album are tremendous: the songs all come through with clarity and are never cluttered or needlessly over-produced. It is vital that- for a great album to really shine- the production is up to the task; doing justice to the music- on Light Waves you get a rich and unfettered sound that exposes the brilliance of the 12 tracks. Before I close my summing up, I should recommend and pay tribute to the band themselves. The distinct vocal performances throughout make the songs such an exciting and rich proposition. With elements of Grunge legend Eddie Vedder; undertones of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke- together with that distinctive and unmistakable chocolatey sound- every track across the album is giving a sheen of emotion, passion and masculine pride. Rungapadiachy adds a huge amount of pride, integrity and passion every time he sings. Dan Clark leads the band with a triumphant and emphatic energy. His guitar notes add so much vibrancy, colour and conviction to his songs- marking himself out to be one of the U.K.’s most vital songwriters; he has a style and voice that is unlike anyone I have heard. Compellingly leading his band, Clark lets his song soar, breathe and seduce- by the final stages of the album, you want to hear more from this distinct and tantalising musician. Jo Clark provides a great vocal balance throughout Light Waves: instilled with vulnerability, strength and a gorgeous sweetness, it is an arresting voice indeed. It would be great to hear her upfront and solo on a few numbers in the future: her vocal contributions throughout the album are memorable and augmentative. Capable of so much passion and excitement, it is one of the most impressive things on the album. Clark’s keyboard work infuses beauty, rush and atmosphere in equal measures: capable of summoning up Indie-Rock energy and soulful romance, it adds a huge amount of potency and intrigue- working perfectly with Dan Clark’s guitars. Eddie George ensures that each track is possessed of a pulsing and ever-beating heart: the force and power he brings to the songs cannot be understated. Able to strong-arm and amaze; keep the song tight and focused; allow softness and emotion to resonate- he is a man capable of instilling layers and nuance to every track. Final recommendations- and congratulation- goes to Jason Rungapadiachy (again). His bass work ensures that slinky groove, powerful drive and level-headed integrity are cemented in all of Light Wave’s tracks. Not allowing the spotlight to fall to any of his band mates, Rungapadiachy is the voice of vitality, fascination and dominance: you can clearly hear his strong influence throughout the album. Add some incredibly special vocals into the mix, and you have an exceptional performer- instilling a firestorm of deep and compelling tones; subtext and subtlety; raw passion and stunning allure. It is rare to see a band with so many exceptional and distinct vocalists: when the members combine you get the full extent of their unmatched potential. A lot of groups also have a weak link: someone you could imagine shored up and replaced- there is a measure of expendability in every group. With The Moth Lantern there is that feeling of tenure: nobody is going to leave and every player is an essential facet in the machine. Lesser musicians would not do the material justice: that close understanding and mutual affection bonds the band together; focuses their attentions and power- it is funneled into an album that is an undisputed diamond. As well as containing no weak or lesser tracks, Light Waves provides a lot of food for thought: consisting of so much variability and diversity, it will provide a template for new bands coming through. I have seen too many groups that are afraid to be unique: their E.P.s and albums are the conglomeration of timidity, one-dimensional thinking and copyright infringement- a lot are comfortable being third-rate versions of their favourite acts. The Moth Lantern enforce such an original flair- giving their music such a sharp and terrific edge.  Tie this to exceptional songwriting and flawless performances- they are a quartet that will provide much inspiration. As a songwriter myself, I always love the opportunity to find new avenues and directions: Light Waves is so jammed with life and unexpected pleasure, it compelled my mind to race, conspire and write. With so many great acts coming through- over the last couple of weeks I have been spoilt somewhat- you just wonder how this will translate in the future. I worry that too many acts are being overlooked or discovered too late: the word-of-mouth aspect is being subjugated; the most important musicians are not getting equality and due respect- The Moth Lantern have already straddled a killer hurdle. With the backing of some seriously influential music names, it is not going to be long until they are in demand internationally. So few artists make such an impression with their debut album: Light Waves is an impressive example of how things should be done. The band may have to brace themselves for (future) U.S. dates; perhaps a mini tour of Australia…who knows?! Once you hit upon a tremendous sound; put it out into the world- the hope is that it will be disseminated freely and religiously. Let us make sure the Lincolnshire four-piece are promoted and shared as far and wide as possible- they are a young band with a very golden future in their midst.

I hope the band will not object to my loquaciousness and detail: music that compels and inspires is often overlooked or underappreciated- by critics and reviewers- so it is vital that necessary appreciation and insight is provided. The Moth Lantern approached me last week with regards to assessing their music- band member Dan Clark got in contact and wondered if I may like to have a listen. It is great that happened, as I feared I would not have discovered the band otherwise- missing out on something truly remarkable and special. It is clear that I am not the most impressive name (to give praise to the band); perhaps not the most startling review they will ever receive- I am certainly one of the most grateful recipients. Having dedicated my entire life to music and the pursuit of excellence, my mind is always searching for the greatest and most distinct sounds out there: Light Waves is a startling album from a group with an authoritative and confident voice. The band has playing it for a little while now- and released material previously- and they are hitting their stride and high-point- here is their most staggering work; you feel they may even surpass it on future releases. With the likes of Pearl Jam still working away and producing material, I wonder whether we will ever hear anything- come in the future- from Radiohead. Thom Yorke and his men seem to be very tight-lipped and secretive- with regards their careers- but I hope the Oxford band will be back- The Moth Lantern keep the torch very much alive and burning. Those widescreen, cinematic and inspiring Rock templates are never going to go out of fashion; the experimental mix of fun, moodiness and quirkiness gives their sounds a richness and constant fascination- by the end of Light Waves I was desperate to hear more. The inspired four-piece are touring and playing at the moment; keen to gauge the reaction to their album, they should prepare for some severe and extreme positivity. The album’s 12 tracks provide something for every listener: filled with so much beauty, fascination, strength and mesmerising passion, you get caught up in the rush and atmosphere of a magnificent record. I do hope the quartet have plans for future albums and E.P.s- I know they have just released one but the demand will be there- and show the music world just how strong they are. When they come to London, I will definitely come and see them play: I would imagine the electricity and rush of their live performances is not something to be missed. There is a clear passion and closeness between each of the four members. Diversity, equality and fun bonds the boys (and girl) of Lincolnshire’s finest act- you sense the close-knit spirit in the music and the conviction of their performances. After The Moth Lantern was released in November, 2012 many critics and reviewers were eager to elevate and proffer the band: the E.P.’s four tracks (which appear on Light Waves) struck a chord and hit hard- magnitudes were seduced by the band’s eccentricities, melodies, original sounds and wonderful performances. With vocal performances that border on genius; compositions that haunt the mind and obsess your waking hours- songs which inspire the creative mind- the band are going to be a massive name to watch. It would not be a stretch to say they could headline Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and Camden Rocks in years to come- if you capture the ear of national stations this early on, it is pretty much a sure-fire guarantee. So much amazing energy and colour comes through in their songs; they have a multifarious and variegated band colour scheme and set design- this not only puts you in a better mood, but stands them out from the crowd. So many new bands come across as distant and boring: bereft of distinction and personality, it is wonderful to come across a group like The Moth Lantern. I shall end my review with one final point: band relationships. Too many groups break-up and fragment due to differences of opinions; musical fall-outs and personalities clashes- meaning the world misses out on some terrific music. With The Moth Lantern, you hear and feel a solidity that is unbreakable. With Jo Clark provide stunning beauty, chic charm and impassioned keys and vocals- the band has an alluring and striking player on board. Throw in Jason Rungapadiachy immense vocal contributions, stunning bass work- and hard to spell surname- and that backbone and spine is fully in tact. Eddie George’s percussion work adds primal urges- when the mood turns more Grunge- and scintillating emotion (when unveiling Indie/Rock epics). Able to instill a myriad of passion and urgency, his stick work is deeply impressive. Dan Clark’s stunning words and nuanced songs are only equalled by his frontman leadership- the shred of his guitar; the beauty and potency he adds to each song- few leaders have such a range of talents and clear abilities. Watch out for this intrepid quartet very closely: the next year is going to see them rise to prominence and glory- I would expect a place on BBC‘s ‘Ones to Watch’ poll (in addition to some seriouis airplay). Their music attracts you like a flame attracts a…well, a moth. Unlike the foreboding and Gregorian danger of fire; their warm and embracing lantern is designed to guide, welcome and comfort. In a climate where we all desire these quintessential qualities; embrace a band that want to join them in their noble quest…

DO not be afraid.

About the Author:

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

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Follow The Moth Lantern:

 

Official:

http://www.themothlantern.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/themothlantern

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/themothlantern

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/themothlantern

YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfr0PACLgvlzl8T6ByrJnEg

ReverbNation:

http://www.reverbnation.com/themothlantern

Last F.M.:

http://www.last.fm/music/The+Moth+Lantern

MySpace:

https://myspace.com/themothlantern

iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/artist/the-moth-lantern/id526577307

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Gig dates accessible at:

http://themothlantern.com/gigs.html

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The Moth Lantern’s videos can be viewed here:

http://themothlantern.com/videos.html

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The Moth Lantern’s music is available via:

http://themothlantern.com/music.html

 

Track Review: Waterbodies- What the French Call “Les Incompétents”

TRACK REVIEW:

Waterbodies

 Photo: Waterbodies

What the French Call “Les Incompétents

9.4/10.0

What the French Call "Les Incompétents" cover art

What the French Call “Les Incompétents” is available from:

https://soundcloud.com/waterbodies/what-the-french-call-les-incompentents/s-1kScQ

RECORDED AND MIXED BY:

Brian Russo

RELEASED:

26th June, 2014

GENRES:

Alternative-Rock, Garage, ‘Britpop’, Punk

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The fine Canadians have been exciting reviewers with What the French Call “Les Incompétents”‘s unique blend of pogo-ing sing-along and energised mutations. Waterbodies are a firm favourite across Canada and North America: the next year should see the trio rise through the ranks and capture worldwide hearts- it is what the French call “un garantie.”

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FOLLOWING on from a couple of days where I have witnessed gentler…

 

and softer music, the next few days see my mind back in heavier areas: assessing Grunge and the most primal sounds music has to offer. Being in a daze since reviewing Little Sparrow- her Wishing Tree album was quite a revelation- I have to adjust my mind and prime it for a band- and sound- that is entirely different: music that strikes a different part of the brain and compels you to move- rather than seduces your heart. Before I get down to introducing my featured act, I want to bring up two- fairly common- points: North America and new music. I understand I have introduced these points before, yet I have not been able to fathom why the continent keeps providing such terrific music. In Europe, we have a load of terrific acts and musicians coming through: it seems that North America are leading the charge and causing a lot of excitement (in me at least). In so far as I have surveyed great Folk and Power-Pop artists, it seems that- in this continent- heavier and more impassioned sounds mandate music’s new elite. It is a strange thing really: most of the artists I have heard coming through in North America lean towards electricity and hard-hitting music- of course there is more restrained and calmer music; it seems to be less prevalent. Not that I am ever going to complain: it is always terrific witnessing a new act come along that can whip up such a festival of sound and notes- take your brain clean out your body and invigorate the senses. Canada is showing itself to be one of music’s most exciting hot-spots: here, there is such a wealth of diverse and fantastic music coming through, it is almost hard to keep a track of it. Where the U.S. has a larger population and greater chances of music glory, it is their neighbours that are providing the finest sapling music in the world- keep your eyes peeled here for what is coming through at the moment. In previous reviews, I have tried to drill down to the bedrock: try to see why one particular country is putting forth so many tremendously exciting musicians. Perhaps the nation provides a sense of relaxation, freedom and inspiration that is conducive to terrific music: less bustle and crowding is evident here than other parts of the world (in terms of population). I shall introduce my second topic in a second, but for now, shall introduce the band:

Mike McGean

Roxy

Shane Turner

You can make a load of noise with bass, drums and guitar”

The Toronto-based group intrigue you with their sound and make-up: a fresh and urgent trio, they are among the most stirring acts coming through right now. It would be good to know more about the boys and what makes them tick: their online pages contain their music, but scant else with regards to influences and biography. I usually do not mind when a band do not incorporate- on their sites- their influences (you can draw your own conclusions); it would be good to know more about the band- where they came from and how they came together. A lot of musicians negate the importance of including details into the likes of Facebook: it not only gives new listeners a chance to learn more about a great act, but obtain greater insight into their songs. Perhaps- I hope they will as well- the guys will rectify this in the near-future: they have a sense of mystery, but a little glimpse into their psyche wouldn’t go amiss. Luckily any shortfallings in the online arena are overcome by the music that comes from them: you can fill in a lot of the blanks off of the back of their strong body of music. I shall study this in closer detail; for the moment, I want to talk about genres and trends emerging in 2014. Having been lucky enough to hear some terrific and diverse sounds, I am amazed by the breadth and sheer range of music that young talents are producing. It is not just the case there is a lot of difference and diversity: the way these musicians are fusing different sounds and genres together is quite magnificent. In addition to being blown away by Wishing Tree, I was stunned by the effortless commingle of Contemporary, Folk and Acoustic: the ensuing blend brought out the majesty and splendour of Little Sparrow’s incomparable and soul-nourishing tones- it is an album that nobody should miss out on. The bravest and most daring cross-pollination comes when I am considering masters of heavy and dominant music. Waterbodies are a great example of what I am talking about: not only do they infuse the raw and vital energies of this year- and contemporary acts- but go further- instilling elements of older acts into their compositions. Their latest offering sees shades of Green Day, Blur, Beastie Boys and Nirvana come through: everything from Grunge to ‘Britpop’ through to Punk- via a sprinkle of experimental Trip/Hip-Hop. When you are aiming for the jugular- trying to grab the listener very directly- it can be incredibly hard to do that- often simple and straightforward noise does not do the trick. For that reason, new musicians- whom provide this type of sound- are thinking outside of the box: fusing past colours into the palette; pouring a healthy amount of multifarious gas onto the fire- the resultant flame is that which does the talking. I hope that this trend for innovation continues, as the likes of Waterbodies showcase just what you can achieve (when you stretch your mind)- and dare to diversify and consider your projection. With the release of What the French Call “Les Incompétents”, tongues and excited mouths have been expounding its virtues and multiple qualities: I am glad that I have come across the song- and the band too.

In order to get a full sense of Waterbodies as they are, one must look back and see what came before. Back in November 2012, the trio released their album The Evil We Know- an eleven-track L.P. that gave the public the first tastes of one of Canada’s finest bands. Having listened to the album in full, I am stunned by how much there is to witness: a multitude of sounds and different themes come into play. Few artists present an album filled with so much confidence and authority. From the opening roars and determination of How to Burn Bridges, you are hooked and sucked in: that energy and passion that the band provide is quite intoxicating. It is not just pure force and pummel that comes through in the song: plenty of tantalising undertones and unexpected moments make the song such a memorable opening cut. Deadweight- sounding nothing like Beck’s equivalent- bounces and crawls: a jam-packed and emphatic song gets inside of your brain- the band look inwards here. Talking about carry the weight- maybe staying in a dead relationship and not giving yourself up for some deadweight- it has plenty of anger and recrimination at heart. Silver Spoon is accusatory and potent: if the subject keeps pushing their luck, they will be “pushing the daisies.” With a twisting and snarling composition, it is one of the L.P.’s most urgent tracks. The disc ends with Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea- not to be confused with the American popular number of the ’30s- and is the grand swan-song: throwing everything into the boiling pot it begins with a slow and teasing lead-in; the atmosphere builds and grows by the minute- it is the band’s epic. Showing that the can do introverted and ‘quiet’- the song does not reach the fever pitch of previous numbers- the trio demonstrate the importance of mood and emotion. The album is a stunning statement from a band with huge intentions: quite a hard record to top or compete with- it is an album that all forms of music-lover will enjoy and appreciate. If I were to fast-forward to June of this year- the month What the French Call “Les Incompétents” was unveiled- you can hear some developments. The band was busy making and recording music in the interim period- between their album and latest cut- yet there is definitely a different sound on display here. Employing embers and moments of The Evil We Know; What the French Call “Les Incompétents” sounds a braver, more confident jam: the band are tighter, more focused and compelling to the ear- there is a catchiness and sense of fun that was not overly-evident on their album. In so much as The Evil We Know did have smile and memorability, the band hit the jackpot here: What the French Call “Les Incompétents” is a sing-along classic that marks a moment of high inspiration from the three-piece. There are fewer suggestions of Nirvana-esque Grunge to be witnessed here: a fresher and more unique voice comes to the fore. I love The Evil We Know and all its myriad pleasures, yet feel that Waterbodies sound more inspired and intoxicating now: new influence is brought in to create a song that you are compelled to play again and again. I admire the band’s sense of ambition and mobility: their album was packed with surprise and huge quality; that momentum has continued on What the French Call “Les Incompétents”- it is going to be exciting to see where they are headed next.

If you are trying to think of any similar-sounding acts- you can compare to Waterbodies- then there may be one or two. Even though the boys do not list any idols (on Facebook), you can hear a couple of acts and names come through. When the vocals become impassioned and primal, shades of Kurt Cobain are evident. Eliciting that same guttural and primal sound, tracks such as How to Burn Bridges are rife with Grunge glory, Nirvana-esque highs and that distinct and stunning voice- our hero is different from Cobain, yet has some definite elements of the late legend. The band as a whole has an authoritative ear from Grunge and Hard-Rock: if you are a fan of these genres, you will find a lot of quality and scintillation in their music- reminding you of past masters and current-day wonder. Newer movements display an experimentation (and great) ear for mixing unexpected sounds: What the French Call “Les Incompétents” has touches of Paul’s Boutique- era Beastie Boys- tying Hip-Hop with Indie, it is a marvellous blend. It is not just Beastie Boys that come to mind- when looking at Hip-Hop- you see: modern-day acts from the genre spring to mind; if you are enamoured of this type of music- and its purveyors- then seek out Waterbodies. In addition to the aforementioned, the likes of Green Day and Blur struck my ear. Embers of Blur’s self-titled album come through in their latest song; some of their ‘Britpop’ energy and youthfulness makes its way into the band’s sound- if you listen to Waterbodies’ album, Blur make their presence known in a few numbers. Whilst this revelation and development is a new facet- on their new track- perhaps artists such as Jack White, Soundgarden and Green Day are more pertinent and obvious frames of reference. As well as Nirvana’s Nevermind making impressions on the boys, Chris Cornell’s Grunge posse can be extrapolated in some of The Evil We Know. The powerful and bare-chested vocals; the rampant and invigorating compositions- those introverted and bleaker themes make their voices known. Green Day must rank as an influence for Waterbodies. That white-hot and catchy Punk abandon that synonymised Dookie and American Idiot is used by Waterbodies: they are fully able to summon up a comparable urgency and quality in their music. Whilst our frontman may not have Billie Joe Armstrong’s voice- many may count that as a blessing- he has his own inimitable and potent sound. Jack White has been setting 2014 alight: his latest album Lazaretto is among this year’s most essential. That Blues-Rock and Garage brilliance (White is renowned for) can be found in some of Waterbodies’ songs. Their riffs and paens have that same lust and incredible musicianship; they conjoin embers of Blues icons with of-the-minute U.S. Blues-Rock- the ensuing infusion is quite a heady brew. In so much as you can pin the sound of Waterbodies (with other acts) they are not to be taken lightly: the Canadians have a unique and stunning sound that they have worked hard to perfect- the addition of some familiar voices only adds to their overall brilliance. If you like any of the acts I have mentioned; take the time to seek out and investigate Waterbodies: they are a band that want the listener to be entranced and seduced. Before I move on, I should mention the band’s themes and lyrics. Within their album, subjects looked at fractured love, burden, personal heartache and the need for change- perhaps incorporating traditional Grunge themes and ideas, there was a lot to digest. Whilst the likes of Nirvana and Soundgarden offer their own take on these themes, the trio go some way to appropriating their luster and striking songbooks: Waterbodies have a keen ear for intelligent lines and quotable choruses- plenty of authoritative and well thought-out ideas come through in their songs. A great deal of contemporaries have a weakness when it comes to their words: Waterbodies ensure that all of their tracks capture you on as many fronts as possible. I hope that has given an overview on the band and where they came from- what sort of sounds you should expect; an insight into the musical experience you will witness. I always say this in every review I write: take my words as a guideline and reference point- if you think Waterbodies are copycat and unoriginal, then you are in for a huge shock. Their album showcased just how potent a force they are- they have augmented and built on this for What the French Call “Les Incompétents.It is probably the right time to introduce that particular song to you.

A sense of occasion and energy comes through straight off. Possessing a scratchy and determined riff- that marries the likes of Blur, Green Day and Nirvana- a myriad of Punk/Garage energy is summoned from the off. In the early stages our hero is freaked out and off-put; innocuous and disreputable sorts resonate in the vocal- that sense of isolation and anger emanates through the surface. When considering the lackers, slackers, blackers- and all comparative rhymes- you think our frontman is referring to the media and the tabloidization of the press. Perhaps speaking about society in general- and the people who cause dismay and disgust- there is an oblique quality to the words. Professing that he is that kind of guy, our hero implores “Baby just get in line.” With his voice incorporated of grit and underlying emotion; switching between sneer and laid-back honesty, the words strike and proffer hard. As the early stages progress, your thoughts turn more towards love and a particular type of relation. Our frontman calls out to his girl: “Just say the word and I’m all over“- with a resolute and determined masculine gravel, the sentiments get your mind racing and speculating. Before you can delve too deep into the realms and realities of the song’s messages, you get intoxicating and up-ended by the composition itself. Never truly exploding- within the opening seconds- it lurks and crawls; the guitar and bass drive the endless wave of words and intention; the percussion keeps levelled and firm- you imagine that something quite beastly and emphatic is about to come into view. Underpinning imminent tension and delirium, you are offered more words and insights. The hero looks at his girl; the sweetheart is his kind of girl- maybe possessing the same thoughts and intentions, you feel that some sort of libidinous crescendo may also be on the horizon. You get an image of what is being projected- and who is being surveyed- in some detail: in my mind there a smoky-eyed and Grunge-loving woman causing the frontman to conspire and fantasise- perhaps a little edgy and determined; she possesses a necessary amount of spunk and rebellion. Whereas my mind- in the initial seconds- was trained towards the press and celebrity, here- by the 30 second mark- it mutates towards issues (and realities of love and attraction). That expected burst does arrive- not in the way anyone would predict or expect. Having digested Waterbodies’ album; here any explosion and cacophony came in the form of full-bloodied anger and anxiety- there were moments of joy and upbeat; most of the sentiments erred towards introspective hurt. When What the French Call “Les Incompétents”‘s key moment does arrive, you cannot help but to smile and be caught up in its multifarious whirlpool of energy. The boys unfurl a chorus of “woo-ooh-oohs“; containing Indie and ‘Britpop’ elements, your mind is taken back to a golden age of music. Not cynical or overtly aimless- the coda provides sunshine and a youthful swagger that adds light and urgency into an already potent track. As much as the arm-raising, fist-pounding hypnotic mantra implores you to toss yourself about like a rag doll; the underlying and subtler sonics prick the imagination. I have mentioned how some of Beastie Boys Hip-Hop experimentation comes into the band’s work: here there is turntable scratching; some Beastie’-esque tableau and flavours- whilst one half of your brain drags towards reckless loss of inhibitions; the other half contorts, jives and sways. Motifs of black-and-white are reintroduced in the next verse. Having been seduced and enamoured of a particular heroine, our hero casts his net to universal climbs: professing “Black girls, white girls make me cry“, the full extent of his dissatisfaction and disconnectedness come into play- the vocal remains strong and never lowers to nasal whine. Whether a relationship has hit the rocks; if a particular beau has caused some cynicism or hurt, all our hero has is grey on his mind- if he is through with women or needs someone genuinely different I am not sure. I get the impression multiple women have caused our frontman some hurt and chagrin: nobody can deny the sense of resignation and displeasure. Affecting an air of fatigue and anxiety, it is a bad time to go out: the deeper and more intuitive listener always looks for true meaning in a song’s messages. Having a knack for intriguing images and stirring emotions, here Waterbodies get the mind working overtime: our mysterious frontman clearly has something pressing to get off of his chest, yet mentions no particular subject or epicentre. Just as you start to fill some blanks in- once more threading the story together- the band are back into catchy and emphatic arenas: that infectious and insatiable chorus comes into proceedings- your body is inspired to jump and jive once more. Possessed of a great sense of attitude, avalanche and sweat, the song has a ubiquitous quality that means few listeners will not fall under its spell. Just at home in the beer-soaked pits of mosh or the less hazardous settings of a seating-only arenas; the song’s catchy and unforgettable elements cannot be ignored or overlooked- What the French Call “Les Incompétents” is a track to infuse the senses and stun the brain. Not even at the half-way marker, you start to perspire a bit. Numbers are instilled this time- as opposed to black-and-white scenes- with our frontman stating “One time, two times, three’s enough“- it is said that the foreplay is getting rough. Embarrassed by my earlier naivety and over-examination, it is clear where the loins rest and play: something sexualised and raw is writhing beneath the sheets. Before I continue with the lustful and lip-biting point, I should mention the song’s title. Every blog, review and commentator- I guess I am not special in this sense- has highlighted that it forms a quote from Home Alone. As much as you do not want to picture Macaulay Culkin during this song- or any time for that matter- it was one of the stand-out lines from the 1990 hit movie: directed at the bungling intruders, the smug infant used the French terms as an in-your-face jibe. A London band have also used Les Incompétents to form their moniker- the song on display here is anything but (inept or useless). Quite an original and unique title, it is perhaps inevitable you would be imagining high-jinx capers: a booby trap or floor of marbles upends the clumsy burglars? Quite a strange juxtaposition- given the passionate and rough foreplay- but hey ho. With images of long-forgotten films out of his mind, our frontman is keen to step away from the pandemonium and peculiarity of the situation. Whatever is going down- err from smutty suggestions- he does not do this for the woman: he does it for himself. There is no need for hollow thrill or satisfying a player: miscommunication and contrasting ideals cause the hero to put the truth out there- he is the one in control and calling the shots. Rocking the line between “right and wrong” and “left and right“, the energy and bubbling menace builds. Not entirely stepping away from their Grunge influences, a terrifically growled and italic vocal is offered: the words are punctuated with a very steely and cocksure delivery. Entwined within a composition that provides kicking and chanting guitars, killer riffs; punchy percussion and thudding bass, and you have quite a powerful aroma coming through. Our hero is up and down; present in the day and night- a unpredictable creature, he goes where his mood and instinct take him. Whether he wanders the night looking for a thrill; driving through daylight highways to clear his mind, you get the sense of a young man who wants to seek out the vitality and urgency of life- those that live life with no risks will succumb to a beige and boring fate. The trio masters of tease and temptation- perhaps befitting of a track that is promoting the benefits of short bursts- the verse’s snaking curiosity gives way to the chorus- with the sort of rampant energy 1997 Damon Albarn would eat up, it cements and solidifies the overall sensation of free spirit lust and live-for-the-moment ambition. Perhaps in awe of the sweltering heat (and breaking-point of the lyrics), the vocals take a back seat: in the final moments our frontman elicits a pained and teeth-clenched shout- the composition twists and mutates into a snarling beast of a thing. The guitars zombify and evolve into machines- a robot on the rampage, Beastie Boys and (OK Computer-era) Radiohead can be heard. With the bass adding majesty and time-keeping maturity; the percussion clattering with a hell-yeah attitude- tied to intermittent blood-curdling utterings from the inflated lungs of our hero- the track reaches its most enfevered and unbearably tense moments. Most bands would needless string together a series of unconnected and irrelevant notes: literally add noise into the song in the vain attempt at proffering to the lower common denominator listener. Waterbodies make sure their aural assault is packed with layers and meaning: there is catchiness and insistent drive here; something reckless and unfettered; a combination of composure and insane detachment- it is designed to mess with bra clasps as well as the senses. Just as you want- and damn it, demand- more, the song starts to come down to land. With some conclusive feedback, it is as though the band have walked off stage: thrown their instruments into the crowd, they make a dramatic exit- leaving the exhausted throng to try to comprehend everything that has come before. When I reached the 2:41 mark, I was stunned at just how much was crammed into one song- it points at a very bright future for the group.

If the Canadian trio keep penning chef-d’oeuvres like this, then they could find themselves the recipients of some very important phone calls. As we- in the U.K.- are in the midst of festival season, I am hearing many inferior bands top the bill at our most high-profile dates- surely that gives inspiration to the likes of Waterbodies. Perhaps my French uttering has hyperbole and over-exaggeration, yet you cannot deny the band are a pure force to be reckoned with. What the French Call “Les Incompétents” is a tight and compelling song from a group that are growing (with intent) upon each new release. With the blogosphere alight with effusive and enamoured praise, it bodes well for their future success- they are popular in their native country, yet deserve a wider audience. Europe and the U.K. has always had its ear firmly to the ground, so I hope that it is not long until the trio find themselves heralded over here. Their sound is a hugely popular and could see them being in huge demand. What the French Call “Les Incompétents” not only wins you over with its charming and unexpected origins; the intensity and memorability of the track is the main selling point here. The boys put in their most focused and tight performance ever: the song never loses its edge and sense of determination from start to finish. The vocal performance is a strong, urgent and defiant throughout. Our frontman allows his inner Grunge to come play- towards the closing moments- but for the large part presents a very unique and particular vocal. Imbued with passion, spit, lust and sly wink, it is a performance I would like to see extended across multiple songs- something to bear in mind for the future. Able to tempt and softly speak, it can go to an impassioned and rueful belt in next to no time- the mobility and range that is provided is quite stunning. Words of What the French Call “Les Incompétents” compel even the most casual listener to imagine and picture: it is impossible not to have your own version of events running through your mind as the song plays. Showing a keen ear for economy, the band do not stuff too many words into the song: they give the lyrics a chance to breathe and strike; ensuring that the verses are measured and concise- the quality of the words cannot be ignored. Towing an intelligent line between laddish and immature; mature and intent, you wonder how the song worked out. The final notes give the impression our hero has some thinking to do; needing to work things out, perhaps there are some loose ends he needs to explore. The exceptional and clear production allows the music to shine and pervade hard. The bass adds an immense weight and support throughout: ranging from hard-hitting and driving to measured and empathetic, it is a terrific performance. Percussion notes are largely impassioned and hot-blooded: nobly supporting the hero’s plight, they clatter, pummel and tumble- capable of giving off so much emotion and force, it displays a drummer with a clear identity and talent. When the guitar makes it voice known, we get some of the most exciting moments of What the French Call “Les Incompétents”. A snarling and pained animal the one moment; a steadier snaking slither the next, the notes perfectly match the emotions and words of the foreground- ensuring the song’s potency and urgency never drops. If you have not heard the band- and What the French Call “Les Incompétents” then this is a great starting place. The track is perfectly suited for these warm days: adding sunshine and serotonin into the system; inspiring you to get outside and experience the track at full volume. It is the kind of adaptable song that means it can be enjoyed at any moment- just as suited to colder and lonelier moments, there is plenty to uplift the soul and cause a smile. With a sexy and passionate heart, it is a song synonymous with repeatability- it may be a very long time until you get the track out of your mind.

In the next few weeks I am taking a bit of a break from Canada and North America: I should probably give other parts of the world a chance to shine and impress! The fact that I say this is related to one very key point: I shall be back (reviewing similarly-located acts) because there is so much to witness and love here. Whilst the U.S. is favouring music with some terrific Pop, Indie and Folk; Canada is edging ahead when it comes to more energised and upbeat sounds. What the French Call “Les Incompétents” is a stunning testament from a band that make the mouth water. For anyone that is familiar with the guys- and their rich history- they will hear some familiarity; there are plenty of new edges and layers to investigate- something more charmed and elliptical comes through on their current offering. It is going to be exciting and fascinating to see what comes next from the St. Catherines trio. I am not sure whether another album is mooted- maybe an E.P.- but I am sure the boys have plans for a new release pretty soon. On the evidence they have just put forth, it will be a terrific and memorable collection of songs- whether What the French Call “Les Incompétents” is a red herring or their new direction, only time will tell. It would be great to see the trio in London: few U.S. and Canadian acts often travel to the U.K.; many fans and eager music-lovers have plenty of pounds set aside to witness acts such as Waterbodies. Before I wrap up this review- with my deft blend of style and succinctness- I just want to re-introduce (one of my favourite) topics: originality and ambition in music (I know that’s two subjects: semantics be damned!). A lot of new musicians still overlook the importance of providing something unexpected and different- not just sticking to rigid confines and offering staid and predictable sounds. Alas, I sound like a curmudgeonly old whiner harking on about ‘the good old days’ (whenever the hell they were)- moody and judgemental of kids and their new-fangled music. Not at all, you see: the sounds I grew up on were incorporated of bravery, adventurousness and surprise. I feel that some musicians are regressing and retreating: the best that new music has to offer is defined by the desire to present something genuinely unique. Waterbodies clearly understand this vital point: their music goes that step further and inflames something deep down. What the French Call “Les Incompétents” is a song that has been gathering some rather excited and impassioned reviews: publications have been extolling the virtues of Waterbodies’ most exciting and memorable song to date. It seems that few names will be uninitiated to Waterbodies in due course: they gets stronger with each release and showcase themselves as a serious band to watch. The last week has brought many exciting bands to my attention- including Allusondrugs and The Verideals- and am being given a lot of hope with regards the future of music- it appears that it is in very good hands. If you enjoy your sounds instilled with quality, unexpectedness, originality- in addition to some familiar and legendary threads- then make sure you get to grips with Waterbodies. The chaps are some of the most inventive and mobile bands in the world: not keen to rest on laurels or stick with the same sound, they are deftly able to weave new genres and sights into their cannon. Over the coming weeks, the trio embark on some tour dates around Canada- gauging reaction to their sparkly new song- seeing what sort of reaction their invoke in the live setting. They have said they can make a lot of noise with guitar, bass and drum; this is an understatement if ever I heard one: it is not just noise and sound they whip up; plenty of intrigue and intelligence comes through with striking intent. Glowing reviews are coming in at the rate of knots; plenty of information and detail shines in their music; masses of quotes and effusive words have been forthcoming…

SURELY enough to put on Facebook, right?

About the Author:

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

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Follow Waterbodies:

Official:

http://www.waterbodies.ca/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/waterbodies

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/waterbodies

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/waterbodies

BandCamp:

http://waterbodies.bandcamp.com/

Last F.M.:

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

Instagram:

http://instagram.com/waterbodies

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Gig dates accessible at:

https://www.facebook.com/waterbodies/app_308540029359

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Waterbodies’ videos can be viewed here:

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2bSRAxoI1VnMo5UpzNfWXA

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Waterbodies’ music is available via:

https://www.facebook.com/waterbodies/app_204974879526524

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Band merchandise can be purchased at:

http://waterbodies.bandcamp.com/merch

 

 

Album Review: Little Sparrow- Wishing Tree

ALBUM REVIEW:

  

Little Sparrow

 

Wishing Tree

9.7/10.0

Wishing Tree is available from:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/wishing-tree/id871212909

℗ 2014 Little Sparrow

TRACKLISTING:

Polly- 9.7/10

By My Side- 9.7

The Flame- 9.8

Wishing Tree- 9.6

Sending the Message- 9.7

Struck Gold- 9.6

I Found a Way- 9.6

The Hunted (A Bear’s Tale)- 9.8

Heart- 9.8

The Swallow Flies- 9.7

STAND-OUT TRACK:

The Hunted (A Bear’s Tale)

DOWNLOAD:

By My Side, The Flame, Sending the Message, The Hunted (A Bear’s Tale), Heart

LITTLE SPARROW (KATIE WARE):

Vocals and Guitar

SARAH DALE:

Cello and Vocals

GRAHAM CLARK:

Violin

JOHNNY LEXUS:

Electric Guitar and Vocals

MITCH OLDHAM:

Percussion

RELEASED:

06 May, 2014

GENRES:

Contemporary, Folk

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Few artists write music that provide the same beauty and stunning allure as that of Little Sparrow. Her name may conjure images of treetop song: a morning melody and calming refrain. Wishing Tree is an album that not only provides a phenomenal amount of grace, inspiration and emotional redemption- it italicises Katie Ware as one of music’s most astonishing and essential figures.

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IT is not often I get to visit Manchester…

when reviewing music. A lot of my recent endeavours have taken me across London and Yorkshire- with a brief stop-off in Nottingham. The north- aside from obvious thriving areas like Leeds- has dropped off of my radar for a little while: it is great to train my thoughts back here once more. In terms of history, Manchester has produced some notable bands: the likes of The Stones Roses and Oasis spring to mind- in modern circles, there is a loyal sect of incredible bands and artists. When considering solo artists; perhaps other areas of the country are producing more noticeable examples: London and Leeds seem to be topping the list. I am not sure what accounts for this segregation and distribution: modern music quality is not assessed on the aggregation of acts depending on location- quality alone should enforce opinions and public tastes. It just interests me the way cities like Manchester seem to offer forth more bands (than solo stars). Of course, when you do come across a terrific solo act (from unexpected sources), it is compelling to see what they can provide: whether the quality and talent is as high as other parts of the country. Before I expand upon this- in the course, introducing my featured artist- I want to discuss Folk: a genre of music that perhaps is not always in sharp focus. The mainstream is compiled of various genres of music: Folk and its sub-genres make up a small percentage of the market it seems. With bands and acts such as The Rails and Gypsyfingers (both London-based boy-girl duos), it seems that a revival of sorts may occur. Folk has always been- I may be off the mark, but it seems this way- a slightly niche and specialist genre: certainly people enjoy it, yet it has never really struck the imagination the same way Indie and Pop have. This is a great shame, alas: some terrifically beautiful and emotional music is being made (by artists of this genre)- both in the mainstream and new music. Circus Life was one of the best albums I have assessed this year: created by London-based duo Victoria Coghlan and Luke Oldfield, it mixed Coghlan’s stunningly gorgeous and varied vocals; Oldfield’s assured production and guitar skills- incorporated into Coghlan’s songs; including quick-fire and rifled Rap; dreamy Folk ballads and colourful soundscapes. The sheer depth and range of material (on the album) took my breath away: the fantastic stories and inspired performances are still racing around my mind- it showed just how adaptable the Folk genre is. If you think about mainstream icons like Laura Marling, why would anyone overlook her music? I know she has a great number of loyal supporters; I have always felt she does not get the recognition and full investigation she deserves: her music is some of the most vivid, intelligent and poetic in the world- scored by her distinct voice, she gets stronger and more astonishing with each album. The generalisation and stereotypical view of Folk still pervades: people think of acoustic guitar-strumming songs about the countryside and nature- wishy-washy vocals expound the virtues of the planet and the free spirit love provides. To be fair, there are acts who still play this kind of music- depressing as it may sound- yet that type of music died decades ago: modern Folk is a different breed altogether- it contains an immense amount of fascination and variation. The most important thing we can do- in order to make the genre more recognised and represented- is to proffer the best the form has to offer: my featured artist is certainly on that prestigious list. I have been aware of Katie Ware’s alter-ego for some months now: having followed her through mutual musician friends, my subconscious and hind-brain has been trained on her for a long time- it is great to be able to feature her fully now. Before I go into more depth, I shall introduce her to you:

She adopted the name following a conversation with Elbow front man Guy Garvey who, having affectionately called her “Cockney Sparrow”, suggested she use it as her stage name. Adapting this to the warmer title of “Little Sparrow” she began to play the first of an ever-increasing number of live performances, developing a loyal fan base. Katie recently topped the ‘Breaking Bands’ poll in The Guardian and for her debut album she has decided to combine all of her work to date on one enchanting album. ‘Wishing Tree’ features brand new tracks along with those that have already become live favourites – each song beautifully created with the power to capture the imagination and warm the heart. She has continued to develop into a uniquely talented artist through her imaginative songwriting and her captivating delivery. The live performances – now supported by this stunning album – promise to make 2014 a very special year for Little Sparrow. With delicately crafted songs combining flawless vocals, angelic strings and tender harmonies, listeners are taken on a journey from heartbreaking sadness to uplifting joy.”

Little Sparrow removes the impure and old-fashioned elements of Folk and transforms it into something transcendent and ethereal- her haunting and phenomenal angelics have captured the public’s imagination. Despite having been born elsewhere, music’s most beautiful bird has migrated to Manchester- in addition to enthralling and seducing local crowds, she has gained adulation from national newspapers and radio stations. Differing from the likes of Marling; Little Sparrow provides something more enchanting and spellbound- many attest to how potent and phenomenal her live performances are. She reminds me a lot of Gypsyfinger’s Victoria Coghlan. In addition to sharing similar effective voices, the duo are mistresses of emotional and scenic Folk songs: the sort that soothe your mind; take it somewhere remote and safe- ensure the listener is quelled, calmed and hypnotised. Ware’s immense beauty is surpassed by her phenomenal voice: an instrument even more eye-catching- it is unlike any I have ever heard. With a music scene seemingly obsessed by the power of the voice, having an extraordinary one at your disposal gives you a distinct advantage- ensuring Little Sparrow is among the most talked-about musicians in the U.K. Wishing Tree is the first album from our heroine: the chance for the public to hear the full extent of her talent and potential- the results certainly do not disappoint. One of my greatest personal desires- with concerns the modern music scene- is to see some form of organisation and rationalisation. Of course there are going to be scores of new musicians coming through- it is everyone’s right to join- yet there is too much overcrowding; too little quality control- at the end of the day, great scores of essential artists get buried and overlooked unfairly. In music, some are more equal than others: it is only right that the best and brightest the U.K. has to offer are given their rightful exposure and regard. My hopes and point extends to Gypsyfingers- I am sure they will be a sure-fire future hit- but it especially goes to Little Sparrow: it is clear many are falling under her spell; I just hope the momentum keeps going to ensure her name is on everyone’s lips come next year. One listen of her psychotropic voice, and you are powerless to resist: Ware is a musician that wants to draw all listeners together and write music for the masses.

Being the fledgling work from our young star, it is hard to draw in comparisons with any of her previous work. Ware has been making music for many years now, and a lot of Wishing Tree’s tracks have been available for a while- cuts like The Swallow Flies and The Hunted (A Bear’s Tale). The last year has seen Little Sparrow tour extensively: taking her music across the country, she has been playing her tracks to eager crowds- gaining feedback and studying reaction. It is clear that her songs mean a lot to her supporters: there are no early nerves or signs of weakness to be found at all. A lot of new acts showcase songs that are not as strong- as their later work- and that which is defined by incompleteness- Little Sparrow’s first movements are assured and filled with confidence and beauty. The biggest development one could see is between the live version of the album’s tracks- and the studio equivalents. Having also heard cover versions and other tracks (by Little Sparrow) the work on Wishing Tree is the summation (and fullest representation) of Ware’s visions. Her songs- when in the live environment- are tender, emotional and awash with intimacy. The album’s songs have greater depth and realisation: the high production values do not water-down Little Sparrow’s luster- it highlights her incredible voice and lifts the songs to rarefied heights. Everything- on the album- comes across as deep and nuanced: the combination of musicians add richness and colours to the tracks. In essence, we are really witnessing the continuation of our heroine’s tender moments: the Cementation of her most personal and relevant songs- the results really speak for themselves. The biggest point one can raise is with regards to her future movements- Wishing Tree is the result of years of performing, writing and hard work. Whether Ware is planning on releasing new material next year- or is going to wait a little- that will show the development she has made. As her debut is so full and compelling, it is going to be fascinating to see what direction she takes next: her sound is so unique and distinct, one suspects future output will follow the same line as Wishing Tree. If you have a particular talent and voice, it seems remiss to tamper with it too fully: I suspect her next moves will introduce new topics and inspiration; keeping her core firm and unfettered, we will probably witness a comparable collection. Artists like Laura Marling do not radically evolve between albums: Marling keeps her personality and distinctions as they are; instead choosing to change subject matter and introduce new stories. I suspect Little Sparrow will work the same way: new compositional elements may come in, yet it will be the lyrics that are going to be the biggest change- as opposed to the vocals and style of music.

Little Sparrow, Katie Ware, Mudkiss Fanzine, Mudkiss photography, Melanie Smith, photoshoot, interview.

Our heroine has a very distinct and elliptical voice: it makes it hard to compare her with anyone on the current scene. If I had to think of any particular names, I would first consider Kate Bush: one of Little Sparrow’s idols, you can draw parallels between the two singers. Ware has that same swooping and emotive voice: capable of flying and soaring, her range and diversity lends huge weight to her compositions. If you listen to songs such as The Hunted‘, you can hear what I mean. On this track, the vocal shifts between low and tender swathes; the voice then rises and mutates: reminding me of The Kick Inside-era Bush, I was astonished by the sound of the voice coming through. Whilst Kate Bush may employ her higher register more freely and ambitiously, Little Sparrow strikes you with her complete range: she has a gorgeous and crystalline upper register in addition to a solid and incredible lower range- the notes in-between are fully represented and covered. I have heard other acts- influenced by Bush- such as Anna von Hausswolff, but find myself more impressed by Little Sparrow: she has the soothing softness and seductive whispers that get inside of your head and confuse the senses- able to elicit an enormous natural beauty, her voice is her most potent weapon. If you were looking around at other singers, then think perhaps Joni Mitchell and P.J. Harvey. I have never been a huge fan of Mitchell’s voice, yet one cannot deny its prowess: when Little Sparrow reaches her high notes, I get essences of Blue-era Mitchell; when swooning and memserising, shades of the Folk goddess come through. I know P.J. Harvey is another icon of Katie Ware: you can detect some of Polly Jean’s distinctive colours in the mix. When Little Sparrow considers tender subjects and matters of the heart, one can extrapolate elements of To Bring You My Love (Harvey’s third album). That same gut-wrenching passion and beauty comes through; Ware employs a similar sense of density and atmosphere- oceanic depth and stunning drama is unfolded. Whilst Harvey- on this album- may look at dark and unsettling themes (at times she covers death and infant mortality), Little Sparrow has a similar potency and weight: her beautiful and ethereal numbers elicit the same reaction in the listener; that sense of stun and adore. I guess it is pretty hard to draw other singers into Ware’s distinct circle: the overall sound perhaps has touches of classic Folk and modern-day Blues. Little Sparrow the artist does not stick to a narrow themes and confines: her songs are infused with a depth of different and styles; taking in a myriad of scenes, our heroine ensures her compositions are as varied and fascinating as the vocal itself. The final comparison I would bring in, would be regards to two songwriting colossus: Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. They may seem unusual names to throw onto the page, yet seem pertinent: like the U.S. masters, Ware has a similar ability to confound and seduce. Cohen’s dark and fascinating poetry; Dylan’s genius lyrics and insights were enough to drop the listener to their knees- possessed of a distinct talent, the listener comes away- from listening to the music- amazed and overwhelmed. Little Sparrow’s sense of atmosphere, surprise, emotion and projection had me thinking of Cohen and Dylan: I get a similarly visceral reaction listening to Wishing Tree as I did Songs of Love and Hate and Blonde on Blonde- you cannot deny the effect the album has. I say the same thing when assessing any new music: do not judge it on other artists’ acclaim and reputation. It is true you can detect some pleasing familiarities, but Little Sparrow- more so than most acts I have ever reviewed- would be done a disservice and injustice (if she were compared to others)- her distinctions are what makes her so unique and incomparable. If you are a fan of any of the artists aforementioned, then Ware’s nom de plume will not disappoint: the biggest treasure comes when you assess the music on its own strength- and discover a very rare jewel indeed.

After mentioning Polly Jean Harvey, Wishing Tree begins with an appropriate track: Polly. The opening embers of the track are still and imploring: our heroine asks her subject to come home- knowing her words “paint a picture“, your thoughts are instantly compelled to imagine and wonder. You get images of a tender and ingenue central figure: out in the unforgiving circumstances of the world, perhaps here is a runaway or lost figure- vivid images of tears (on Polly) and nervously anxious moments come through. Backed by languid and aching strings, Ware’s voice is a paragon of gentleness and seduction: the passionate conviction and tenderness gorgeously eases through the mood to connect with the listener. Instilled with a worried tongue, it is said that- unless Polly returns- the dust won’t settle “until you’re safe back home.” A sense of mystery pervades and lingers: not knowing the circumstances behind this missive, you wonder what has caused the heroine to flee- perhaps a relationship has broken down or personal doubts have made her question her place in the world. Possessed of quite a literary and classic story-line, the atmosphere is augmented and ignited after the 20 second mark: a clicking percussive snap drives quickened strings- those classic tones beautifully melt with Ware’s determined and stunning voice. Matching the flair of the composition, the vocal becomes more impassioned and quickened: our Little Sparrow can see the lost fledgling from her window; “staring back at me“, your mind starts to reassess and wonder. Perhaps the song’s subject is playing a game; maybe it is more an essence of a person (as opposed to a physical thing); we could be hearing of a child that has fled the nest- such is the intrigue, ambiguity and fascination that is laced in, it is impossible to collect all of your thoughts into a cohesive whole. Hand claps and backing vocals raise the intensity and fever once more: Ware’s voice becomes pin-sharp and balletic as she sees Polly below- wondering whether she can tie her wishes “to the tree.” Perhaps an animal form or strange sensation is being unfurled; whomever is ascribed, Ware is anxious and keen for resolution- she will not be satisfied until they are safely returned. “The attic is bare“; “Your voice is so missed“: with a resolute and composed vocal, you can feel the haunting sadness linger- it appears that this person made a big impact; their presence is being sorely missed. The song keeps you captivated by its changing skin: one moment the vocal and composition are spirited and rushed; the next it is slowed and floats- ensuring that every note and word stays in your mind and enraptures you. With Ware speaking of “bright colours” shooting out into the sky; the beauty that is all around, you feel that a last-ditch plea is being made- that desperation and fear becomes unbearable. As the song nears its end, the composition becomes more swelling: Ware’s voice echoes and calls out- it is impossible not to hope the song’s subject returns home. Polly is a triumphant and phenomenal start to the album: the early signs of By My Side let us know that more wealth is forthcoming. Gentle guitar and impassioned violin beckon in the track- beginning with energised and romantic intent, you are lifted and fascinated at once. When Ware comes to the microphone, her voice is urgent and determined: meeting her sweetheart (I imagined a man was being referenced) “in the park“; her hero will blow away her fears- one suspects that something more tender and redemptive is afoot. A gorgeous guitar arpeggio drives the song (reminding me of Radiohead’s Street Spirit (Fade Out); Ware keeps her voice true and straight as she pays tribute to her man- someone who tells her he will make her feel complete.” As you feel romance will bloom and blossom, events take a turn for the worse: her sweetheart leaves in the autumn; taking himself off across the ocean, he sadly departs. Sensing an air of confusion and hurt- backed splendidly by the emotive composition- you sympathise with our heroine. Ware does not want him to depart; “Please don’t go far away” she says- wanting him by her side, her voice is at its sharpest and most beautiful. Whilst lonesome watching the leaves change colour, she waits from the window- like a seafarers’ wife, all she can do is hope that her man will return safely. Polly possessed quite a vintage and charming heart- the same sort of subject Kate Bush would cover- as does By My Side: it has its soul in literature and bygone classics; such is the nature of the words and stories. It is impossible not to be hypnotised by the sensuality and stillness of the vocal- unimpeded by heavy composition, it is a spellbinding and beautiful performance. You know how much this person means (to Ware): if he remains true and noble, so shall she- all she wants is him to come back and be with her. Backing this tale of aching love is a particularly impressive violin: one that tugs at the heartstrings; forces tears and wild wind; whips up a compendium of scenes and sights- providing incredible backing to Ware’s enraptured voice. As strings combine and mingle- providing a sense of reflection and pause for thought- you sigh and smile as it washes over you- hoping that a satisfactory resolution will come about. Our heroine makes a last plea to her beau: calling across the land, she is incomplete without him- few listeners will leave the song without their heart offering support, tears and ache. Following on from the serene and emotive By My Side; The Flame employs darker and shadowy notes: projecting twilight moments, a haunting vocal works alongside the shady and foreboding instrumentation. When Ware offers embryonic words, I caught a glimpse of Beth Gibbons: that same catch the voice; a similar breathiness came through that caught me by surprise- and set up what was to come. After some Portishead-esque beauty, Ware showcases just what makes her voice so special: able to go from a child-like innocence to a deeper and more sensual low, it brings her words to life with stunning desire. Proclaiming “I’m the same as all the rest“, you feel she is speaking to her lover: wondering whether he will ever see the best (in her). If you- like me- see embers of Portishead, parts Bjork come through too: that same stunning atmosphere and majesty is summoned up by Ware- supported by brave and stoic strings. It is a hugely impressive performance- even early on- as our heroine gives herself up to the war: she is going to give it “everything I’ve got.” Ware casts herself as the flame: something to be viewed and loved but not touched. Begging for love and respect- rather than something cheaper and more shallow- you sense a woman who needs comfort and commonality- her man maybe is unaware of just what she desires (and should know better). Here the composition is at its most magisterial and stirring: tremulous percussive shimmers bond with aching strings; joined by haunted backing vocals, a sonic storm is unleashed- superbly lifting the song and enforcing its messages. Ware wants to be treated kind; she knows that the world is growing up too fast- there is room for love in the fast-moving and complex life. Awash in a lake of serene contemplation, Ware is a lonely woman in a hollow relationship: as the final stages come into view, you wonder whether the hero will ever step up and do the right thing. Our heroine’s voice transforms into a bird song: twisted and beautifully entwining her words, the projection and delivery is impeccably well-considered and impressive- realising love is the same everywhere, Little Sparrow’s unique assessment gives the words a stark and unimpeachable beauty. Our heroine has a flame inside of her; it is always growing and burning- it needs to remain bright and hot, yet it is in danger of being extinguished. The title track arrives next. Here we are introduced to something more Country-tinged and upbeat: an invigorated and dancing string coda shakes off the sorrow of numbers previous. With an itinerant mind, the song spares little time in making the brain conspire- wondering what is arriving next, you are captured by the intriguing introduction. Ware’s voice is firm and pointed here: carefully delineating her words she advised (her subject) to “Take a step back from the things you see“- it appears if they do not, they will become easily confused. Taking us away from the sound and flavour (of the first three tracks), Wishing Tree is a tantalising and exciting number. Returning to the parable of the wishing tree, Ware advises her man to plant his essence in a field; grow his life and be her wishing tree- a charming and sweet sentiment. The vocal is particularly effective: Ware employs a call-and-response tactic; delivering the line, it is then repeated back- giving the track a constant momentum and energy. There is child-like innocence and playfulness throughout the song. Ware closes her eyes and counts to ten; she makes a wish- wanting to take her boy’s hand, she will pick colours from the rainbow. The song’s effusive energy and kick makes sure you are caught up in it: you will find yourself singing the song after you have finished listening to it- such is its charm and power. Our heroine wants her wishes fulfilled and her heart satisfied: her hero needs to make his queen happy. It is the melody and vibrancy of the composition that really resonate: the latter has hallmarks of Jack White’s Lazaretto (and its Country moments); the melody flows and swims- it is impossible to shake off the beauty and grace. Sending the Message arrives to provide the album’s half-way mark. Starting life with gentle and gorgeous strings, there is an element of darkness that comes into the initial moments: we are back into the dusk and experiencing something less innocence. When Ware arrives, she advises her focus to “Take this town/give it up.” Instantly, you wonder what the words are referencing- if she wants her man to leave and go somewhere else; you are certainly curious. The voice is crystal-clear and spectral: desiring her suitor to take everything “beside me“, she implores boldness. In this moment, you know something more redeeming and inspiring is being spoken of. Ware wants her man to aim for ambitions and dreams (and do not hold back)- whether he has been sacrificing too much or hesitating, now is the moment to go for what is craved. In a sense, here is a continuation of By My Side: again, our heroine wants her man to be with her and not leave; it seems that whatever he is planning, she wants to be included in it- the thought of being left on her own is causing upset. With a fantastically emotive and memorable vocal combination- backing vocals pair and weave; overlap and spiral- Ware is sending the message forth: come to her and do not leave. A call of distress, that unique and wonderful beauty remains in place- Ware reaches operatic splendor and divinity (around the 1:50 mark). Boasting one of her most stirring and emotive vocal performances, Sending the Message keeps you gripped and compelled. Ware’s vocal elongates and holds- with accompanying backing vocals- as she proclaims she’s “holding on“- keeping her hopes alive her man will not go away from her. The weight and grandeur of the vocal compels the listener to silence: you simultaneously are gripped and fascinated- wanting things to work for the best. Ware once more makes it known that both lives can be achieved: fulfilling dreams and wishes; being with her. With a romantic clarion call- sending shivers through the air- one wonders whether our heroine will get her wish: when the song trickles to its end, perhaps she is destined to be on her own. It is hard to shake the beauty and immense passion of the vocal; the conviction and tenderness of the words- the heartbreaking composition. In need of soothe and uplift, Struck Gold comes into play. Sighing and uplifted wordless vocals give the song a heavenly and choral beginning: you get the feeling we could hear happier scenes. Once more love is being looked at: Ware’s man takes a little piece of her wherever he goes- the vocal is lower here and has a sigh and seductive undertones. Bound to her man, our heroine gives paen and adulated outpouring: not believing her luck, she is caught in love’s heady spell- lessons are being taught and sage words proffered. Ware is determined to keep this thing alive: asking her man to keep his eyes on her, she would not change him “for the world.” When it comes down to it, he is “the piece of me that struck gold“- that safety and contentment resonates in Ware’s soothed and sensual voice. As the song rises and rushes, Country edges come through once more: shades of Nashville arrive in the yearning composition. Our heroine is “ordinarily forgetful“, but she is “already home.” Stepping away from the tone of previous numbers, here Ware has an older heart: she has been through the mill and is relived to be ensconced in a warm and loyal haven. The lovers have different pasts and personalities- our heroine did not think that the relationship would last and thrive. Against all the odds of trepidation and doubt, the duo seem to be going strong: when the chorus comes back into play, you cannot resist sing along in support. Our heroine shows how versatile her voice is: presenting a fully convincing Country performance, she laces the song with authority and passion- you would imagine you were listening to the likes of Loretta Lynn or Patsy Cline. Keeping her inimitable and defined heart solid, you feel a sense of relief and assurance: after turbulence and upheaval, it is great to hear Ware come up roses- you hope that this will continue for a long time. Beginning with a dusky and touching vocal- backed by darkly-plucked strings- in Found a Way; our heroine “found a way into your room.” With much passion and lust in her vocal- as I have heard anywhere else- Little Sparrow has reason to be renewed: immersed in her lover’s heart, she does not want to get out- she won’t get out as “I’m all yours.” Joining beautifully tumbling and springing guitar strings is soft (but notable) percussion- Ware drives I Found a Way forward with her open and extraordinary vocal performance. Imbued with a constant energy and force, our heroine seems relaxed and determined at once: knowing that these feelings will “never fade“, here is perhaps the most overt testament of happy love. In spite of the comfort of this passion, our heroine has no intention in finding more about her man: it is not her plan to dig deeper and get to the core. Stunning Kate Bush-esque cooed highs (around 3:05) delightfully get inside of your head- Ware never lets her potent voice drop or subside; it captivates the entire way through. Maybe tempted to delve inside her man’s soul, you feel the love may break (if she does): now that she is in his life, she does not want to jeopardise that. Ghostly and angelic vocals float above a bubbling undercurrent- mixing Country tones into proceedings. When the closing moments come into view, the positivity and comfort never lets go: Little Sparrow is at her most soothed and romanticised here- it is a pleasing thing to hear and provides necessary counterbalance to some rather hard-hitting (earlier) numbers. Having been around for a while- a live favourite too- The Hunted (A Bear’s Tale) is one of the album’s stand-out tracks. Starting with an explorative and mutating guitar coda, there is a calm and sense of serenity at first. Ware’s voice teases and aches; stretching and emoting, she sees her hero high up on the hill- a faraway figure, you wonder whether love has broken down, or if our heroine is chasing her desired target. Ware is alone and by herself; to be with her friend and “follow your trail.” It is here that Little Sparrow shows another quality to her voice: that aching and elongated delivery is unlike anything I have heard- able to summon up so much emotion and force, it hangs and glides in the air. Our heroine projects herself as the animal and hunted: thinking she has failed in the world; her voice implores those not to follow “into my cave.” Loneliness and a sense of detachment come through; your heart goes out to her; the words settle in your mind- images and pictures flood in as you imagine Little Sparrow as a scared and confined figure. Advising caution, she tells her brave follower to back up: perhaps he is pursuing her romantically; Ware feels too lost to offer anything solid- maybe staying away is the best course here. When our heroine says she is “hunting the huntsman still“, you feel there is redemptive force coming out: desire and longing are making their way through in the form of ravenous intent. Life forms and images turn towards scenes of capture and taxidermy: Ware wants to bring the huntsman down; tear him apart and have him stuffed- notions of romantic ideals perhaps take a back seat! Danger, temptation, hurt and fear linger throughout the song: our heroine has a wounded and hurt soul and cannot control herself- she may lash out and will not “forgive myself.” Experimenting with- and pushing- her voice; our heroine goes from primal (and wounded) howls; sorrowful introspection and spiritual highs- her voice runs a gamut of emotions and colours; each one vivid and fascinating. I get captured in her performance: not only do the works starkly come to life; the listener is treated to the most compelling vocal turn of the L.P. As Ware’s voice stretches, cries out and gasps, it seems that the bear has been captured: the pain and dread resonates and there is definitely lust underneath. Adding a plot twist and final piece of the puzzle, Ware (tells her man): “Touch me I’m yours“- subverting expectations and providing a romantic and honest final thought. Our penultimate track arrives in the form of Heart. Riverside and spacey; sexy and impassioned, the initial electric strings beckon the listener forth- touches of early-career Radiohead come through in the guitar work. When Ware comes to the spotlight, she unveils one of her most impassioned and seductive vocals. Able to tempt the birds from the trees, it has a smoky undertone; a beautiful and lustful core- giving the lyrics a stunning amount of urgency. Encapsulated in the evening’s promise, Ware wants to “see the joy in your eyes“; desirous to see behind the disguise, she is with her lover- wanting him to take the ribbon from her heart, her quivering voice is filled with desire. Her man puts a “new beat” in her heart (once again): in these honest moments, you can hear the true and inner Little Sparrow come through- the romantic and impassioned woman. It is hard not to be washed away in the tranquility and beauty of the song: the vocal and composition are delicate and tender- Ware’s voice causes shivers and smile. Her lover opens her door to her mind: usually more closed and cordoned, his passion and presence is causing happiness and renewed hope. If you close your eyes and let the song take over you, it causes myriad images to flow: you see the sweethearts talk and hold hands; making plans, our heroine believes there is “something waiting for me.” By the last seconds, you still cannot open your eyes: that endless beauty and softness (that emanates) is a powerful and potent force. Taking Wishing Tree to its end is The Swallow Flies. Another track that has been gaining a lot of attention, it is a perfect swan-song- to a marvellous and phenomenal album. Starting with a gorgeous vocal, Ware wonders whether you could “ever be a reality“- could she ever open sails to the clear blue sky? Your head and heart see her floating over the oceans: sensing Ware has a desire for freedom and the open air, her voice is at its most natural and wistful. Witnessing the “pictures in your eyes“, our heroine is hand-in-hand with her sweetheart- tripping through the streets (where the soldiers line), you can hear the sun shine and breeze blow. Looking up high, the swallow flies in the north-east wind- our heroine wants her love to “Just dance/Just dance/Tonight.” While you try to project everything that is being sung, you are once more tenderised by the haunting vocal: Ware’s voice soars and sweetly whispers- on top of gently-picked guitar; one of the album’s most still and evocative moments is elicited. A haunting and emotive coda ends the track: backed on vocals, Ware stretches her words- “Breathe in/Breathe out” in a deep breath; coming back a few more times, the atmosphere builds high. As Johnny Lexus offer some Qawwali-inspired vocal notes, the track comes down to land- you sit and smile after hearing the last notes of a truly remarkable album.

Little Sparrow at The Deaf Institute supporting Kyla La Grange, 02/10/12, Katie Ware, taken by Shay Rowan

Having offered up so many words about Wishing Tree- I will try to keep it relatively brief here. Most albums or E.P.s (I have heard this year) have at least one or two weaker numbers: here there is nothing even close to that- each of the ten tracks are exceptional and demand multiple investigations. Covering so many different topics and possibilities, each song acts as a new story: vivid detail and rich emotion pours forth- it is an album that gives so much and demands only attention from the listener. Most modern artists pack albums with similar-sounding tracks: Ware ensures that each of her songs has a different heart and very unique feel to it. Folk and Contemporary are genres that are hard to get right and perfect: modern mistresses like Laura Marling have added their marks on the form- Little Sparrow has the potential to be among the most talked-about artists in the world. Before I provide praise to the album’s players, I will mention one point: the production. Every song on Wishing Tree is given space and room to breathe and proffer: each word and note rings with clarity; the vocal is exceptionally precise and clear. Too many albums are ruined by bad production values: songs are scarred because the vocals are distorted and mixed too far down; the composition gets too heavy and persistent- it is a shame to witness. Wishing Tree sounds very much like a live album: in the same way Jeff Buckley’s Live at Sin-é (recorded in a New York coffee shop in 1993) draws the listener into an intimate East Village cafe; here it is as though we are listening to Little Sparrow in a charming and characterful room- just a few musicians and enough room for a few lucky listeners. Before I mention our star; praise much be given to her supporting cast. Sarah Dale does a magnificent job throughout: her cello offers sadness and loneliness; aching notes add so much emotion and passion- it almost steals the show on a few number. When backing Ware on vocals, songs have that extra bit of weight: Dale is a key cog in the Little Sparrow machine. Graham Clark provides equal passion and musicianship throughout the album. His violin tones offer ache and sensuality; romance and gentle touches- it is a fantastic performance that lends so much to a rich and wonderful album. It would be great to hear more of his contributions in future releases (from Little Sparrow). Johnny Lexus provides Rock-edged heart and some masculine edges. His electric guitar plants grit, passion and punch (when the songs call for it); composure, strength and emotional support at other intervals- his vocals beautifully combine with Ware’s too. My final applause goes to Katie Ware- the biggest of all for sure. Her guitar playing is exceptional, detailed and compelling throughout: it appears constantly and shows what a fantastic and talented musician she is. Her lyrics and songs are tapestries of impassioned love, personal doubts; burning desires and classic literary tales- few contemporaries have such a talent and flair for songwriting; Ware is among the most exciting songwriters of her generation. The final point- and obvious shout-out- goes to her voice: that unstoppable and unforgettable weapon that is stronger than everything else. When I was reviewing Gypsyfingers- and Coghlan’s voice- I was stunned at how beautiful it could be: I had not heard too many female singers able to shift their voice and present so many different aspects. Ware has one of the most scintillating and emotional voices in music. Capable of enchanting and heart-stopping beauty, there is times- throughout Wishing Tree- where you are stopped in your tracks. It is not just her highs and sweeter tones that seduce: her range and mobility means she can go from husky and darker whispers to hot and heavy middles- there are not many other singers that match her in the voice department. I knew I would enjoy Little Sparrow’s debut album- I was not expecting to love it quite so much. The songs keep going around my head: I find myself listening to specific parts; re-playing certain vocal moments and snatches- keen to take in the full majesty of the album. Perhaps one of the finest records I have heard all year, Little Sparrow is a treasure that everyone should seek out- Wishing Tree is the first essential purchase of 2014.

I suppose my effusive and positive words give you an insight into my overall feelings: Little Sparrow is one of the most effective and stunning artists on the music scene. Not only one of this country’s brightest lights, she has a talent that transcends Folk barriers and very much connects with everybody: like Marling, Little Sparrow has the potential to be one of the most talked-about musicians available. With the likes of The Guardian including her in their ‘Breaking Bands’ polls, it appears it will not be long until huge breaks and developments are afoot. Ware has taken her music across the north (and the U.K. as a whole); seduced crowds and swathes of fans- the demand off of the back of Wishing Tree will rise and augment massively. Its songs are all wrapped around Ware’s sublime and stunning voice- do not think of her as a one-trick pony. Even if Little Sparrow had nothing else to offer, she would be worth seeking out: the fact that the songs are incredibly atmospheric and inspired is the main selling point- the reason she will go on for many years to come. If you want to succeed and remain in the public consciousness, you need to deliver campaign promises; make sure every music-related facet is considered: Ware has taken great trouble to ensure every possible consideration is covered. An every-man sort of performer- she has a natural warmth and friendless that has enchanted audiences- it is impossible not to elicit a sigh and be warmed by Little Sparrow- personality and warmth are ideals that many modern musician negates to consider. In addition to the stunning music, Little Sparrow ensures that her online portfolio is complete and authoritative: her official website is informative and well-designed; plenty of information is included- her range of representation across music-sharing sites is impressive and considered. Our heroine has ensured that as many ears as possible can access her music: seek out the woman behind the songs and investigate everything there is to know. Too many new musicians present minimal online coverage: perhaps something pithy and nondescript on Facebook and Twitter; the odd track on SoundCloud- precious little else. With Wishing Tree having been in the ether for a couple of months now, I have been checking out reviews and early feedback: a lot of positivity, praise and respect is coming the way of the Manchester-based songbird. Polly- one of the album’s finest tracks- is released imminently, and is sure to receive rotation across the country’s most important and influential radio stations. Those that have not yet heard Little Sparrow get a chance to witness just what she is about- hopefully compelling them to pick up her album. I began the review- I shall leave you be soon; I know I have said a lot- by mentioning Folk, Manchester and discriminating public minds- I shall wrap this all up with more succinct regard. Manchester is a city that has provided some of the world’s most spectacular and inspiring music: as we see this year tick away, the city is going to gain headway with regards to toppling the likes of Leeds and London- acts like Little Sparrow (and bands such as The 1975) are making impressive footsteps; a resurgence and reclamation of birth rights is going to occur. Public tastes are more open and less discriminating as in recent years: people are being more adventurous and allowing themselves to witness some of music’s most interesting new acts. The Folk genre is receiving a hell of a lot of new attention: in addition to fantastic artists putting it back into the limelight, music-lovers are realising it is one of the most compelling genres available. Little Sparrow’s Contemporary-Folk blend (of spectral beauty and incredible harmonies) is something that more people need to take a hold to. It is music that blows away the blues; capable of eradicating any form of weariness and disinterest, it does what great music should do: puts you in a better head space and inspires the mind into the bargain. Wishing Tree is a compendium of beauty and fascination from one of this country’s most promising young songwriters- a singer that has few equals; a sound that has few competitors. If Ware ever comes and plays London, I will be there- front row and centre- it must be quite an experience to witness her music that close and direct. For now, I shall end this review with one important point: the future of music. We are all aware of what is happening in the mainstream: the goings-on and new releases come to our attention freely; it is hard to escape the glare of publicity and promotion. When it comes to new music, there is less attention paid: the artists often have to sell themselves and it can be a Herculean task deciphering the best from the worst. Incredible new music is synonymous with its diversity and quality- genres like Folk and Contemporary are leading a very promising charge. If you have tired- like many have- of heavy and overly-emotional sounds; bored with the same old kind of music; are eager to uncover something affirmative and genuinely beautiful, Little Sparrow- and Wishing Tree- should be at the top of your list. I don’t know about you, but life is not as rosy and spectacular as it could- and definitely should- be. I find myself looking to music to provide solace and a sense of comfort (and redemptive balm). If you desire a similar form of much-needed remedy…

I know just the musician.

 

About the Author:

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

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Follow Little Sparrow:

 

Official:

http://www.littlesparrow.org/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/singinglittlesparrow

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/uklittlesparrow

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/uklittlesparrow

YouTube:

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

ReverbNation:

http://www.reverbnation.com/littlesparrow

SongKick:

http://www.songkick.com/artists/6741644-little-sparrow

MySpace:

https://myspace.com/singinglittlesparrow

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Gig dates accessible at:

http://www.littlesparrow.org/#!gigs/cnnz

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Little Sparrow’s videos can be viewed here:

http://www.littlesparrow.org/#!music-page/c7mk

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Little Sparrow’s music can be purchased at:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/little-sparrow/id871212912

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The Polly E.P. is available at:

http://uklittlesparrow.bandcamp.com/album/polly-ep

 

Track Review: Indiana- Heart on Fire

TRACK REVIEW:

Indiana

 

Heart on Fire

9.3/10.0

Heart on Fire is released on August 24th. It is available to pre-order from:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/heart-on-fire-single/id880851717

2014 Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited

The album No Romeo is available from 1st September. It can be pre-ordered from:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/no-romeo/id877685078

℗ 2014 Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited

GENRES:

Alternative, Electronic, Trip-Hop, Dance, Pop.

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Her album No Romeo is released in September: it will be the first L.P. from one of the U.K.’s most exciting talents. Few others possess the same majestic voice and stunning sound as Indiana. If you have not experienced the thrill-ride and mesmeric beauty of the Nottingham-born heroine- investigate the wonders of Heart on Fire.

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OVER the next few days, I am…

going to be reviewing two very different female artists. Later this week I will be featuring Little Sparrow: a Manchester-based artist whose Wishing Tree album is gaining excited whispers and great applause. Being familiar with Little Sparrow, it is not surprise her album is so effective and memorable: she is one of a few young acts that is likely to have a very big future. In so much as I love bands and what they do- the range, excitement and sound they provide- it is always great to find a terrific solo act. The guys- in the mainstream at least– have been making some impressive headway. I have mentioned the likes of Sam Smith- endlessly, in fact- but Ed Sheeran (not a fan, but people like him) and many other young stars are making impressions. When I look at female talent I am getting rather excited: some of the voices and acts I have heard coming through are among the most exciting musicians in the world. In my pages, I have assessed everyone from Annie Drury to Nina Schofield- two young solo acts that are starting to get tongues wagging- I find that the same after-effect is elicited: they will be very big this time next year. Indiana is another artist I am confident is going to be unfamiliar to nobody very soon- many music sites and radio stations have already proclaimed her one of the most promising acts of the moment. The Nottingham-based artist has a voice and sound that is compelling a wide range of listeners. Mixing ’80s synths. with of-the-moment vibrancy, her music has been inspiring new musicians around the world- so many fans have connected with it and have been waiting in anticipation for new material. Not too much is known about the young heroine. Her Facebook, Twitter and online sites are filled with photos and her music- little is known about the woman behind the music. In a sense is creates a sense of mystery and intrigue: it would be great to garner and learn more from the young wonder- find out what makes her tick and who inspires her music and mindset. I was made aware of Indiana by a music contact, Phil Cass: expounding the virtue of her voice, I was compelled to dig a little deeper; seek out her music and see what all the fuss was about- the effects were quite transformative and profound. Across the years, I have heard a great deal of new female musicians: some are fantastic and linger in the mind; others stick around for a while- most tend to subside and dissipate after a few tracks. It is the nature of the music business today: with so many different artists pervading and electioneering, it is incredibly difficult making yourself known and remembered- the sound you offer has to distinguish itself from the raft of like-minded peers. Before I continue on this point- and mention Indiana more- let me give you a (small) biography:

Indiana is a Nottingham, UK, based artist making music with 80′s inspired synths and haunting vocals. Her EP Smoking Gun features the tracks Smoking Gun, Blind As I Am, Animal and her cover of Frank Ocean’s Swim Good and is available on iTunes on 30th June, 2013.

Indiana has an alluring and tender beauty: being young, she projects a sense of innocence and tenderness- there is plenty of passion and soul behind the young heroine’s eyes. The fact that she has already released so much material speaks volumes about her potential- I shall touch more on this a bit later. Before I investigate Indiana’s music, I want to mention the current scene: the acts and artists that define today’s music scene. When I look at mainstream artists- and what they are saying- I find myself looking for a whole lot more: there is plenty for everyone, yet it seems that there are gaps; something is missing- new and fresh artists need to come in and fill the voids. I love the likes of Smith (and his ilk), but feel that the mainstream is still defined by a slightness that is putting off a lot of listeners. For every credible and incredible solo artist, there are dozens of weak and terrible examples of the breed- whilst typing this I was struggling to make a list of great sole talents. It is still the case that bands are pulling in the big bucks: solo acts have their market share but are doing battle with the much sought-after band dollar. The way to remedy this imbalance is to proffer the best that new music is providing- encourage the finest young acts coming through in the hope that they will add diversity, quality and balance. The great thing about new music- as opposed to mainstream acts- is the sheer range and width of talent- every genre, sound and sight is covered. Funereal and grand organ-based Pop songs; tender and stunning Soul movements; emphatic and upbeat Electro. classics- whatever your particular tastes, there is something out there for you. One of the big problems- when it comes to putting the best newbies in their rightful place- is the communication links on social media. There is still too much homogenisation and balkanisastion: fans and music-lovers are sharing certain artists (with their friends and followers), yet that is as far as it goes: the buck stops there; the music is not being passed on further- meaning it often does not reach some very eager and hungry ears. I shall not go into too much depth on this point- lest I scare everyone off- but we are in danger of missing out on some truly wonderful acts: fresh and ambitious artists like Indiana should not be overlooked or ignored. The early signs are very promising: her demand and appeal is shooting up; her songs are getting stronger and more focused- it seems she is going to be someone we are going to hear a lot more from in the future. In order to explain why, I better get down to business…

Bound was one fo the first things to arrive from Indiana. Displaying a romantic and tenderly gorgeous heart, it sees our heroine presenting a softer and more introverted number. Later work would see her offer bigger and bolder compositions, but here the emphasise is on something sparser and more considered: the incredible vocal is what you concentrate on. Our heroine feels weak in love; compelled by a dangerous voice, the serene and smooth voice brings the words to life- you cannot help but to feel a sense of lust and desire seep through. The songwriting is strong right from the very start: Indiana mixes some familiar and common themes with a very distinct writing style- the way she presents her stories and characters separates herself from the masses of unoriginal and uninspired solo acts. There are those hallmarks- that would go onto to synonymised her work- but in the intiail phase, Indiana was intent on making a firm step: too much experimentation may have crowded the song and put off some listeners. Following on from Bound; Smoking Gun marked a step forward- that was emphasised on Mess Around. Later work would be defined by more full-bodied and evolving compositions: here, the track has a pace that does shift but is not as expansive as the likes of Heart on Fire and Solo Dancing. That said, some of Indiana’s experiential touches and considerations start to come through. Portishead and Massive Attack perhaps are the biggest influences: those cinematic and swelling loops and samples are presented in the track. Indiana’s teeth are showing here- as they do in Mess Around- they impressive to see: someone is in her head and our heroine wants to hurt them just for fun. Whether a dishonest boyfriend or an unpleasant friend, Indiana showcases her tough and more determined side: throbbing electronic and quick-fire beats summon up a host of atmosphere and hard-edged danger- oddly, you find yourself rooting for our heroine throughout the song. Her voice is even stronger than on Bound: she lets her darker and more breathy edges work alongside sweeter and elliptical layers- giving the song extra weight and potency. Mess Around saw another leap forward for Indiana. Adding in juttering and burbling percussion (and stuttering electronics), elements of Bjork come through in this number. The vocal is delirious and strong; captivating and entranced- breaking away from Bound’s more romantic and softer line. This is the first real taste of modern-day Indiana: big and changing electronic beats crackle and sizzle; Trip-Hop and Dance elements combine to create an evocative and hugely atmospheric track. The track contains a catchy and unforgettable chorus; Indiana’s voice firm as she asks “Don’t you wanna mess around?.” The biggest shift from Bound- aside from the sound- is the themes of the song. Our heroine lets it be known that suffering completes her; she has vengeance on her mind: perhaps a no-good man has playing around too much and is prime for a downfall- the conviction that is displayed throughout is infectious. A bolder and more emphatic cut, our heroine develops superbly from her debut- the quality is still as high and unique as it was then. Solo Dancing is a step away from Heart on Fire. The song looks at Indiana dancing by herself: backed by heavy synths. and primal beats, it is a heavy and hard beast- our heroine has chosen her path and is determined not to break from it. Strings and orchestral undertones are mixed together to give the song a richness and fuller sense of emotion. Indiana’s voice is both smoky and smooth: remaining composed for the majority of the song, she wins you over with her mesmeric and captivating tones. The track has its heart in the clubs and on the beach: there is  sunniness and sense of energy that pervades; a rush and deliriousness that compels you to move and dance- not necessarily solo. Backed by stuttering vocals and beats, there is an element of danger and menace lingering beneath the surface. Being one of Indiana’s most recent works, it is filled with confidence and renewed strength: her early days saw our heroine bold and brash but here her sound is even more assured and stunning. Mixing in her past work- injecting new elements into the mix- Solo Dancing brings new topics to the table: she wants to be on her own and has clearly suffered some sort of set-back. You can hear the emotion in her voice; there is a strain of vulnerability beneath the surface- at the core is a determined and strong vocal that says everything will be okay in the end. Heart on Fire draws from past songs and sounds: it brings all of her threads together and augments her majesty. The latest song has all the dependable beats, electronics and grand compositional cores; the incredible and emotive vocal is all there too- Indiana’s songwriting and sense of passion has grown (once more). No Romeo will be an exciting album to witness as our heroine gets more confident and assured by the release: in Heart on Fire, she brings in new stories and topics- revelations and personal events have compelled her to write her most immediate and fantastic song to date.

It is really quite difficult comparing Indiana with any other act. Her voice is so unique and special that you get wrapped up in it- I have been trying to think of similar acts but have come up blank. I guess you could say she has essences of a few familiar artists (in her tones and projection). When listening to her past work, I get a flavour of Bjork come through. Similar to the Icelandic queen, Indiana has a distinct smokiness and whisper: that Bjork-esque accentuation and style broke its way to the surface. When Indiana lets her voice climb and sit in the middle range, I could hear some of Bjork’s Post-era work make its mark. It is not an obvious comparison, but it is an impressive one: few modern singers have that distinct edge and sound- Indiana manages to invoke a lot of Bjork’s beauty, passion and underlying darkness. As her compositions are busy and full- containing electronic beats and percussion- Bjork also came to mind: when you listen to Indiana’s work, (her best work) contains tumbling and stuttering percussion; shadowy swathes of orchestration; pitter-patter electronic heartbeat- creating emotion and scintillation. Indiana has a great ear for composition and mood: her songs elicit weight and power in spades; some of her songs are an equal match for Bjork’s most intense and memorable work. If you are a fan of early-career Moloko, then you may find some recommendations in our heroine’s work. Roisin Murphy (Moloko’s lead) has a voice that mixes breathy and sensual tones with electrified and urgent rushes: Indiana has a comparable balance in her voice- at times I heard a bit of Moloko come through. If you step away from the vocal comparisons- it is hard to really tie too many artists to Indiana- it is the sound that may house more similarities. The likes of Portishead and Massive Attack sprung to my attention- when assessing numbers like Smoking Gun and Dancing Solo. These songs change pace and style: they have tender and calm moment before rising and swelling with force- they put me in mind of the glory days of the Trip-Hop/Dance legends. Able to fuse the most dynamic and exciting aspects of Eletronic, Trip-Hop and Dance, Indiana has mastered the necessity of atmophere and quality: her songs tangle strings, beats and stunning electronics into an exciting boiling pot. Maybe some of Beth Gibbons (lead singer of Portishead) presents itself: that same inimitable and distinct vocal has made an impact on Indiana. Our heroine employs shades of Third-era Portishead: not only in some of the vocals but the sound of the compositions. It is rare to find a talent that has this overall sound and sense of authority: too many solo acts do not project that much potency and excitement in their music- Indiana is a breath of fresh air. With undertones of Lana Del Rey creeping into the background (of some of the tracks), she clearly has a huge range and a very impressive sound. It is unfair of me to lump her in with any of these artists. It is true that she can- and certainly will- match the same sort of intriguing highs as Bjork, Massive Attack and Portishead: our heroine’s music is more individual and personal- modernised and unique, it only possess embers of the aforementioned. It is the voice itself that has been gaining the most fevered praise: a singular instrument that makes all of her songs so essential and ethereal. Instilled with a maturity, duskiness and tender beauty, it is capable of presenting multiple colours and emotions. A lot of modern singers are too limited and focused when it comes to the vocal: Indiana keeps her personality firm, yet offers so many different takes and diversions- one moment something dark and foreboding is at work; the next a more redemptive and delicate side comes through. If you want to discover an artist that truly stands apart; takes you back with her incredible voice and amazing music, then seek out Indiana- you will not hear anyone else like her come along.

Fascination and energetic urgency ensures that Heart on Fire makes instant impressions. An echoed and hypnotized vocal lodges straight into the composition: swaying and rhythmic, it is an unexpected way to begin proceedings- instantly you are drawn in and excited to hear what comes next. Backed by slight and pitter-patter percussion- in addition to a sweeter backing vocal- and sighing, aching electronics; a heady and exhilarating atmosphere is built up- something grand and huge is upon us. Just a moment before our heroine comes to the mic., the composition changes: the gentle and teasing beginnings transform into blood-rush electronics- see-sawing their way into the mix, they have a symphonic urgency and rush that catches you by surprise- as your mind and brain are transposing one another, the first words are uttered. Indiana is in a buoyant and positive mood (“I really wanna make this happen“). Her vocal is soothed and romantic: tiny flickers of lust come through a sound that is confident and meaningful- it seems that she wants to take the fall. My first impressions concern romance and longing love: it appears a brave and huge step- committing to this person- but she is ready and prepared to do so- clearly they mean a great deal to her. The words are delineated with consideration for mood and emotion: the pace is slowed to allow each word to come through with clarity; there is a pause between lines to allow reflection and absorption- a sense of restraint and calm mandate the opening moments. After this interval, percussion explosions are laid in: the composition gets heavier and more weighted- that echoed intro. comes back in to add to proceedings- as Indiana continues her story. Whatever is at stake is clearly causing her to hesitate and refrain. It appears that she needs necessary courage and commitment to enter the relationship: she starts to doubt her own strength and it seems that her nerves are on edge. Hesitancy and procrastination come to the fore- the repetition of the words “If only I…” beautifully highlight the sense of trepidation and uncertainty. Our heroine has a lot of determination and assuredness: something is causing her to resist and play it safe- maybe there is too much to lose if things go wrong. The song not only wins you over with the honesty and openness of the words: the composition and sound get inside of your heart and make the blood lust. Gorgeous and well-considered notes mix with backing vocals; pulsing electronic beats nestle alongside swelling undercurrents. Before the song (once more) expands and rushes, our heroine lets her voice whisper: imploring not to be pushed, she is close to the edge- it appears that one false move could ruin everything. Your mind instantly assumes love is being related to- it seems the most obvious interpretation- yet there could be another meaning: the nature of ambition and making your way in the world. Perhaps referencing music and her dreams, I sensed there may be several different meanings to Indiana’s heartfelt words. It is clear that a great deal of passion is in her soul. As she tries to step away from the ledge, the composition fizzes and crashes once more: the electronics and percussion expand and cannibalise- Indiana is in the mix and trying to stay afloat. Keeping her vocal impressively strong and focused; with every heartbeat “I’m falling“- maybe the fact that she is watching her love from the sidelines is causing her much chagrin and pain. Every Indiana song is instilled with conviction and power: here she reaches new highs as the music augments and overwhelms- among a wave of sonics, our heroine is trying to swim against the tide it seems. Building her mantra of heartache to the skies, the melody resonates and compels the listener: providing emotive backing vocals, the sense of loss and anxiety makes the mood almost palpable. The enthused and sun-kissed essence (of the electronics) keep affairs from becoming too heavy and repressed: they beautifully balance Indiana’s vocals and create a harmonious whole. Before the next verse arrives, your mind gets drawn to some nice details: skipping and sparring electronic touches create speed and franticness; the levelled and firm percussion acts as an audible heartbeat; the entire composition represents her state of mind and state of body- not only adding conviction but making sure the listener is drawn in and on her side. After the unforgettably striking words that have come before, the composition is taken down: our heroine’s voice becomes calmed and solid once more- the storm has passed and she is trying to keep going. The complicated and pernicious nature of her desires is tearing her up inside. Perhaps people are pushing her into this romance too firm; maybe her logic is holding her back- whatever the scenario, it is taking its effects on her body. When our heroine sings “I’m losing my convictions“; you sense some resignation and regret in her voice: in the early stages she was impassioned and ambitious; now maybe reality is coming on too strongly- the listener instinctively wants to hear more (to see if she can find a solution). On the brink of completely losing her mind- you get the impression it is not pure metaphor- Indiana keeps her voice romantic and tender: she has not given up on her desires and will not let the strain show. With a suitably atmospheric composition- backing up her outpourings- words such as “The first fall is the deepest” strike hard- those particular sentiments probably stand out above all else. Whether this particular love is her first real one- or if she is recalling her first genuine love- it appears to have affected her thoughts. When she sings the line “The deepest I know“; a sadness and sigh creeps into her voice- our heroine has perhaps already lost quite a large chunk of herself in the battle. There is a war between her heart and her head: the former is making her fall hard and fast; the latter is trying to keep her in tact and sane- I get the impression when saying the words “I’m falling“; it can either refer to falling in love- or falling emotionally. The intelligence and simplicity of the lyrics ensure that an ember of ambiguity come into play: whether each heartbeat increases her love; if it causes her downfall, it is on a see-saw and knife-edge- the vocal is impassioned enough to suggest that it could be either. Towards the final stages, more intrigue and insight are proved by our heroine: the next coda does not have a huge energy; instead it is elongated and precise- Indiana has some sage and pressing words. Advising- I would imagine her friends and family- to leave her heart on fire, she wants them to “Read between the lines“- perhaps the message wasn’t clear when she was telling them before. Once more, the language is direct and tantalising: I was wondering if there were doubts or hidden thoughts in her mind- if something deeper was not recognisable in her facade. Throughout the song you could sense that either side of desire is being referenced: whether the fire is caused by burning longing or heartbreak- it keeps you guessing and in two minds through the duration of the track. As our heroine lets it be known that she is flying, your mind errs towards avenues of contentment: perhaps whatever is being felt and experienced is what she wants; it is causing her some hurt but is a feeling she cannot ignore. The anonymous object of her affections imbues her voice with a degree of coquettishness and serenity: among scenes of internal strife, tremulousness and smile does pervade- the vocal in the chorus is instilled with plenty of breathlessness. While the final notes die out- and that chorus keeps going- you cannot stop our heroine: her heartbeat is ticking; she is falling ever further- you wonder whether she gained the satisfaction she craved…

Before I applaud Indiana herself, I will mention a couple of necessary points. Heart on Fire has a great traditional and current feel to it. Lighter and more romantic than previous numbers, it shows elements of early cuts like Bound. Since her embryonic days, Indiana has seen her confidence and ambitions grow and expand: here she manages to instill aspects of all her previous work- the upbeat energy is here; darker and more introverted tones remain; those fascinating and direct lyrics come thorough emphatically. With touches of modern-day Pop icons like Ellie Goulding- I could hear some of her voice in Heart on Fire- it is a track that is sure to inspire dance floors and clubs- in addition to armies of old and new fans. The song has a openess and universality that means it is not just restricted to sweaty night-time arenas: there is a sunshine energy that means it is just as suitable for the beaches and open roads as it is quiet bedrooms. Indiana has written a song that will be relevant to all ages and types of music-lover- it is not solely for young women. It connected with me because of the sheer passion and conviction being provided: every word came across as raw and stirring- I was keen for a happy resolution by the very end. Zane Lowe has already made the track his ‘Hottest Record of the Week’ on BBC Radio One: he doesn’t always make wise choices; here he is spot-on. As suitable and appropriate as it is for Radio One, it has enough quality and range that means Radio Two would eat it up- smaller stations like Capital, XFM and Kiss would too. If you can write a song that is that effective and mobile, then you are onto something rather special- Indiana has unveiled her most ubiquitous and memorable song to date. There are a lot of different reasons why Heart on Fire sticks in the imagination: the alluring and passionate heroine provides nearly all of them. I have been in love with Indiana’s voice ever since I heard it- as recently as a few weeks ago. Being familiar with some of her back story, Heart on Fire brings the young artist another step forward: the track provides a fascinating glimpse into her future album release. Too many contemporaries do not possess the necessary beauty, firepower and passion in their voice: through Heart on Fire, our heroine compels and seduces with ample ease. Many young listeners will be able to empathise with the story- and recognise the vocal sound- and fully get on board- for everybody else, it is the overall composition that wins you over. The voice is an emphatic and unforgettable centre- the way it is supported and highlighted is incredibly effective. Keen not to make it too thin or overpowering, it offers just the right amount of balance and energy- neither the vocal or composition sit too high in the mix. Filled with fantastic details and plenty of layers, the track needs repeated listens- for its full potential and beauty to be recognised. Elements of modern Pop/Dance blend with Trip-Hop, Dance, Experimental and Electronic: stirred into a fantastically rich song, it certainly leaves its mark. There is catchiness and fantastic hooks that run through the song: the chorus is impossible to shake; the driving and colourful compositions makes you smile and sing- by the time the track comes to the end, your body and vocal chords are pretty fatigued. Ordinarily I would not seek out a song like Heart on Fire- if someone described it to me. Being familiar with the mainstream and the type of music being produced, few acts manage to make any sort of memorable movements- it would be foolhardy to ignore a fantastic song without listening to it. The likes of Laurel and Ivy & Gold are fronting some of this country’s most sensational and impressive singers. Indiana not only wins you over with her fantastic and emotive portrayals, but her overall songwriting: a clear maturity and gift for melody is evident. Heart on Fire- in anyone else’s hands- would have been a lugubrious and sentimental cast-off: here it is an assured and nuanced gem that is going to get many people hotly excited (for the release of her album, No Romeo). Clearly Indiana has experienced her share of crushes, lost loves, unrequited desires and personal pains: the way she adapts and channels them into music is stunning.

After listening to Heart on Fire, I have been compelled to closely study Indiana’s past work. Being so young, one would expect a certain sense of naivety or inexperience to come through in her music: this is far from the case; every track she has produced has been instilled with confidence, bravery and a strong and determined voice. The vocal aspect is a very important facet: it is something that is focused on massively; it seems to be the defining mark of any truly great talent- so few live up to their potential or give the public something truly captivating. There is something about Indiana’s voice that is hard to ignore and forget: a sense of beauty and wonder come through; an underlying power and passion makes her words so elementary and urgent- she seems to be the genuine article. It is not just the voice that is so mesmerising: the lyrics and tracks have an intelligence and individuality that sets her aside from her contemporaries. Up until now, Indiana’s E.P.s have consisted of a single(s), accompanied by remixes of said song(s)- it would be great to see something more fully fledged in the near-future. The talent and determination Indiana shows hints at a young artist with a lot to say: a five or six-track E.P./L.P. would showcase different sides and stories- highlight just how striking an act she truly is. For anyone looking for that necessary resolution, you will not have to wait too long: her debut album No Romeo is out on September 1st. In addition to containing the previous hit single Solo Dancing- and other previous tracks- it will be terrific to hear what Indiana has on her mind: she has shown so much potential already and I expect a diamond of an album to come forth. Our heroine has enjoyed some rather prestigious and exciting dates lately- she has performed at Wireless (in London and Birmingham). In future weeks she will be taking on Camp Bestival and Leopalooza Festival: that sets up her biggest ever gigs- performing at Reading and Leeds. The video for Heart on Fire seems to have been a ball: it shows Indiana as an undercover D.E.A. agent- cocking her gun, she is positively bad-ass. She is having a great deal of fun with music: in love with recording, filming and performing; that natural charm and happiness comes through in the music- underpinned by a soulfulness and tender longing, Indiana is going to be one of the most important artists to watch (next year). I shall leave you be in a second, but just need to end with one point: female solo artists. There are plenty out there at the moment, you see: depending on your tastes and preferences, you are pretty well-stocked- the trouble is, too many of them are short-lived and temporary. Indiana not only has the ammunition to enjoy a long and memorable music career, but plenty of range and difference in her music: she does not simply stick to a rigid sound and one-dimensional construct. Filled with love, life, vivid imagery, heartache and positivity; there is a wealth of information and passion in every track: No Romeo is likely to cement her reputation as one of the most potent female talents in the country. In the U.S., Indiana is The Hoosier State: the 38th most populus state (in terms of area), with a rich and diverse economy- other states offer more, alas. Indiana the Artist is Nottingham’s proud daughter: few other acts provide more fascination and potential- in terms of competition, she is pretty high up the list right now. Heart on Fire is a stunning track that showcases a fervent and ambitious young woman: someone whom wants to succeed and play music for as long as is possible. Having witnessed- in the music mainstream- plenty of terrific band-produced albums; some great solo works (mostly male)- I find myself yearning for something different. If you are unfamiliar with Indiana; if you have only heard one or two of her tracks, make sure you let (the full extent of her entrancing voice) allure and seduce. The gorgeous 27-year-old is not going to be a relative secret for too much longer…

THAT is a fact.

 

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