Gorilla Punch Radio
Gorilla Punch Radio
Gorilla Punch Radio is available from:
Bragging Rights– 9.5/10.0
Pick Yourself Up– 9.3
I’ve Got Your Back– 9.3
Burn this City to the Ground– 9.4
Follow You– 9.4
Song for the Underdog– 9.5
Song for the Underdog
Bragging Rights, Burn this City to the Ground, Follow You, Breathe, Song for the Underdog
Gorilla Punch Records
Rock, Indie-Rock, Funk, Pop, Punk
Yorkshire is producing ounces of terrific bands and artists. Riding high in the mix is Gorilla Punch Radio: an act capable of some terrific things. Their self-titled debut album sees them explore balkanised fighters; deep and longing passion; dirty and seedy pub scenes- all tied around an axis of force, passion and pressing urgency. For those bemoaning the lack of ambition and diversity- in modern-day bands- here comes the case for the defence…
LOOKING out at the band market today…
and you get a clear sense of developments occurring. I am referring to the mainstream largely: the case is the solo market seems to be making serious ground. In previous reviews, I have stated how dominant bands are- in people’s thoughts- and how far ahead they seem to be- in terms of demand and popularity. Through the course of 2014, I am finding that solo acts are taking most of the critical glory. From the likes of new heroes Sam Smith; through to current heroine La Roux, the public are connecting with the lone stars- those whom proffer their inner-most thoughts and emotions. I am not sure what accounts for this reversal and transposition: whether the quality is not what it should; tastes and trends have enforced this move. Whatever is behind the shift, it is fascinating to watch. Part of the reason- why solo acts are fascinting and compelling- is that they can be more distinct and individualised: you are focusing on the human being rather than an overall sound. What you tend to find- with regards band music- is that the overall projection and sound is focused on; it is harder to distinguish yourself aside- solo artists have a much easier time of things. If you take the cases of Sam Smith and La Roux, you would be hard-pressed to compare them: the former is a master of heart-aching and stunningly evocative introspections; his voice gliding and haunting every scintillating note. La Roux has a more energised and vibrant disposition, yet still errs towards the recesses of personal insight- giving the public an insight into her psyche and life. Icons of different genres; the two are equally potent and effective- I worry that bands are suffering from a lack of mobility. Over the past year, we have seen a rise and growth that has been unparalleled- the sheer force of new acts coming through has stifled and suffocated the scene. Making it hard to discern the quality from the quantity, the public have been faced with a Herculean task: deciphering which sounds are worth holding onto; which you should negate and dispose of. One of the most sought-after and in-demand genres is Indie- and Indie-Rock. Accounting for the majority of new bands- coming through- it seems to be the favoured and the in vogue style of song. I can understand why bands tend to prefer Indie- over other genres- as it is a great middle-ground between harder and more intense sounds and softer and less striking ones- there is a lot of mobility and potential within these areas. The major issue is that not a great deal of diversity is being summoned: the bands that are aiming to seduce the heart are starting to numb the mind- only a small few manage to resonate and enthuse. Because of this, there might be some trepidation and scepticism- among listeners- as to the future potential of Indie- new bands coming through are offering some form of redemptive hope. Having reviewed more than my fair share of Indie and Indie-Rock bands, I have seen a mixture of quality- quite a few are pretty average; there are a fair number that have the potential to make some serious waves. In order to separate yourself apart, your sounds, lyrics and formation needs to be striking- too many new acts are the epitome of boredom and unadventurous thought processes. My featured act understand the necessity of these points- just seeing their (band) name and you are hooked in. In addition to their music (being alert and endlessly compelling), the quartet seem like they can be a name to watch- their debut album is certainly no slouch or minor work. Before I go into more depth, let me introduce them to you:
“‘Bragging Rights’ is the lead single from the electrifying self-titled debut album by Gorilla Punch Radio. It explodes with a rhythmic guitar riff that’s reminiscent of the Hives and serves up a lyrical commentary of the drunk and seedy shenanigans of folks out on the town getting messy. The single includes a video shot on the streets of Leeds, documenting the evolution of the band from Gorilla’s to people as they make their way to perform a sound check at Leeds’ very own Brudenel Social Club. ‘Pick Yourself Up’ is the second single and is a reflective ballad about moving past heartbreak. It includes an Rn’B style beat underneath a fingered guitar rhythm that provides a very unique and fresh sounding groove. A video will also be included upon release of this single. The album will be released on Friday 25th July and was written and recorded by the Leeds based multitalented musician James Booth better known as Boothy. He recorded and mixed the record at his studio in Headingley and is preparing several videos to promote it, including the aforementioned ‘Bragging Rights’ that will be released alongside the record. The songs that comprise the record are incredibly diverse with each song providing a different feel and tone whilst still retaining the same underlying guitar driven sound. This diversity comes from a wide variety of influences with soaring chorus’ reminiscent of Foo Fighters and Coldplay on tracks such as ‘Burn this City to the Ground’ and ‘Follow You’ alongside more delicate tunes like ‘Pick Yourself Up’, ‘I’ve Got Your Back’ and ‘Shadows’ which take lyrically from the style of Michael Jackson and rhythmically from Red Hot Chili Peppers. Songs like ‘Bragging Rights’ and ‘Tease’ provide a more cynical lyrical style influenced heavily by Arctic Monkey’s with pumping grooves that belong on any dance floor. The underlying sound of the album however is driven by the masterful guitar work.”
Focusing on- and revolving around- the guitar; the band’s diverse and distinct songs cover a lot of ground: they are not contented to stick with one formula and style. Adept at transmogrifying their projection; keeping their roots and core focused and solidified- the Yorkshire band have created an album that offers so many different avenues and possibilities. One of the biggest issues I have- when it comes to new and established Indie bands- is their lack of adventurousness and range. Too often they are concerned with being unique, they overlook the relevance of motility and surprise- leaving the listener cold and somewhat disinterested. Solo acts like La Roux have shown how a fertile and ambitious focus can reap serious rewards- without compromising your ideals and uniqueness. Gorilla Punch Radio draw in a wide range of influences; their songs are striking and unexpected treats (that put your mind in overdrive): you do not have a chance to be fatigued or bored; everything they offer digs deep and elicits a big response- it is no surprise they are garnering some effusive praise and support. I have given up staying away from Yorkshire-based bands: there are so many coming through, I am going to have to accept that the county is never going to stop being awesome- there are no two acts (in Yorkshire) that sound alike or play along the same lines. For those among you (like me) that prefer their music band-driven, we are all looking around for something different and interesting- which breaks away from the grey quagmire of the new scene; the gloomy bog of predictability. Given that social media- and music websites- have a hard task ahead of them- making sure the best and most worthy bands get their due exposure- it is a mind-boggling proposition. It is down to people like me to make sure Gorilla Punch Radio draw in some new supporters- I have witnessed too many fantastic acts fall by the wayside (due to lack of dedication and fans). The self-titled L.P.- from the quartet- is sure to give the guys a huge boost: there are few that will be able to ignore its direct and sagacious propositions.
Being an embryonic and new act, the first offerings are the ones you are hearing. Of course, the quartet have been recording and playing for a while but their fully-fledged and most concrete work is their album- the first chance for the public to witness them in their full potential. It is hard to say how much they have developed- given this is their debut L.P.- yet it is clear they have a solid and familial bond. Most bands show some loose edges and weaknesses; their music has some ragged minor notes and bum proffering- inevitably everything is not that polished and assured. That is not the case with Gorilla Punch Radio: they sound like a band that have been recording for decades- such is the emphasis on conviction and tightness, it is impossible to point towards any weakness. Every one (of the album’s 10 tracks) is assured and instilled with confidence- these songs have been worked on and given a lot of due attention and consideration. Able to sound live and effortless, the band skillfully come across as professional and jamming: they mingle the rush and urgency of live performances with the defined and full sound of a studio-recorded act. Few artists are able to pull of this kind of feat- kudos goes to the band for this. The reason acts and artists develop and improve is due to their solidity of their bonds. If the relationships are not solid and assured, then the music is sure to suffer- the best and brightest musicians are those that have a clear respect for one another. When listening to Gorilla Punch Radio’s sapling cut, I was astounded by how natural and dominant the music was- I have witnessed few artists that project the same amount of luster and energy. The passion and directness really bowls the listener over: even when songs are more temporised and restrained; the sense of assuredeness is hard to shake off. Being such a fully-formed and rounded band, the biggest test is where they go from here- how will their next move compare to what they have unveiled (on their current album). I would expect to hear the same mixture of influences and dynamics: mixing unique and unexpected lyricism with some mobile and fertile sounds; making sure the guitar fascinates and overwhelms- keeping the palette multifarious and deep. Drawing from personal experiences, the group will certainly have enough material (for new recordings)- how they solidify and distill them will see whether they keep the momentum going. I am wholly confident the Yorkshire quartet will increase and grow- draw in some new sounds and sights; augment and widen their appeal. A lot of new Indie acts are somewhat limited and constricted- due to their rigidity and narrow focus- but Gorilla Punch Radio will not have this worry- they offer such a distinctive and heady brew; they have ammunition to confound and impress for many years to come.
Gorilla Punch Radio have their own unique sound- they do have some idols and influences that has inspired their music. If you are looking for comparable acts- or artists that have resonated with the quartet- then there are a few names that can be provided. The first band I would mention are Kasabian. When Gorilla Punch Radio swagger (and let their sense of adventure mandate their sounds), I catch hints of that pumped-up and hedonistic swing. Able to mix social commentary with a sense of fun and smile, Kasabian’s latest album has been impressing critical eyes. Whereas Kasabian’s lyrics are hardly impressive, they do make sure that excitement and entertainment comes to the fore- modern-day anthems and jams seduce and enthrall the listener. Gorilla Punch Radio instill these properties (writing much finer lyrics) into their motifs: they have managed to master the art of entertaining the crowd; ensuring their tracks get feet moving and fists pumping- they could very well be a future festival act to watch closely. During Empire, Kasabian provided twists and turns; rave-ups and changes of skin- their songs were not samey and confined. Gorilla Punch Radio provide comparable diversity and mobility: their songs mutate and develop as they play; each new number reveals something unexpected and original- without losing the sense of focus and guidance. One other band that came to mind- when hearing Gorilla’- is Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Funk-Rock mesmerisation that made them legends can be heard in Gorilla Punch Radio. Perhaps the best album comparable is Californication. The vocal soulfuleness, range, pitch and melodic sensibility made the album such a phenomenal work: the way Kledis improved and strengthened his vocal ensured that critics were raving- tied with taut and addictive jams, the L.P. is seen as one of their finest works. Although Gorilla Punch Radio do not have their lyrics in California- and similar themes- I can hear those same Funk-laden epiphanies. The introspectiveness and relaxation (that gave their tracks its power) can be seen on the Yorkshire quartet’s album: when the band go into Funk realms there are embers of Californication‘s finest moments. Red Hot Chili Peppers’ mix of esoteric mythology; divine musicianship and soul-lifting stylisations has resonated with Gorilla Punch Radio- they incorporate the best elements of them into their sounds. By this stage- Californication– John Frusciante was back on board: his revolutionary and compelling guitar work transformed the band. Capable of going from lush and reserved; scorching and Western-themed and Hendrix-inspired it is a riotous and genius performance- the album would have been weaker were it not for him. Gorilla Punch Radio employ similar guitar-based wonder: they can merge disparate and unique strands into a full-bodied whole- change course and direction; keep songs fresh and unpredictable. Foo Fighters are a name that come to mind when thinking of our quartet. The way Grohl’s mob provide emphatic and anthemic classics has had an effect- a lot of Gorilla Punch Radio‘s most urgent moments can be linked to Foo Fighters. If you look at one of their mid-career gems like One by One: that album mixes introspective qualities with potent guitar riffs. Even the quiet moments have impassioned and stirring middles- it hits the guts and resonates with the listener. Exploring relationships and various heartache, the album is an emotional high-point- a work that meant a lot to Grohl. Gorilla Punch Radio explore similar love-lorn themes and tenderness- they imbue their songs with a similar sense of atmosphere and nuance. When Wasting Light arrived (in 2011) the fiercest and less compromising side of Foo Fighters arrives- they are less trampled and confined here. Positively-charged and affirmative lyrics mix with anthemic and crowd-lifting bonhomie. A lot of Grohl’s vocal growl and gravel comes through in Gorilla Punch Radio’s most gripping moments- the band make sure they tie affirming themes with the importance of consistency- their tight and compelling anthems could easily fit on Wasting Light. When the quartet become more introverted and emotional, you hear whispers of Coldplay’s most lauded work. The band (Coldplay) are derided and less potent now- their latest album was universally mocked- but if you look at Parachutes: that album has elegance and uplift abound. The graceful and real emotions that came through transcended the band’s identity crisis- too many hints of Jeff Buckley presented themselves. Able to make sorrow and emotional themes uplifting and life-affirming, the genuine and earnest emotions- complete with classic guitars and piano-laden washes- made it such a phenomenal work. I can see that Parachutes– and early Coldplay- has inspired Gorilla Punch Radio. When the Yorkshire crew’s softer and emotive numbers come to play, you can extrapolate some Coldplay-esque gracefulness and style. A lot of modern acts are inspired by Coldplay- they tend to incorporate the band’s worst and most cloying aspects- Gorilla Punch Radio have instilled the headiest and most resonant aspects of the band (into their delicate and stirring mandates). Two names I would like to mention are U2 and Green Day. Sharing little common ground, the two acts have struck a chord with our quartet. U2’s legendary quality for larger-than-life stories made albums like The Joshua Tree so mesmerising. U2 managed to link the bombast and volcanic prowess of their early albums with the lush and scintillating emotion of their newer releases- something that Gorilla Punch Radio have taken to hear. The band spar anthemic and driving Rock with tender and considered ballads- everything is packed with soul, heart and grit. Vitality, restraint and exultant nuance- seen in The Joshua Tree– sees mainstream pride and unabashed swagger sit with tailored and honed classics- similar elements I can see in Gorilla Punch Radio. The broad palettes of Achtung Baby has arty guitar textures and a lack of pretentiousness; moving from economical and save-the-world rallying, it looked at relationships and personal strife- a more fascinating and compelling album awaited. Metallic and invigorating guitar sounds saw darker themes lurk with reinvigorated and inspired Pop classics. Gorilla Punch Radio incorporate similar qualities and aspects into their music- the guitars are emphatic and variable; the range of sounds as diverse and rich; the quality meter as high as can be. Green Day seem to have inspired the Yorkshire quartet. I can hear some of Billie Joe Armstrong’s vocal quality (that was solidified in Dookie). That album sees humorous apathy and catchy (and infused Pop rush) unite; the true identity and personality comes through. Whilst adolescent snottiness and vitriol is heard on that album, the biggest hallmark is the hooks and sense of fun- Gorilla Punch Radio instill these essences into their unique- and deeper- songs. Peppiness, maturity and slickness came out in Warning. The album contained rebellion- it was far less petulant than predecessors. Softer numbers like Warning and Macy’s Day Parade sees Armstrong lose the snide and cutting side of his voice: opening it up, he lets his tenderness and emotion come through. Gorilla Punch Radio- in their calmer moments- elicit some of Warning‘s passion and qualities. I want to mention three more acts- that could have inspired Gorilla Punch Radio. Oasis come to mind- in the band’s most uplifting songs- the spirit of 1994 ‘Britpop’ can be discovered. Definitely Maybe sees a bed sit dreamer- Noel Gallagher- make it in music: surveying the streets and modern youth, the song takes in love and the essentialism of ambition. The messages look to uplift and inspire the masses; raise the downtrodden and overly-hopeful- inspire the deepest and most burning dreams. There is bravado and confidence in spades: the record covers so many topics, it is a dizzying cornucopia of sonic experience. Gorilla Punch Radio fuses anthemic paens to youthful longing; the proclivities and inequality in relationships; the desire to make a better life- those fundamental philosophies that defined Oasis have compelled our quartet. Those aching and delirious guitar codas; the impassioned and striking vocals; the deep and catchy songs. The Yorkshire quartet have incarnated the spirit of Definitely Maybe; skimmed away some of the fat- appropriated it for their own means and ideals. Michael Jackson is a name you may not expect to see- linked with an Indie band. The biggest comparison one can levy is towards his lyricism and pace. If you hear songs on Thriller, Bad and Dangerous: those anxious, frantic and delirious jams made him the true King of Pop. Jackson’s genius for melody, composition and nuance enforced the albums- made them such timeless works. What Gorilla Punch Radio have done is incorporate some of Jackson’s distinct and innovative beats and rhythms. Their most Funk-infused and upbeat songs skiffle and dance; they have that same rambunctious and captivating drive- embers of Billie Jean, Leave Me Alone and Dirty Diana can be heard in some songs. Thriller’s zesty and determined energy sees a range of different sounds come in: strutting jives, asphalt arias and cool chills linger. Gorilla Radio Punch incorporate this range and ambition: the band are adept at fusing these emotions and diversions into solid wholes. The final name I will introduce is Radiohead– particularly their The Bends era. When Gorilla Punch Radio become more introspective and focused, I hear some of Yorke’s distinct and angst-laden tones. Thoughtful and instantly memorable, the 1995 masterpiece joined challenging soundscapes and haunting melodies- there was something for every listener. Gorilla Punch Radio sees (Nice Dream)-esque guitar swoon with My Iron Lung-style rage and direction. Incorporating various elements of The Bends, it is clear that the album has played a big role in Gorilla Punch Radio’s build-up- it will be great to see if they expand on this in future releases. As much as I have mentioned other acts, it is worth stating that the Yorkshire band follow no others- their L.P. is unique and original as anything out there. If you dig deep and listen hard, you can detect shades of other musicians; fragments and moments that have inspired them- nothing glaring or obvious comes through. Few bands take the trouble to be distinct and unique- it is pleasing that Gorilla Punch Radio step away from their peers’ worst tendencies.
Given the band’s potential and promise, you eagerly wonder what the first notes of their album will offer. Bragging Rights is up first- dragging the listener in with the first notes. Echoed and machine-like electronics put me in mind of Michael Jackson and Radiohead. The emotive and anthemic grandeur of The Bends’ (most immediate moments) nestles with Jackson’s Bad-era sonics. An intro. that rouses the soul, it sets the album alight from the first seconds. When our frontman steps up to the microphone, his voice is determined and impassioned- it is clear that his messages need to be expounded immediately. Taking us into bar rooms and alcohol-filled climbs, we focus on the song’s subject: walking into the bar, we see a man who has “evil in his eyes“- whether referring to a drunken patron or a jealous friend, the words are delivered with a punchy directness. The man seems to be a cad and bounder: someone who is capable of seducing and entrancing, it seems like he is honing in on his prey. A disreputable and cheating sort, it appears he uses the bar as a hunting ground- using women; buying them breakfast then dispensing of them. Back in the bar, our hero- buys the girl- a “gin and tonic“, yet is acting kind of cold- ill-concerned with personalisation and bonding, his procedures seem routine and formulaic; he has done this many times before. Able to take a person’s reputation, it seems the heroine doesn’t really care- perhaps intoxicated and uninhibited, nothing really matters much. Possessing an ember of Billie Joe Armstrong’s vocal sound and delivery, there is a great U.S.-Punk aspect coming out- it is an urgent and youthful coda that never loses energy. When the chorus comes in, the chugging and rumbling guitars whip up the mood- the song becomes anthemic and puts its heart in the stadium. With singalong pride, the band unite with a tight and passionate performance- ensuring that the words are as indelible and memorable as possible. The girl- of the story- is the hero’s bragging rights; when the morning comes he has had his fun- no intentions of repeat performances, he is moving on to his next conquest. Perhaps it is no surprise that events have conspired as they have. With the heroine spilling drinks down her top; making a mess of herself, she is far-gone and adrift- the sharp-tongued hero has whiskey on his breath and has honed in on his latest victim. The evocative and scenic pictures put you right in the bar- the sights, smells and spills tumble through; the pugnacious and spirited vocal enforces every word and consideration. Building that infectious chorus back in, the song increases its momentum and cores- you will sing along by the time you get to the half-way mark. Lacing in some scorpion-sting guitars; psychedelic weaves and acid trip, the band unleash a firestorm of sonic potency- emphasising the urgency and danger of the mood. Scintillating and Slash-esque; it is a dizzying and insatiable guitar riff- one that bays for blood and never lets go of your mind. After more chorusing, the song comes towards its end- marking the cessation of an immediate and stunning open coda. Pick Yourself Up begins life more restrained and gentle. Our hero’s voice is soothing and soft; whispered and emotive, we are following him through the city- the cold wind is blowing his mind. Scarf around his neck, our frontman loves the city; he wouldn’t be anywhere else in the world. In spite of the embracing arms of the city, there is doubt and ghosts haunting his mind. Some bygone love is swirling around his brain- her “smeared mascara” is a memory that is impossible to shift. Acting as a demon burden, you feel the weight on his shoulders- listen to Thom Yorke’s delivery on High and Dry and you are half-way there. Propelled by a rousing and classic-sounding guitar rush, our hero has his girl on his mind- whatever the circumstances behind the break-up, there are unresolved issues. The effusive and swaying composition lifts the spirits and causes a smile; our hero looks outwards- needing a pick-me-up and soul raise, he is trying to inspire his spirit and move on. When the next verse comes around, it seems that it is not going to be easy to get over things- sleep is alluding him. Listening to the silence- which helps him to sleep- our hero is being kept prisoner by the secrets he keeps- as is everyone else. Whether this signals a guilty conscience; if he has secrets he needs to get off his chest, you find yourself intrigued- something is keeping him up at night. Obsessed by his sweetheart, our hero does not want to feel sorry any more- maybe moving on is the only sensible thing that can be done. Mixing Radiohead’s The Bends with some early Coldplay, it has a Pop-Indie feel: inspiring and emotive, it possess a contemporary and modern feel- its messages are as relevant now as they have always been. Most listeners can relate to that sense of lingering romance- trying to hold onto to something that should die. Sitting “on the fence” there is a lot of mixed emotion happening; weighing things out, our frontman looks back on life- the good and bad times he shared with his girl. Wondering whether he should do the right thing- whatever that may be- effective and atmospheric backing vocals add to the sense of urgency and emotion. Arriving in a myriad of Funk-infused promise- stuttering and jiving percussion; grooving and dancing guitars- I’ve Got Your Back is instantly gripping. We see lingers of Red Hot Chili Peppers come in. Our hero has some anxieties on his mind: being on life’s trapeze, he knows he could be knocked off by the “slightest breeze.” Radio-friendly but not too mainstream, the track marries a mellifluous and insatiable charm with introspective and edgy inners- there is a great mix of positivity and vunerableness. With his voice ragged, growling and strengthened; we are seeing a special figure being introduced- someone who our hero is looking out for and supporting. When their back is against the wall, they should have no fear- our frontman is going to be there for them. Reminding me of some of Crowded House’s Woodface-era gems, the melody and constant movement gets into your head- its addicitiveness and memorability is one of its stand-out qualities. Consistently motivated and determined, another rumbling and psychotropic guitar arpeggio comes in- it is fierce and buzzing; hypnotising and strong. Offering motivational codas and thoughts, our hero projects his mind to his subject- advising them to keep their head straight and back firm, he is the voice of resilience and faith. Wonderful things can happen when you are not looking; random chance can favour the unfortunate- it is waiting for the song’s subject. Ensuring the song never succumbs to glibness and ineffectiveness, the band punctuate the verses with vibrating and stinging guitar swagger- counterbalancing and juxtaposing, it is a needed and balanced condiment. Raging and jumping, you allow yourself to become entranced in the lust and ambition of the riff- before our frontman comes back to the fore. Reintroducing his direct and honest outpourings, you know how much he means everything- that conviction is hard to ignore. Riding the song to its conclusion, the band ensure the chorus remains in your thoughts- that central message defines the song and the ambitions at work. Burn this City to the Ground begins with a rampant and determined swing: Punk energy and Foo Fighter-esque force makes the song instantly gripping. Our hero is determined not to stop dancing; no one is going to get to him- a “10-tonne man couldn’t stop me from living in the now.” Overlapping and overlaying vocals, the primal rush and rampage puts me in mind of early Green Day- that same authority and passion can be detected. Gritting his teeth and biting his tongue, our hero is not going to remain silent- he has something to say that his target will not appreciate. Whether speaking to the government, his musical peers or a girlfriend, you can feel the pent-up rage increase- that nervy and frantic energy makes sure the messages resonate. Determined to burn the city down- you can kick him, kill him- our man is not relenting or submissive- he is determined to make his way and say his piece. I get the impression that the song refers to ambitions and personal identity; maybe enforcing yourself through music, the hero is striking against the modern-world (and ineffectual) colleagues- presenting something braver and more memorable. Whether off the mark or not (my interpretation), the weaving and transformative compositions hits your ear- the guitars contort and tease; a Punk rave-up-cum-Funk odyssey; it drives the track with immense force. With his voice full-bodied and intent, our frontman is not letting anyone overthrow him. Spurred by tripping and funky bass; clattering and insatiable percussion; carnivorous and trippy guitar, the full weight of the lyrics hit home- my mind was changed towards the final moments. Stating that he will do things his way- “so we don’t get it wrong“- maybe a relationship is being rebuilt and reappraised- the heroine may have screwed things up; this time our hero calls the shots. Creating some mystery and ambiguity, the listener is left to project their own course of events- it is a rousing and compelling song that is synonymous with its unwavering and lustful energy. Shadows takes the mood down again- the beginnings are rampant and pummeling; they subside to something more measured and refined. After the pounding percussive build, our frontman comes into the light- looking at a stranger tapping the concrete, we are viewing the streets once more. With the voice impassioned and elongated, our frontman stretches notes and thoughts- his voice is aching and tender; strengthened and determined. At night, he walks alone; his sweetheart’s shadow is there with him- loneliness and heartache seem to be playing on the mind. Watching empty streets in silence, words are whispered from the trees- you sense that our hero has lost someone dear to them; that void is causing tremulous desire and longing. The moonlight shines and seduces; our frontman lets his voice soar and proffer- you put yourself next to him (as he watches the world go by). Showcasing a mix of traditional values- scenes of broken love and haunting ghosts- with an original and fresh spin, the song compels you with its earnestness and honesty- nothing is disingenuous or forced at all; nothing overdone or over-emotive. The compositions keeps things in-check and balanced: never encroaching or interrupting things, it nobly backs up our hero- his voice and words are firmly in focus. Composed with an innate catchiness and alacrity, the charm of the song (and Pop edges) lift it high- few can overlook its intentions and multiple qualities. Consisting of few words, the chorus- once more- is the most pertinent thought: it is reintroduced and instilled frequently to ensure that the sense of hope never pervades. You wonder whether our hero is longing for something he cannot have; whether his mind is weighed-down and overcome- he seems hopeful in spite of everything. Gorgeously gentle strings beckon in Follow You– making me think of Radiohead and Jeff Buckley- with romantic and delicate regard. Aching, beautiful and inviting, you get caught in its flowing breeziness- that sweet-natured and riparian sound is enough to soothe the weariest of bones. The glass is cracked- it is professed- our hero still able to see through: whether a metaphor for a relationship that has ended, I am not sure- the aching and emotive delivery makes you think that we are surveying the development of a love story. Pondering life’s big questions; wrestling conflicts; our hero found comfort in his girl- she was able to make him forget about such repressive issues. Now that things are through- those problems- are “here to stay“- the teardrop vocal gives me the impression the relationship is unsolvable. The song soon explodes; the guitars and percussion smash and strike- joined on backing vocals, the track kicks up a gear and elicits genuine surprise. Our frontman is running away; unable to get any traction, he cannot face the world- nobody is able to make him forget about the problems he has. Finding no answers, our man is seeking redemption and guidance- unsure of what he really needs. The relationship he had was close to completion- the loss of which has caused defragmentation of his soul and heart. Having to make his own way, you can detect that desperation and loss- emphasised by the atmospheric and busy composition. Twinkling and high-pitched notes mingle with persistent percussion; lower bass notes fuse with the vocal- creating a vibrant and stunning whole. Keen to follow his subject- whether his girl or an unnamed guide- the course is set and plans made- nothing else is left for it. Letting his falsetto seduce and campaign, our frontman’s voice mutates and shifts; keeping the energy and passion levels high, it is an impressive and stand-out performance. With the band tight and intuitive it is one of the strongest songs on the album- the group show just how effective they can be when electioneering in Acoustic and romantic avenues. After a song that looked at direction and rebirth, there is now some Tease afoot- the opening notes certainly seduce and compel. Gentle arpeggio strings are underpinned by pattering percussive elements- mingling the likes of The xx with Radiohead, it is a curious and impressive initial gambit. Our frontman is having some doubts and problems: when he looks into the face- of his new love- all he sees is an ex- a girl (who still plays heavy on his mind). Wracked by the confusion and lingering affections, there is some turmoil and pain- events turn towards more romantic and honest considerations. When singing “I could simply sell my soul/just to watch you sleep“- you wonder if a particular sweetheart is being referred to. Whether concentrating his attentions to his current love- or looking back at a lost romance- there is certainly conviction in the vocals. Willing to give everything up (to watch her breathe), the romantic and urgent proferrings speak deeper- our hero does not want to “be alone tonight.” The mind is split; the truth not so elementary- when touching his girl and caressing her skin; you feel he wishes she was someone else. The truth would be destructive and calamitous: living a pretense, our man cannot shake the feeling he is with the wrong girl- when looking in the mirror, he sees her staring back. Whatever is holding back his true desires- maybe the relation is beyond repair- he is trapped in a relatively loveless bond; he would endure this rather than sleep alone. Cinematic and romantic compositional elements bolster the song’s bargaining position- the band provide maximum effect with few notes and histrionics. Wanting his love to breathe him in, I am reminded of Crowded House again- the band’s legendary gift for melody and smart songwriting is being portrayed by Gorilla Punch Radio. The lines are evocative and scenic; by the final moments, you questions whether things will work out right- or whether the two will never know the absolute truth. Dispelling the serenity of songs past, the creeping and devilish electronic spring that starts Song for the Underdog promises something heavier- initial moments are controlled and focused. A particular person has rocked into town- whether an old foe or enemy- they are willing to “take the crown.” There is an instant balkanisation: our hero’s crew will not back down at all- it seems like a rumble is imminent. The spirit never dies; the clans come together- punctuated by rushing and clattering guitar injections- the mood builds. With his sisters and brothers, the scene is set- they can not antagonise or defeat the brave band of warriors. The commonality and community (that is bonded) is unflinching and solid- whomever dares challenge them will suffer the consequences. Whether the song refers to a literal coming-together- or an emotional tug-of-war- the intentions and convictions are evident. Stepping into Muse/Green Day territories, the mixture of bombastic and motivation implore- you could imagine the song featuring on Black Holes and Revelations– nestles with Punk youthfulness and spirit- the intoxicating infusion whips up a toxic fire of fight. Unleashing furious and venomous guitar snakes, the song teases and strikes- backing off slightly to let the vocal come back in. Leading the army, they will “take it all“- the band back up the hero with a majestic and intent composition. Determined to not stand down or demure, our frontman keeps his soul sharp and resolved: the stadium-sized projection is enough to get legions of fans singing along in unison. Showcasing some of Foo Fighters’ nous for anthemic tribal calls, Gorilla Punch Radio bring their own brand to the party- the electrifying and delirious guitar line- that occurs near the end- gets quicker and quicker; the sense of drama and tension reaches its fever-pitch. Sensing imminent destruction, the song dies down- the listener is left to imagine scenes of carnage and triumph. Ensuring that some calm quells the broken glass (of the previous number), Jane provides some relaxing and soothed strings. Folk-tinged and tender, our frontman comes to the mic. “Deep inside the candle of goodwill and good intent“; he can hide away- the warmth touches his skin. His sweet and redemptive heroine (Jane) is keeping his heart good and true- inspired by her personality and natural goodness, her flame is keeping him alive. A medicinal love, our man is swept off of his feet- protected from the “morning’s rays“, there is a cocoon formed- Jane has ensured her man is protected and safeguarded against the rain. Free from the vicissitudes of life, the vocal is relaxed and natural- you can hear a sense of a relief and contentment radiate perfectly. With Jane on his mind- in his thought and on his side- her legacy cannot die- our hero clings onto the memory. Perhaps keen to have her back, there is a sense of sadness: this protective layer may not last forever; wherever she is, you feel our hero wants her back. Having provided him with a new lease on life, she is surely someone who needs to return- I am left wondering the true meaning behind the song. Maybe reflecting on a night with his love- in the heat of the moment- or looking back on days past, there is a spectral lingering- as though Jane is a spirit that hovers in the breeze. Romantic and utterly devoted, the track is the perfect way to bring the album to a close- wonderfully bookmarking a deep, compelling and stunning collection of songs.
Before I highlight the band themselves, I shall give some initial impressions. The album is a rich and marvelous work that seamlessly blends serene and romantic acoustic numbers with emphatic and rousing anthems- few bands manage to pull of this feat. It would be great to hear more Foo Fighter-inspired tracks like Song for the Underdog and Bragging Rights. Two of the album’s best cuts, the braggadocio and machismo- that is ready-made for arenas- shines through- the band are at their most confident and inspired here. That said, there are no real criticisms I can levy. The emotional and romantic numbers are never overdone or too numerous- that balance seems just about right. For transparency’s sake: it may have been good to see some more Funk-inspired moments- I know the Red Hot Chili Peppers are influences; when Gorilla Punch Radio let their relevance come out, they elicit some of their finest moments. The track order is spot-on: the strongest tracks are well placed; there are no long runs of acoustic numbers (or harder-edged jams)- they are ordered so that the album never loses momentum or becomes predictable. With some assured, polished and stunning production values, the L.P. is allowed to flourish and roost- every note and song is clear, concise and beautifully represented. Few new bands possess as much confidence and conviction as Gorilla Punch Radio- this comes out emphatically in every track. They manage to incorporate influences but never make it seem glaring- the abiding sensation is of a band with their own sense of identity and direction. The album is perfect for the current weather: able to perfectly soundtrack hot days, it is a collection of songs that never lose their charm and quality. The softer moments are apt for those times of reflection- when one yearns to escape the pace and fervency of modern life. Tight, structured and nuanced, the Yorkshire quartet’s debut album is going to see them go far- if they can keep the pace up, their next offering will be very good indeed. The imagination, musicianship and diversity- within the album- leads to huge results- it is strong enough to draw in a wide range and sector of different listeners. It is worth mentioning the band members themselves. Paul’s drumming is one of the album’s biggest draws. It never impedes or overcrowds songs- instead keeping the backbone firm and assured. When the band present heavier and more anthemic songs, the percussion is dominant and primal; unleashing fury and vengeance it is a magnificent performance. When songs became more reflective, the drummer does not become too quiet- able to provide enough passion and guidance to lift the song to new levels. Working perfectly with his bandmates, Paul’s precise and impressive contributions provide a huge amount of passion, weight and lust- I can imagine he is one of the best live drummers around Yorkshire. Sam’s bass provide some lyrical and beautiful notes; able to snake and sting with venom, it is a multicoloured and variable instrument. Making sure every song propels forward and does not relent, I was impressed by Sam’s contributions- few bands have such a potent and talented bass player. Capable of melody and tender backing; able to step into the spotlight and offer something divine, you are compelled by that sense of spirit and determination throughout. Boothy’s guitar shredding is quite epic indeed. Able to transform his axe into a wailing and psychedelic animal, you have to tip your hat- so much invigoration and tantilisaion is summoned forth. Fully competent of changing directions, the guitar work is endlessly inventive and mobile- no two songs have similar riffs and lines; terrific arpeggio moments are traded with psychotic and blood-thirsty finger-shredders. For a band that provide so many different sounds, you need a guitarist who is up to the job- most bands employ two guitarists to cover their spectrum. In Boothy, they have an ambitious and mesmerising strings man. The figurehead of the band, James is the voice of Gorilla Punch Radio: the mouthpiece of one of Yorkshire’s finest Indie bands. You are never truly reminded of other singers- you get embers of Thom Yorke, Billie Joe Armstrong and Dave Grohl but it is never too pressing or obvious. Able to move between Punk sneer, composed and delectable falsetto; ragged and masculine gravel, it is quite an instrument- not many singers have such a huge and varied range of emotions. Equally convincing when letting his heart bleed- as he is when summoning armies of fighting comrades- here is a definite singer to watch- it will be intriguing to see how his voice develops (and is employed) on future records. So much passion, energy, urgency and fight is provided; capable of rustling up myriads of scenes and sights- the ten vocal performances are uniformly stunning and extraordinary. I was left deeply impressed and gripped by Gorilla Punch Radio: a new band to my thoughts, I am going to be watching them closely over the next year. Yorkshire is spawning so many terrific bands, that it may be hard for some to distinguish themselves- our quartet have such a distinct and singular sound that no other band really come close (in that sense). If you want to unearth an Indie/Indie-Rock band with oodles of heart, soul and adventurousness- this should be the logical first stop.
A great deal of time- when concluding a review of an Indie band- I am left in two minds: whether there is genuine room for improvement; just how long the act will last. It is not that I am a hypocrite or prone to over-exaggerating reviews; but the reaction you get when you first hear a band can wane- the appeal can subside on repeated listens. The main reason behind the devaluation and depreciation is the element of freshness: the bands that lose their sparkle tend to provide little in the way of shock and intrigue. Gorilla Punch Radio strike me with their name alone- although for some reason I get images of that Goddamn awful loan advert with Chesney Hawkes! They are a dapper and fashionable band: not contended to deck themselves in jeans and a T-shirt, their eye for style is reflected in their music- here is an act that appreciate the importance of range and diversity. Having such an original and distinct sound, they manage to sprinkle in some elements of other acts. With that drive and anthemic punch of Foo Fighters; the to-the-jugular stun of Nirvana; the lyrical componency of Michael Jackson (and so much more)- they are a band that have a clear authority and affection for music. The likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Oasis feature in their rotation- fans of (any of the aforementioned) are likely to find much to appreciate. There are some remembrances and scenes of Arctic Monkeys- it seems the natural starting-point for every new Indie band- yet it is not a major sticking point- Gorilla Punch Radio employ the Sheffield band’s hitting and stirring punch without mimicking or hanging onto their coattails. This is something that impresses on me a lot: too many new bands want to become Arctic Monkeys; ensuring their music pretty much replicates the band’s outpourings- leaving the scene rather uninspired and listless. Gorilla Punch Radio’s lack of homogenisation and yawning predictability is what will bring in the fans- in a scene that is busy and hungry, they have given themselves an early edge. Before I wrap up, I will finish on two different points: their album and the current scene. When listening to Gorilla Punch Radio, you are left feeling distinctly uplifted: the L.P. has so many fascinating edges and nooks, you replay tracks over and over- seeing if there is anything you have missed. Both instant and nuanced, the album is one that stands up to repeated spins. The reason behind this discovery is the band themselves: the quartet have such a love for music, that all of their songs are imbued with passion and unmitigated conviction. Solidified and galvanised- because of their unwavering friendship- each note is rich and compelling. Leaving no room for austerity and slightness, the ten tracks- on their album- will win you over. If you are a fan of slower and more emotive songs, then you will not be disappointed. If you prefer things more potent and energised, there are songs for you; if you want to be dragged onto the dance floor and compelled to move- this is the album for you. New music is showing plenty of heart and hard work: the acts coming through are tireless and as ambitious as any that have come before. There is plenty of choice and diversity to be found; the issue comes when we arrive in certain genres- Indie is particularly culpable of lacking imagination. Although Gorilla Punch Radio work in various different genres, their Indie-flavoured output is as unique and distinct as any I have heard- they differ from the mass of contemporary sludge-makers. For this reason, it will be interesting to see how far they can progress- the initial reaction to their album seems positive and assured. The real test will be when it comes to promotion and sharing- making sure the songs are projected as widely as possible. I would implore everyone to seek out the band’s music; make sure you pass it along the channels of Twitter and Facebook– ensure as many ears as possible (get the chance to enjoy a real treat). The band is gigging and planning their next move; seeing how the album does- they are plotting the rest of 2014. I hope that dates in London are a proposition for the next few months- there are plenty of people who would want to see them down here. Having a reputation for chewing up and spitting out unworthy acts; many new bands are scared of the capital- it can be a cruel and uncaring mistress. I do not think Gorilla Punch Radio have much to worry about- I have seen many less exhilarating and high-quality bands do very well in the London scene. Over the next few days I am going to be assessing a couple of different Indie acts- based out of Canada- to see how North American sounds differ from U.K. ones- I find that over there the new artists are a bit stronger and less rigid. With the likes of Gorilla Punch Radio leading the charge, it will not be too long until the mainstream is given an overhaul: we will see bands take to the throne and rule with impunity. The likes of Foo Fighters and Arctic Monkeys will not last forever; their best days may be behind them- eager eyes are looking towards the new wave of wonders. If you are bored and uninspired by the raft of insipidness- coming from Indie quarters- then make sure you check out Gorilla Punch Radio…
THEY are going to be here for a while.
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