Allusondrugs is available on 21st July (on Clue Records); pre-order it from:
I’m Your Man– 9.6
Ted, What’s The Porn Like In Heaven– 9.7
Cherry Pie– 9.6
Sunset Yellow– 9.5
STAND OUT TRACK:
Ted, What’s The Porn Like In Heaven
Ted, What’s The Porn Like In Heaven, Nervous, Thingio
Grunge, Alternative, Psychedelia, Heavy-Rock
The Yorkshire-based Grunge maestros have a familiar looking frontman, yet their music is anything but: Allusondrugs’ maze of psychedelic fuzz and fist-pumping glory comes to the fore in their incredible self-titled E.P. Ignore it at your peril.
FUSING sounds and genres can be a difficult trick…
to get right. Experimentation and cross-splicing can lead to fuller and more exhilarating music: if you get it wrong, you face coming across as a bit of a joke. Ever since the heydays of the ’60s, music’s most stunning artists have been mixing and melting different strands of music: determined to push their sound and artistry to its limits; aiming to make them as evocative and effective as is possible. In the modern scene, this practise continues unabated: the most fervent and effective music is synonymous that which is fuller and more adventurous. Whether you- as a musician and artist- project beautiful and softer embers; dusky and seductive middles; hard and raw thrashers, the message is this: two (or three eyes) are better than one. I admire bands that have a ‘singular’ sound: something distilled and pure that has focus and structure. When I look around the music, the artists that stick in mind are the ones that infuse more colour, emotion and range into their overall sound. New music is synonymous with the growth and development of these acts: having reviewed countless artists, I am seeing this trend more and more. There is something fantastic and primal about discovering musicians that do something a little bit different- whilst incorporating sounds that have familiarity and history. My featured act is one of the most striking and adventurous acts about: garnering huge praise from the likes of Q Magazine, NME and Punktastic, the quintet have been riding the crest of an impressive critical wave. It is hardly surprising I find myself back in Yorkshire: in addition to hosting pointless cycling races (and boasting the most spectacular countryside), the county houses the U.K.’s most thriving and spectacular resurgence. I would say that between a fifth/a sixth of all my reviews revolve around a Yorkshire-based musician: it seems eyes and ears should be trained here with regards to discovering the best new music has to offer. In addition to Pop acts such as HERO, ISSIMO and Annie Drury, Yorkshire provides Electro.-Swing acts Little Violet and Shiftin’ Shade; Rock artists Raglan and CryBabyCry- in addition to heavier and more pummeling sounds. A huge amount of diversity and choice can be found in the music of Yorkshire: no other part of the U.K. gives such an enormous range of sounds and sights- the quality is of the highest caliber. It is the heavier and raw sounds that are hitting me hardest: bands such as Knuckle are among those leading the charge of the impassioned brethren. Allusondrugs are the four-star generals that are at the forefront of a brave and noble army:
“Allusondrugs is a 5-piece alternative rock band from Castleford, West Yorkshire, who formed in late 2012. They are signed to Clue Records and although a fairly new band they are already making waves on the local music scene through their heavy gigging and captivating live rock performances. It’s this ability to package their intense electric guitar rock sound into live shows which has helped them generate a regular following already, with their gigs being described as ‘electrifying’!”
Comparisons have been levied towards other bands- I shall touch on this more later- including U.S. legends Alice in Chains and Nirvana: there is an air of familiarity in Allusondrug’s hypnotic and anthemic songs. It is incongruous to say that they are a reincarnation of the Seattle giants- a lot more meets the eye. That said, the band’s singer is the spit of the sadly-departed icon: from the familiarly styled blonde locks to the cheeky grin, you would swear you were looking at Kurt Cobain’s illegitimate kin (there is a touch of Jeff Buckley’s gentle beauty as well). Not that there has been a conscious effort (to look like Cobain), yet it is startling and a happy accident- you wonder whether the band formed and styled their music based on this genetic happenstance? There is an air of mystery about them: they give hints of biography but do not proffer their names readily; include snippets of reviews but offer scant insight into their world and day-to-day- the boys are proud of the effect their music has had and prefer that it is the songs that are in focus solely. It is rare to find a bona fide Grunge act that possess such an authoritative sound: that which harks back to the early-’90s, yet is filled with personality and home-grown inspiration- the intrepid five-piece provide just that. Yorkshire and Britain are as much in their D.N.A. as the U.S. and Grunge: in a music scene where force and passion are being popularised and fostered, the band have come about at just the right time.
To see how Allusondrugs has developed, it is worth investigating their past. Earlier cuts such as MyCat mixed humour with dangerous and foreboding promise: the band blended pummeling and pulverizing sonics with a vivid tale and striking lyrics. It was at this juncture that Allusondrugs started to cement their vibrant and fuzzy sound: the buzzing and see-saw riffs marry brutal percussion rolls- backed by a vocal performance that injects as much restrain as it does passion and urgency. Fruit developed their sound even further. Employing woozy and spacey Psychedelia, the boys expanded their range to include blissed-out vocals and crunching riffs- emphasis here is on texture and mood. Backed by an impassioned and imploring voice, the song captures you with its transformations and changes. Sounds and pace mutates and changes; the band whip in twists and turns throughout- the first signs of the their (self-titled) E.P. are showing here. Stir saw the five-piece kick up a gear and increase their ambitions: augmenting their delirious haze, the track has a hugely swaying and arms-in-the-air riff: boasting feral guitars and groaning undertones, it is backed by a raw and bare-naked production. The vocal foreground is honest and direct: our frontman turns in his most memorable vocal display to date. Chorused backing vocals add to the sense of occasion and drama: the entire composition is rife with layers of emotion and delirium. Plaster saw the band letting heart and tenderness speak volumes. With its Blur-esque beginnings (embers of 13‘s experimentation and Swamp-Rock pokes through), the guys go for the jugular: huge and demented riffs couple smoother melody- something softer/Flower-Pop lingers beneath. Increasing their confidence and conviction, the band present a fuller sound; one with more nuance and urgency- compared with their first efforts. The production values became stronger and more complete and it is here where the true potential of their sound is given wings- there are still some rough edges, yet the entire production is more assured and solid. Handicapped‘s spiraling motifs and rampant implore has Nevermind touches: catchy-as-hell riffs and bouncing strings are ready-made for the festivals and moshpits- with kick-ass axe work and chanted lyrics, it is an infectious coda. Allusondrugs began life with a bang; their progression and sense of development has been amazing though: with each release they expand their horizons and offer something new- the sense of accomplishment and confident rises exponentially. The E.P. is the summation of this: every facet and layer is cemented and crystallised- the boys use their previous efforts as a jumping-off point but surprise once more. The sense of drama and stunning intent is only bested by the tight performances: the guys are completely instep and as one- the songs have a create mixture of softer moments and staggering monsters. Their most complete work to date, it shows how intent the Yorkshire clan are: every number is designed to resonate and inspire; stay in your mind long after the record has ended.
If you are looking around for comparable acts, there are a few alternatives- nothing too glaring, mind. The guys have grown-up on and been influenced by U.S. giants such as Alice in Chains and Sonic Youth. The ability to seamlessly track from spaced-out widescreen Rock to contorted and rampant Grunge was synonymous with the aforementioned: Allusondrugs have a similar intuition and talent- they can about-foot without blinking; keeping the momentum and sense of wonder fully in tact. There is plenty of emotional depth and passion in their music. When events and stories are softer- yet infused with atmosphere and huge vocals- the likes of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden make their presence known: the latter sprung to mind when hearing some of their more toned-down numbers. It is not just Grunge masters of old that will enter your thoughts: there is a huge amount of modern-day relevance pushing through. The snaking and cool-as-f*** riffs that Queens of the Stone Age mastered can be seen: like Homme, the Yorkshire crew can make everything sound ice-cold and utterly essential- that same ability to mesmerize and charm cement the band as one of the country’s most promising. Modern icons Royal Blood see their lineage in Allusondrugs: the consistent energy and raw meat lust shines through (their self-titled E.P.). Of course it would be remiss to not mention their main inspiration point: Nirvana. It is always a big claim (and dangerous issue) to mention any band alongside the untouchable colossus: Nirvana are one of the world’s greatest ever bands, and have seen their fair share of imitators. Mediocre warblers 30 Seconds to Mars have appropriated the Grunge icon’s sense of style and force- albeit with tame ineffectiveness. Allusondrugs are a much more effective and convincing parable: they contain an equal potency and quality- in years to come it will be interesting to see if they can scale the dizzy heights of Nevermind. Some of Nirvana’s In Utero work can be seen in their E.P.- and previous work- with its guttural screams; huge and biblical riffs; nuanced and psychotropic jams.
I’m Your Man is a song title that has been employed by the likes of Leonard Cohen and Elton John: neither created something as alive and determined as this. A scattershot and peppered percussion line joins with a echoed and woozy guitar line: some of Pixies Doolittle touches come through, in addition to plenty of original intent. Our frontman lets his voice romanticize and implore: speaking to his heroine, he wants to be “your only one“- initial signs are that the E.P. is beginning with a tender and honest heart. Backed by mellifluous and gorgeous female vocals, our hero investigates his love: blame is being cast and past events are turned over, yet the sense of longing and pride shines through- you can hear the smile come through in the vocal. The magnetising and vivacious guitar brings to light a story of almost juvenile proportions: you imagine a U.S. high school student arm-in-arm with his girl. It is the energy and sense of alacrity that brings these images to mind: our frontman’s voice has a sense of comfort and desire- knowing that he wants to be her only man, the song drives and swells. Even though our hero was right (“and you were wrong“), nothing can sour the mood: that endless bonhomie and power never relinquish its grip. A full-bodied and evocative track, a huge amount of passion and catchiness is summoned up: it has a sing along charm to it as well grit and grumble. The gin-soaked guitar is allowed free rein after the half-way mark: the vivacious arpeggio puts me in mind of Nirvana’s version of The Man Who Sold the World. The song’s title is uttered with intent and unquenched determination: designed to lodge in your head for the rest of time, it is a coda that our hero lives and dies by. The first signs of bubbling aggression surface towards the two-thirds mark: the voice starts to roar a little; the addictive mantra is reinstilled (with a slight kick) as its hypnotizing repetition gets under your skin- you cannot help but be sucked into the track. Employing few words- building its life around the song’s title- it is an effective and memorable opening salvo: a song that has plenty of anthemic lust and myriads of passion- I’m Your Man is a scintillating beginning. Boasting the E.P.’s most provocative and eye-catching title, Ted, What’s The Porn Like In Heaven makes you smile from the off. Unlike its predecessor, here the atmosphere begins hard and heavy: religion, overt anger and faith are all examined early on. Assessing the central figure, he is hiding behind his Christian hole: our frontman seems indignant to the naivety and piousness. Later on it seems that we got it all wrong: he is “just a passionate guy” all along. Few bands present such original and vivid scenes: faith and truth have been examined before, but few in the last ten years or so. Whereas Soundgarden’s Jesus Christ Pose looked at the so-called M.T.V. ‘gods’- and their arrogance and pointlessness- here the finger is pointed on a particular man: the vocal prowess is no less enthralling and incensed. Our frontman lets his vocal stretch and scream: allowing the full force of his thoughts to make their mark, it is a blood-curdling and enraptured performance- the band back it phenomenally. Lacing in scorpion guitars, punching bass and multi-limbed percussive smash, few cannot ignore the track. As our hero asks the anti-hero not “to make Jesus cry“, your mind swims in possibilities and scenarios: the central comes across as a rather odd and disheveled figure; someone living life behind a smokescreen- and destined to reap its revenge. When the chorus comes in, the words are belting; there is a pause… our frontman strikes again- backed by female backing (once more), it adds a dimension of passion and conviction. With his friend Ted watching porn, the band swirl a maelstrom of anxiety and anger: the guitar mutates into something evolved and snarling; the bass and percussion batter and pervade- our hero’s voice seems near breaking-point as the chorus completes. If you thought I’m Your Man inspired a catchy chorus, then Ted’ goes one step further: with its persistent and full-voiced chanting, it is a song that will be a live favourite in next to no time. Between the eye-watering and humorous verses, the band make sure the atmosphere is kept alive and persevering. Lustful solos, masculine drum thuds and driving bass notes make the song grow bigger and more ominous- both increasing its memorability and sense of drama. Rumbling bass notes beckon in Cherry Pie: a forceful gravity pull, the sense of darkness and imminent explosion is here- within a few seconds it happens. The guitar sounds almost robot-like. Not since Jonny Greenwood’s work on OK Computer has such an inventive and inhuman sound being elicited. Josh Homme employed a similar desire throughout Queens of the Stone Age’s Era Vulgaris: there is a wonderful fusing of both works that stands you to attention. Whatever you think Cherry Pie refers to is suspended at once: the intro. sound turns into a frantic and rifled assault on the senses- never too heavy, it ensures just the right amount of potency and urgency emanates from the strings. “You burn his tears/Your eyes are misery” are the first words provided: not only providing a stark image, but breaking away from previous numbers. So far, humour and religion (with pornographic overtones) have sat alongside inspired and desired love: here things get more venomous and impersonal. Turning the tables on the song’s heroine, her mouth is full of nonsense; the real truth exposed: when eviscerating and condemning the subject, the vocals attack- our frontman’s demented screech practically punches through the speaker; the backing vocal adds additional venom and support. Offering comparative calm, a buzzing and cosmic guitar parable is presented: stinging and hazy, it is a perfect punctuation- and leads to what is to follow. When our frontman sings the lines “Your mouth is open/Not in the usual way“, you hear a sly wink: the same sort of sexuality and seediness (that was evident in the previous number) is rearing its head. Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself- and reading too much into it- but the anti-heroine seems to have hit a nerve: whether based on a figure in the band’s life (or someone fictional) you cannot ignore the conviction. Mixing conglomerate elements of Nevermind-era Nirvana, our frontman melts Stay Away/Territorial Pissing’s strength and demonic lust; Something in the Way’s ‘yeah’s; Drain You’s pace and style- topped off with plenty of Yorkshire pride and unique force. Loathed to soften and demure, the song never lets up: fascinating and wailing guitar lines commingle with pulsating Grunge oeuvres- soon that intent and enforced vocal comes back in. As she is “as easy as can be” the sense of (almost evaporated) innocence is finally gone- leaving you exhausted and sweating. Nervous has been getting a good deal of press- it is one of the band’s previous singles- and with good reason. Chest-beating firecracker whips the initial storm: determined and fists-of-stone percussion underscores a psychedelic guitar riff pulled right from the pages of How to Kick Ass In No Time At All. Audible nervousness and cracks come through in the vocals (intentionally so) to score the story of an anxious love story. Our hero can only say things on paper: under the spell of his desired girl, he does everything she asks- just to be with her. Trepidation and procrastination represents itself in a soft and gentle vocal. Just like Cobain in About a Girl; Francis in La La Love You, the sense of desire shines: when asking (his girl) “Do you love me…too?”, there is almost a sense of resignation and knowing. As the song progresses it seems that it will not be: a coda of “And I’ll never…” is reintroduced (almost as self-flagellation)- our hero hasn’t the nerve to step up and say what’s on his mind. Keeping his ear to the ground, it seems that he can’t take no for an answer- there may be hope in his heart. That sentiment is short-lived, as our frontman claims that this is the worst thing he has done; the thing that “will kill us“- seeds have been planted for a Venus flytrap. A sense of mystique and mystery remains as the full details are not disseminated: all that is left is that resigned and defeated outpouring. Sunset Yellow begins with a soothing and blissed-out guitar. Our hero’s voice is less fraught than before and afforded the chance to reflect and conspire. Speaking of a particular love, she is someone who fills him with “sunset yellow“- which is causing relaxation and contentment in his soul. When speaking “Could be original/Could be the best“, it is claimed 2013 would be “heaven-sent.” Whether our frontman is referencing the music past of Allusondrugs- or surmising his personal highs and lows- you hear a real sense of conviction. Determined to get his message across, an emotive guitar coda beautifully backs the mood: the percussion and bass offer a sense of passion and haziness. There may be twin meanings to the words: at first I assumed a romantic partner was being ascribed; future lines get me thinking that music is on our man’s mind. Whatever happens with his art- whether he is the best or most original- it fills him with necessary joy and purpose. Keeping ahead of our time- by starting in the middle- the composition swells and evolves: the guitars more widescreen and emphatic; the percussion more lustful and determined- the entire band ramp up the sense of majesty and potency. By the final stages, you are rooting for our frontman- determined for him to keep going and not back down. The curiously-titled Thingio completes the E.P. Determined to be no latchkey child or afterthought, it begins life with determined grit. A fuzzy and captivating riff burrow into your skull: part-Funk, part-Psychedelia, it kicks, jams and grooves- backed by pattering percussion. You cannot help but picture some sort of monster waking and growing: the composition mutates and develops; the guitar changes conjecture and semblance- the energy picks up and the sense of adventure begins. Packing quite a concrete punch, it is a song that speaks to the primal core of the heart: quite a fitting final, then. Our hero’s voice is firm and reasoned; testifying that “You can argue with his mouth of reason“, the force and conviction comes into its own- oblique and unsettled, you try to piece together what is being referenced. Maybe the detached and non-specific song title draws you away from anything particular- something “new” (that “moves me“) is being assessed and examined. Sprinkling in off-kilter and killer riffs- together with earthquake percussion- the song once more goes on the hunt: an additional (wailing) guitar line is offered up- starting what is one of the most fascinating moments on the disc. Distorted and enfevered guitar wails hold and campaign: distant vocals linger in the background as the monster grows ever more. Quite an anthmeic and staggering conclusion to an E.P.- with its fair share of mesmeric moments.
What can I say about the Yorkshire lads? There has been a lot of high-profile praise levied their way- it is really not hard to see why. Few acts present an E.P. so varied, fascinating and memorable. The band do not simply stick with one style or sound: the six songs on the disc are cemented by their sense of personality and individuality. Hard and brutal moments do not outweigh proceedings; soft and tender ones balance things out- there is a perfect weight distribution that makes the E.P. so compelling and universal. Fans of Grunge and Heavy-Rock will love everything in Allusondrugs: those that are not huge supporters will find much to enjoy in tracks like I’m Your Man and Nervous. Production values gear themselves towards the importance of atmosphere: everything has a live feeling to it and ensures that the songs are as direct and raw as is possible. This normally means that elements and lines get sucked into the mix: on the E.P. you can hear everything concisely and are provided a complete and full listening experience. I shall pass around some commendation (before I conclude): the songs themselves are steeped in personal insight, humour, passion and band folklore- the blend of urgent romance and accusatory rage provides shades of light and dark. The lyrics are uniformly memorable: they do not succumb to cliché or predictability; instead show the hallmarks of a band with a unique voice. On that front, the sounds on offer are very much their own: there are hints of Nirvana, Pixies (Alice in Chains to an extent) in some numbers, yet they are building blocks: the guys simply reference rather than reinterpret. Updating Grunge’s glory moments- combining it with various other geners- an accomplished and nuanced E.P. is offered. The compositions are ever-changing and unpredictable; never losing momentum, they are designed to keep you on the edge of your seat- which they do with ease. Few would argue that the Yorkshire band deserve attention: Allusondrugs is a brilliant and mesmeric E.P. from five very talented chaps. The E.P. is perfect for anyone that wants to lose themselves in music: be wrapped up in something singularly urgent and insistent; awed by the genuine romance and passion that comes into things- discover a new band with a wonderful sound.
I am probably one of the lesser-most sources to pay tribute to the band. Given the fact that the giants of music media have already provided their insight and patronage, I feel like Christopher Columbus- discovering America long after others had found and inhabited it. That said, I am very glad that I have: being a fan of music that provides memorability, lustful glory and epic grandeur, the Yorkshire five-piece are in danger of becoming one of my favourite new bands. Beats me what it is about Yorkshire- that makes the music so phenomenal- as I have tried to explain it before: there is just something up there that is encouraging and fostering eager new musicians. Away from the glare and spotlight of London (Manchester and Liverpool too), the northern county has an environment that is conducive to music wonder: the best and most fertile sounds are up here, let me tell you! Allusondrugs are not merely another Yorkshire band: they are perhaps one of the most spectacular and urgent groups the country has to offer. Being a fan of ’80s-’90s Grunge (Soundgarden, Nirvana, Alice in Chains) and current Desert/Hard-Rock, some familiar jewels can be mined- don’t let that enforce your expectations. Allusondrugs simple nod to their heroes and icons- they are not the sum total of their parts. If you want gentler and more subtle vocals, then you will find much to enjoy. If you want to sway with delirious abandon in a sweat-filled moshpit- the band have just the sounds for you. Whether you want something more cerebral- cross-pollination and developed sounds- then the boys have plenty of that: capable of teasing Jazz elements into Space-Rock overtures, they are masters of surprise. For me, it is the band’s conviction and range that speaks to me. You can tell just how much music means to them: they have spent a lot of time honing and perfecting their sounds; developing their inner voice to ensure their music not only seduces as many as possible- also separating themselves from everyone out there. I do worry when it comes to band such as Royal Blood: they have an avalanche sound that has been capturing festivals crowds over the last couple of months. In order to ensure longevity and repeated adoration, you have to broaden your sounds- keep them mobile and surprising so that you have plenty of creative ammunition. Allusondrugs have side-stepped this potential banana skin: their embryonic stylings are as assured, drunkening and thought-provoking as any other group- a facet that will see them having a fruitful career. Their self-titled E.P. is a mixed bag of styles, sounds, thoughts and insights- the only thing that is not mixed is the quality. Cranking the barometer up to 11, the five-piece have crammed as much sex appeal, power, sensitivity, multifariousness and riffage into six corking songs- no two songs sound alike and each never outstays its welcome. The band is as tight and intuitive as any I have heard, and utilise this wonderfully- each note and lyric is authoritative and compelling. In many reviews I have raised two different points: the nature of narrow focus and festival potential. Too many people stick with the genres and music they think they like: sticking within rigid confines, few aren’t eager when it comes to expanding their tastes- missing out on a wealth of terrific music. If you have no knowledge of Grunge, Psychedelia and Hard-Rock then you should give the band a try: they have enough in their arsenal to inflame the most ingenue of minds. The band connect hardest with those that want their music deeper and more enriching: sounds that are jam-packed with every emotion and direction possible. Finally, I shall mention one thing: the festival scene and bands that deserve to be there. Allusondrugs’ enthralling and soul-lifting songs are likely to see their way to the Leeds Festival– it wouldn’t be a long trip for them! Lesser bands have rocked the annual festival- to that end the quintet have quite a future ahead. International climbs and venues will come calling; this county’s most prestigious organisers will be desperate to have the boys come play for them. For now, I shall not get too ahead of myself: Allusondrugs are still starting out; their self-titled E.P. is a staggering collection. Too little of today’s music keeps you on your toes and digs down deep: stuns you with its sense of confidence and brilliance. Sit back, enjoy the show and prime your brain (for something rather special). That passion and flair; the undeniable ability to overwhelm…
ALL of us need that once in a while.
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