Album Review: Jingo- The Art of Loving



The Art of Loving


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

Black Flowers9.6/10
Sky Punch9.7
When You Want Me9.7
Belong To You9.6
The Art of Loving9.7
Blue Wail9.6
Before You Were Born9.6
Same Without You9.8
Don’t Call It Love9.8


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

1st September, 2014

Jack Buckett, Katie Buckett , Joe Reeves and Chris Smith

Sahil ‘Saladin Hacksaw’ Batra

Strongroom Studios and Snowman Studios, London UK

Jingo and Ganesh Singaram

Soup Studios

Katie Buckett


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


AS I arrive at my final trio of reviews…

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am sure it will not be too long!



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Track Review: Antriksh Bali- Daze Blue

Antriksh Bali

Daze Blue


Daze Blue is available at:

1st August, 2014

Nikita Sailesh

Antriksh Bali

Sulzhan Bali

Electronic, Ambient, Trip-Hop

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


THIS will be the final review I will pen…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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





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E.P. Review: Calgaris- I





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

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

Knots (Intro.)- 9.6/10.0
Holy Books9.8

Holy Books

22nd September, 2014


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


THIS review will mark a bit of a milestone…

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

Matt / Richard / Craig / Simone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IT is about time, too.



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Track Review: Go Wolf- Talk to You


Go Wolf


Talk to You


Talk to You is available at:

12th August, 2014

Ooh La La Records

Rocky O’ Reilly at Start Together Studios

Robin Schmidt at 24-96 Mastering

Indie-Pop, Electro.

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


WHEN considering my featured act…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARE leading a very impressive charge.

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E.P. Review: The Exhibition- Carry to the End

The Exhibition

Carry to the End


Carry to the End is available (to pre-order) at:

1st September, 2014

Here I Begin9.0
Starting Over9.1
Carry to the End9.2


Dave Sanderson

Tom Woodhead at Hippocratic, Leeds

Indie, Alternative, Pop

This stunning Yorkshire band have been intriguing critics since 2010. Carry to the End is the sound of The Exhibition at their height- filled with passion and utter conviction. Mixing shades of Elbow and The Jam, the genre-splicing band are a quartet (to keep your eyes on)

IT is back to Yorkshire I head…

(at least not Leeds this time). Back in a familiar county- I seem to tabulate between Canadian and Yorkshire-based reviews- another terrific band (have come to my attention). When assessing The Exhibition, I am reminded of the band market in general- a subject I have touched on many times. The Barnsley four-piece have a very different sound; they have been compared with the likes of The Dears and Bloc Party. In the band arena, there are a lot that have a very similar sound- they tend to stick to the Arctic Monkeys mould. Some ambitious bands stretch themselves a bit; by-and-large some familiar (historic) acts are referenced (and misappropriated). It is great being inspired by a band; referencing their work and taking them on board- too many new acts lack originality and distinct identity. Having assessed a fair few groups, I can always tell the good from the bad- I have heard too many acts that lazily carbon copy older music; briefly tweak it to make it some quasi-new. The faux pas is not being eradicated and cured: too many fresh bands seem intent on marking themselves out for premature death. The best way of avoiding any easy labeling; taking (the listener’s mind) somewhere new, is to experiment with genres. Band such as Royal Blood have shown how muscular and invigorating you can sound (when playing around the Hard-Rock/Indie genres)- you must pick up their debut album on Monday. These noticeable and stunning examples aside, (in order to succeed) you need chutzpah and uniqueness- present sounds that have not been heard. There is so much music out there; so many genres and styles- why would acts ignore them? Being a fan of Electro.-Swing and Electro.-Pop, I love the fusion of sounds here- that combination of classical and contemporary; vibrant and melodic; edgy and soft. Bands that play in the arenas of Indie, Contemporary and Rock are a mixed bag: a few pioneering (acts) mingle sounds and sensations; a lot tend to slovenly put together something overly-familiar and vague. The Exhibition have been lauded due to their adventurousness and fresh sound. Although a few other bands- come under their radar- the abiding flavour is of a unique and distinct act. The Barnsley-based boys have been ratcheting up intrigue and acclaim; having produced a number of E.P.s and tracks, they are on a mission- intent on becoming big future names. I would not rule out that possibility; the consistency and quality (the band keep producing) is among the highest around- with each new movement they sound more assured and focused. The public has plenty of band choices; all sorts of sounds and themes are on offer- choosing the very finest can be a tough task, indeed. In so much as Yorkshire is producing some of music’s best, it is a county that is synonymous with unexpected combination and lesser-heard music. The Exhibition unite traditional and vintage sounds with something cutting-edge and insistent; the passion and urgency is all there. Before I raise a couple of points- smaller ones- let me introduced my featured act:

Pete Dand (vocals/guitar)
Joel Burrows (lead guitar)
Andrew Murray (bass guitar)
Lee Padgett (drums)

The Exhibition is a Barnsley based progressive-pop band formed in the spring of 2008 and consisting of members: Joel Burrows (Guitar), Pete Dand (Vocals/Guitar), Andrew Murray (Bass) and Lee Padgett (Drums). The band releases ‘Carry to the End’ on the 1st of September, its third EP and sixth release proper. Shortly after forming, The Exhibition recorded an initial demo with Alan Smyth (Arctic Monkeys, The Long Blondes) before beginning a long-standing relationship with producer Dave Sanderson that initially resulted in 2009’s self-titled 4-track EP. Featuring longtime set-opener ‘The Boy and The Tearaway’ (“Executed brilliantly, and sounds natural rather than forced, a swirling maelstrom of shoegaze guitars and truly mammoth drums, propelled by some frenetic fills” 9/10 Whisperin and Hollerin) and anthemic pop song ‘Bright New Worlds’ (“This is one of the best things I’ve heard in a while” Indie-MP3) the EP was critically well received amongst the blogging community. The Exhibition went on to receive airplay from various international radio stations – including regular play from Tom Robinson and Ian Hodgson at the BBC – and garnered support slots with Hatcham Social, The Kabeedies and Roses, Kings, Castles. In 2010 the band recorded their debut single ‘The Crown/Coma’ for Of National Importance Records. Released as a limited edition 7″ vinyl, the single was brilliantly received, with critics noticing the rate at which the band had progressed (“A quite staggering leap forward. What we are witnessing is a band beginning to fire on all cylinders. God help us all” 8/10 Tasty Fanzine | “Unashamedly progressive, a startling indicator of how far the group have come in such a short while” 8/10 This Is Fake DIY). After an almost two-year long hiatus, the band returned to playing live in 2013 with a slightly altered line-up and released the EP ‘Man Proposes, God Disposes’ (“A step up in terms both production and song writing. The world is waiting for a band as good The Exhibition.” Alternative Barnsley) along with the track ‘Memento Mori’ (“Beautiful in its gentleness” 8/10 There Goes the Fear). Carry to the End marks The Exhibition’s sixth year as a band. The four tracks were again recorded by Dave Sanderson (65 Days Of Static, Hey Sholay) at 2fly Studios in Sheffield and mastered by Tom Woodhead (Hookworms, Post-War Glamour Girls). The track ‘Finis’ from the same recording sessions is available to download for free now at

The Exhibition are a bit of an old-fashioned band- gents without a Twitter account. Their online portfolio and spread is pretty thorough and precise- it would be great to see them on Twitter soon. I can understand (why people do not) join the site- it can be limited and not as inclusive as the likes of Facebook. On Facebook, you can include photos, videos and lots of information- Twitter is a little more restricted. The good thing about it (Twitter) is the ease of use and networks- there are scores of musicians waiting to be (hooked up with). The boys have a future ahead of them, so it seems they could score a lot of new fans and fellows- let’s hope they jump on the bandwagon and get their name on Twitter. Before I get down to reviewing the guys- and looking at their past work- I will raise one point: the local markets and band competition. Having assessed so many different types of acts, I want all of them to succeed- there are few (I have heard) that do not deserve wide acclaim. When the mainstream opens its doors (to the best of the newly-bred), the spaces are going to be limited and restricted- who are the ones that will ascend to the highest peaks? I have mentioned cross-pollination and gene mixing; fusing different sound together gives the music a special originality- it is deeper and more appealing to listening ears. When it all comes down to it, the sheer quality and determination (will see the bravest succeed). So many mainstay bands have a timidity and sense of fatigue; looking like they are on their last legs- the young and eager will be the ones to steal their glory. The Exhibition instill passion and pride in all their work; their prolific outpourings show they often find ripe inspiration- their bond and unity is tight and unyielding. The way they talk about music- on social media- strike you: one can instantly tell how determined and solid they are. Nothing else means as much to them; that drive and foresight should see them reap rich rewards- their reputation is spreading; their name is being heralded. It is true their infectious energy and determination has gained them some of the acclaim- it is the sheer quality of the music that hits home hardest. More fertile, direct and memorable (than most music out there), the Yorkshire band are above most of their contemporaries. Comparisons have been levied to the likes of The Dears and Bloc Party- two bands that usually do not feature much (when compared with new musicians). It would be remiss to purely compare The Exhibition with others- they take the flavours of other bands and combine them into their bubbling cauldron of multicoloured smoke. Carry to the End is the latest testament from the dynamic quartet; their past work has outstanded critics and mesmerised legions of supporters- their current offerings are among their very best.

It is hard to look at like-minded acts- when thinking about The Exhibition’s music. There are a few names that I could suggest that the band levy in- the smallest drops here and there. In several reviews, the boys have been compared with The Dears. The Canadian band seem to influence the lads- you can hear touches of Missles (the 2008 album from The Dears) in the current offerings. This album showed effective drama and grandstanding themes. The band showcased their rough and disjointed side; the majestic and refined- all played together on the L.P. Apocalyptic artistry and directness lurked within the terrific tracks- the band incorporated No Cities Left and Gang of Loser’s shades. Missles demanded repeated listens; it is an album that is six years old- and is still revealing new gems and sides. Exploratory and sprawling, the ambition and passion is hard to ignore- there are fewer catchy hooks here (than previous albums). Missles looked at hopelessness and finding redemption; hard themes and struggling is documented- from financial woes through to personal anxieties. Across the album, the band summon up enough uplift to stop is from becoming too mordant. Whilst the darkest (of The Dears’ albums), the finest numbers glistened and resonated- it is an album that is still affecting people at the moment. he Exhibition draw in similar shady themes and avenues; they match beauty and darkness alongside one another- their blend of disjointed and focused results in some terrific music. Unlike Missles, Carry to the End has greater hooks and nuance- there is more that can unite Indie and Rock lovers. More upbeat and celebratory- than Missles- the latest E.P. shows how strong The Exhibition are. Taking small strips from The Dears has led to this galvanisation and focus. When thinking about the urgent and gripping drama- Th Exhibition summon up- I am reminded of Bloc Party. Silent Alarm and Four are the best Bloc Party albums- and the best to compare with the Yorkshire four-piece. Silent Alarm was lauded for its maturity and expansiveness. The autonomy, elasticity and sprawling beauty made it an instant classic- an album that deserved full hype. Caffeinated Dance music tangled with more restrained and longing moments- the album possessed a great mixture of sounds and moments. Thrills and inspired ideas defined the L.P.; the suburban ennui words were backed with emphatic and compelling vocals- the songs had insane amounts of catchiness and memorability. Tight, wonderfully energetic and polished, Silent Alarm marked an emphatic and impressive debut. Compared to Manic Street Preachers’ album The Holy Bible, Silent Alarm resonated with critics- an album that has compelled The Exhibition. They throw in the same exciting and head-spinning riffs; the deep and multilateral music- direct and impassioned vocals. Whilst Bloc Party performed fewer softer numbers, both bands share a love of hypnotic and arms-in-the-air Indie anthems. Stone-cold standouts like Helicopter and Banquet– from Bloc Party- can be heard in some of The Exhibition’s most enthralling and enraptured numbers- that same heady sway and tsunami attack. When Bloc Party unveiled Four (in 2012), it marked a leap forward. An exciting guitar attack- noted for its urgency and purpose- the band rediscovered their lease on life- they appeared deflated on previous albums. The slower numbers were impressive and notable; the consistency and quality control made the album such a treasure- one of the band’s finest discs. Adding more hard-edged elements into their songs, Bloc Party forsook the need to add electronics and synths.- Four saw greater directness and a pure Rock/Indie sound. Political overtones and angular riffs mingled with precise melodies and fighting guitars. Everything sounded poised and ready; churning and chugging riffs provided some sensational snatches- genres were spliced and mixed. Some songs went from Blues-inspired crawls to Heavy Metal clatter; the experimentation and daring (the band showed) excited critics. The vitality and impressiveness of the album cannot be denied- it is a record that appeals to a multitude of listeners. The Exhibition are equally pioneering and experimental. Some of their songs see those angular riffs mutate into full-blown dramas; they cross genres and fuse different sounds- their quieter moments are more effective (than Bloc Party’s). As much as anything, the Barnsley quartet possess a similar urgency and vitality- all of their songs have been perfected and honed; ensuring the listener gets the finest listening experience possible. Before I finish with British influences- a trio of them- I will mention a U.S. one: The White Stripes. When riffs and guitar codas are scratchy and Blues-inspired, I am reminded of De Stijl. The band’s sophomore release, it was noted for its new directions and styles- that differed from The White Stripes’ debut. Bubblegum, Cabaret, Blues and Classic-Rock sat with one another; the stylisations and diverse avenues meant the music was an unpredictable treat- the production values are incredible. Jack White managed to tie so much diversity together seamlessly; with an innate understanding of music he perfectly blended so many disparate sounds. His authoritative and versatile guitar work went from fuzzy and buzzing to languid and pained- able to rustle a riot of emotion with a few notes. That muscle-cum-artiness has found its way onto The Exhibition’s current E.P.- they instill the best facets and hallmarks of De Stijl. Feisty and clever, well-phrased and exceptional- the album possessed a great live sound. White’s knack for phrasing- on tracks like Hello Operator– made songs sound improvised; that freshness means the music struck hard- catching the listener by surprise. The Exhibition allow a similar sense of improvisation to come into things- on some of the harder-hitting moments, the phrasing and presentation leaves that impression. The biggest influences I can draw- when thinking of the boys’ music- is Elbow and The Jam. Two albums I will compare- from Elbow- would be Leader of the Free World and The Seldom Seen Kid. The former remains an outright classic and modern-day masterpiece. Having inspired legions of other acts, it is a terrific achievement. Elbow has always been noted for their gloominess and emotional sludginess; on Leaders‘ they focus more on the world- rather than relationships. Cynical and sombre dispositions fuse with melancholic pianos and emotional guitar work- qualities The Exhibition bring into their work. When Guy Garvey pointed his finger at the media and the world at large, the songs became similarly emphatic and swelling- tracks build and levitate into grand and majestic anthems. Guts and glory mandated the songs; layered guitars and busy compositions got inside of the brain- Elbow hit their peak here. The Exhibition are adept at those big anthems; layering sounds and instruments together- to elicit the biggest result. Gloominess and sombre moments- are shared by both bands- and the Yorkshire quartet have taken bits of Elbow’s artistry on board. When The Seldom Seen Kid came along, the band mixed strange textures and middle grounds- mopey Art-Rock and radio-friendly diamonds. The warm piercing vocals of Garvey scored unexpected left-turns and immediate accessibility- the album remains a deep and compelling wonder. Pete Dand incorporates Garvey’s warm and piercing vocals; that same sense of style and emotion- you can draw the two singers together. Although Dand has greater range and depth- he can go lower and deeper; present a wider emotional spectrum- the two leads are masters of rousing the troops; getting the music sparkling and alive- getting crowds to their feet. Sharp and wry lyrics were joined by clattering arrangements- on Leaders’- that meant the listener was always surprised and excited; nothing was predictable and stayed. Lovely melodies, layers of electronics; accessible directness mingled- the album remains an assured and enjoyable treat. The quixotic and diverse mingled with life-affirming and epic. The Exhibition make sure their music does not tread too similar ground; their songs marry the same diversities and considerations- presented in their own distinct and unique way. Adept at rustling up a barnstorming anthem; bringing the mood down to seduce and captivate- the boys seem likely to rise to Elbow-esque levels of acclaim and adulation (in the future). The last act I will mention is The Jam. Perhaps natural influencers of Elbow, The Jam are rightful legends and masters. In terms of album comparisons, All Mod Cons and Sound Affects are the most pertinent kissing cousins. Whilst considered The Jam’s finest duo of albums, I can hear a bit of The Exhibition. The former suffered from a fractious and delayed writing process- Weller scrapped numbers and rewrote most of the album. What remains was an unexpected and purposeful album. The Jam sounded alive and rejoiced; a renewed and re-inspired band- youthful perspectives and impassioned deliveries (made the album such a wonder). The songs were not just aimed at the current generation (All Mod Cons was released in ’77) but future ones- it is an album that can be freely extrapolated by my generation. Earnest and sincere, All Mod Cons united The Jam and spurred their future classics. The Exhibition show some of The Jam’s generation-spanning majesty; they write songs that speak to the youth of today- messages that can be preserved and conserved (for the young of future years). Sound Affects is seen as The Jam’s finest moment- by many critics and the likes of me. Although The Exhibition do not cover similar themes and stories; the vocal sound and delivery can be compared- the influence of Weller can be found on the quartet’s latest sounds. Odd sounds and echoed vocals saw the band draw influence from the likes of The Beatles and poets Blake and Shelley. Themes investigated abstract dealings of spirituality and perception- sounds range from clever and tight to Pop melodicism. The Exhibition have changed course since their early days; introduced new ideas and inspirations- developed and evolved their sound. The Pop melodicism and intelligence- The Jam displayed- can be levied to the band; that same mixture of abstract and direct; oblique and deeply personal. The Jam mixed all of their songs around passionate and gripping performances; theatrics of sound- imbued with Punk energy and a vibrant lead vocal. The Exhibition have taken The Jam’s essence to heart; incorporated small drops for influence- ensured their music has its distinctions and original intent.

To get a full impression of The Exhibition, it is pertinent to see where they came from- and how they have developed. If we consider their last work- Roma/Forward in Arms– that was unleashed back in May- it gained huge critical plaudit and respect. Forward In Arms is the first track up. Funky and scuffling riffs remind me of The Libertines and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Vivid and stark beginnings grip you with the intensity and catchiness. Scenes of personal decomposition and submission are offered up- the vocal delivery marries romantic and direct. Sighed and breathy one moment, urgent and emotional the next- it throws a lot of shades and contours into the mix. Distorted and contorted strings fit in myriad movements and motions. The sound unite sexy and exciting; the chorus is rushing and insistent- it can burrow into your head forever. Glistening electronic strings blend with firm percussion and authoritative bass work- there are suggestions of Elbow, The Jam and Bloc Party. A triumphant and memorable opening, Roma is next up. Spiky and scintillating opening electronic (strums) lead to White Stripes-esque pump and Blues-Rock sounds. Snarling swaggers combine in scratchy and bare-naked elements- the track packs a lot of wallop and passion. Among twisted strings and bouncing bass, the song keeps its head firm and direct. Anthemic and highly addictive, the song is wonderfully singalong and memorable. Maybe a love song to Rome; a love song to a lover or music, the words are passionate and heart-aching- the vocal has a masculine power (but contains softer swathes). The lyrics look at beds, shadows and twists- oblique sentiments sit with vivid and personal. Having several meanings and interpretations, the track is a compelling thing. Charm and innocence combine with strength and lustfulness. Beastly and psychotropic yowls grant heavy and dangerous potential- the prominent and impressive bass holds everything together. The band is tight and focused throughout; completely in-step and in line. Man Proposes, God Disposes arrived in August (2013). Beginning and Ending starts with a rampant and spoiling intro. The city is fragmented and divided; broken and lost, our hero drifts across the divide. The quiet-loud dynamics means explosive sights change to demure and reflective ones. Suffocation comes into play; our frontman wants to escape and get away- whether referring to personal strife or musical ambitions. Mixtures of The Jam’s early sounds sit with current Indie passion- laden with heady atmosphere and catchiness abound. Compositional tones change and evolve; it gets under your skin and does its work. The vocal is impassioned and earnest- never losing focus or sight. You get caught up in the plight and story; the song grabs the listener and does not let go. Fall seems like a more vitriolic version of In My Life. Our hero goes home and sees how everything has changed; the green grass is grey- the pallid faces stare back at him. Broken and tortured landscapes have replaced the beauty and homeliness. The disappointment and annoyance come out in the vocal. Lights are going out; the disaffected frontman is stunned and amazed- things have changed for the worse. Urgent, pressing and insistent vocals hide a sound of resignation and deflation. The soul has been burst and the scales fallen from the eyes. Swirling and cacophonous electric guitars spar alongside tight and angular bass contradictions- the percussion is precise and punchy. Heavy and hard moments make the track a memorable and evocative number- one that demands repeated listens. Some Subaltern is one of the band’s longer tracks- containing fewer words than usual. Acoustic openings give a Folk feel to proceedings- the vocal is atmospheric but downbeat. Letting his soul sing, our hero evokes stunning scenes and lines- he is preparing for a new world war; destruction and personal loss are afoot. Happiness has faded completely; there is more comfort in murder and broken hearts. With the voice shifting from safe and soft (to overwrought and strained), it is an incredible performance. Nothing gets out of hand or too intense. The acoustic-cum-electric guitar combinations provide balance and depth; the song shows another side to the band- introducing bits of Elbow and The Jam, we hear a mixture of vintage Punk and modern Indie. A Void is a song you will not avoid. Intent and catchy are the opening notes. The stunning intro. builds and grows. The percussion tees and kicks up the guitar; alert and ready, it mutates into a fiery parable- a stronger and more forceful sound. The vocal is looking at the heart: the emptiness and space that is left there- the voids between night and day; worlds and emotions is investigated. The track changes from composed and controlled through to swelling and magisterial. A fantastic way to end the E.P., we see the guys at their most meaningful and direct. Managing to draw all of their sounds together, it is one of their most complete and layered gems- a fittingly intense and mesmeric swan-song. When The Crown/Coma was released in 2010, The Crown set tongues wagging. A scratchy White Stripes-esque opening had a brooding and determined intention. That sense of danger and unexpectedness made its voice known- our frontman seems lost and alone (on the song). Feeling blue and on a higher hell, the sighing vocal offers wordless coos and impassioned outpouring. Maybe love and life is looked at; possibly ambition and music- there is a definite imbalance and sense of inequity. The song crackles and sparkles; sensations of Psychedelia and ’60s legends comes into effect- the bass features prominently here. The gravity and pull that is displayed has Punk elements; the vocal goes from a rabble and drawl- to something less drunkening and ladish. Ever-changing and unexpected, the band unveil an unpredictable and mutating number- one that perfectly forages in the brain. Coma begins with a trippy and echoing line; the strings growl and stagger. Defined and rifled percussion pairs with twanging and trippy bass- the composition is curious and enlivening. Our hero finds solace in a coma- the new world order is looked at. The sort of apocalyptic themes (early Muse would salivate over), there is bombast and swagger- the track expands and explodes towards the middle. Growing and baying for blood, it vengefully crawls and campaigns. Looking at The Exhibition’s earliest work- 4-Track Demo E.P.- and we can see the initial quality. The Boy & The Tearaway is a long track that looks at deep issues. Our hero began as a newborn and innocent boy- he developed into a tearaway. The elements of heaven and hell; the way a man can choose and define his own path (comes into play)- the story is captivating and cinematic. Rampant and determined percussion adds kick and force; the guitars rise and fall- they are strong and forceful throughout. Our hero seems innocent and tender; his tearaway and criminalistic side always lingers- from start to finish you get the sense of a man conflicted. Things That Hide in the Dark begins with grumble and darkness. The song rushes and slithers; the guitars are kiss-ass and cool. Shades of The Libertines and The Jam playfully mix; Bloc Party are in there too- backed by an impassioned vocal, it is a standout track. The determined and native (Yorkshire) accent comes out; te lyrics are scenic and atmospheric- oblique touches see our hero look out at the world. Everything he has lived for has passed away; there is a never-ending charm that keeps the song gripping. Reaction is a spright and fun affair. Youthful and vibrant kicks inject passion and excitement- our hero’s voice is urgent and gripping throughout. The endless and pervading press does not relent- spiraling and stuttering guitars have some excellent Libertines touches. The mature and old mixes with young and rambunctious- the blend makes the song such a layered and full-voiced thing. Bright New Worlds ends (the first E.P.). Tables will turn at some point- so we are told- and there is a need to make changes (before things get worse). Life is being taken apart and dissembled; where are the up sides and benefits? God and religion are looked at and scrutinised- life is not desirable and prosperous; why are good things not occurring? Apologies are offered- by our man- for early transgressions and youthful errors. Lonely people are looked at (and highlighted); the intelligent lyrics make events gripping and prominent- perhaps the finest moment from the band’s early days. It is best to judge the guys on their current work. What you get- from Carry to the End is a new and original E.P.- it keeps the band’s sound but offers new sensations and stories. More confident and tight, the tracks pack a bigger punch- the mandates are more rounded and nuanced. I love their early work, but prefer their latest offerings- they are more intent and galvanised. Displaying that parabond of emotional depth and fist-pumping anthemics, the four tracks- across the E.P.- demand serious scrutiny and attention- it is a collection that will see the boys making some serious headway.

Artery is a blood-rushing song that has been gaining some heady press- a track that is causing speculation and intrigue. The lead-off song from Carry to the End, it begins with elastic and boinging strings; the taut and tense rhythm neatly flows into a tense and spy-themed parable. The percussion and guitar unite with bass to unleash something nervy, razor-edged and scintillating. The sound is not too heavy, yet it implores with its brimming drama and twilight danger. Gripped by the developing scenery, the band introduction evolves and expands; some of the most animalistic and carnivorous guitar work (reminds me of Muse)- that same determined and mesmeric sound. The layers and different strands come together splendidly; the song shifts and develops- retaining its muscular and focused core. Keeping the listener guessing, the coda keeps snaking and slinking; shifting its tail and making you sweat. When our frontman arrives at the microphone, his voice is direct and meaningful; looking at “closing in” and arterial rush, the words are projected with consideration of the mood- the lines are carefully paced and allow the maximum amount of potency and resonance to occur. The composition keeps busy and rushing; never relinquishing its heady drive, the juxtaposition works wonderfully. Speaking of death and closing walls, our man advises “open the door“- the pressing and urgent delivery is repeated like a mantra. Backed by hypnotising and strangling notes, the band unite to pull out a huge performance. Death “comes in colours“; lantern lights and a bare hallway are included- the band employ a terrific lyrical economy. That emphatic and repeated chorus is designed to do most of the work- with a greater amount of lyrics, the song would be less gripping and startling. Incredible evocative and striking instrumentations make the track an endlessly fascinating thing. The guitars twiddle and vibrate; swagger and haunt; tiptoe and run- such a myriad of different shades and sights. Catchy riffs mix with guiding and melodic bass; the percussion work is sturdy and powerful; pummeling and intense. Combine all of this together and you get a terrific opening salvo- one that sets up the E.P. wonderfully. That gravitational pull and grip is hard to get over; the deathly and stirring scenery is evocatively stunning and compelling. Kudos goes to the entire band who unite in a tight and scintillating firecracker. Each player adds a huge amount of measure, drama and weight to the composition- able to paint words and images with snatches of sounds and notation. Able to blend addictive and danceable riffs with crackling electricity; avalanche drums; pugnacious bass- it is a wonderfully ripe and ready battle statement. Our hero’s vocal never drops below wonderful: his tones and emotions are kept focused; never succumbing to histrionics, it is an assured and authoritative performance. Here I Begin starts more tenderly and eerily. The rush and urgency have been replaced by something more haunted and atmospheric. Spectral and ghostly electronics welcome in our frontman. Early impressions such as “here I have seen” and “here I begin” gets the mind working- followed on with words of sinning; one speculates what is being referred to. Keeping focus distant and slow-building, there is an obliqueness to the initial words- the listener is left curious and hooked. The vocal has plenty of emotion and reverence to it; the passion is there but it seems like our frontman has regret and anguish inside- the moody and spellbound composition helps to increase the intrigue. Repeating words with the same mantra-like regard, it gives them meaning and fresh urgency- it appears our man is gripped and grabbed by the meanings of his lyrics; in the trance of heady emotion. Just as you investigate and comply with the words; try to get to their heart and soul- the composition rises and gallops. With our hero offering wordless coos, the bracing and funky riffs unfold; the music mixes emphatic drama with slinked and cool-as-hell riffage- mixings of Soul-cum-Funk-via-Blues is tempted together. Displaying their talent for dance-worthy upbeat, the band seamlessly mingle highs and lows; emotional and redemptive- into a palette of multifarious strands. Travelling past the underpass, sea of glass and fractured sights, our hero is beginning again- seemingly rebuilding himself and making moves. The lyrics can be interpreted two ways: on the one hand you feel that something more submissive is being presented. When in the midst of some harsh realities and tortured scenes, the words “here I begin” are uttered- making me feel like the frontman feels at home here; deserving of similar fate. On the other hand, there is redemption and rebirth; beginning again could mean starting afresh- shedding his old skin and embracing something more positive and elliptical. Juddering and shivering strings pair with punchy and supportive percussion. The bass leads and holds everything firm; the performance (from the band) is unequivocally tight and intense. Showing no loose edges and seams, the boys never let go. Our hero is in the sea of fire and destruction; comets tumble and hell-fire brims- it is here he begins. That curiosity and double-meaning mystique comes back to mind; I try to get my mind to focus and clarify things. Swelling and eerie notes come back through; that progressive nature defines the song- lesser bands would hopelessly throw together a series of notes with scant consideration for mood. The Exhibition inject spiked and cosmic guitar strikes with arpeggios and sexy swaggers- quite a blend of ingredients! With a gripping and urgent vocal, you are drawn into the song- the directness and emotion pours forth. Gracing the song with a sense of panache, leadership and heroics, our frontman is on top form- stirring up a myriad of details and layers. Towards the closing moments, a few more notes are thrown in- hard-hitting and stirring they are. Not content to leave things unanswered, the final flings punctuate and hit. I am thinking something mixed was being assessed: our hero seems to want redemption and development; his heart and soul is being tied down and weighted. Such a curious and fascinating proposition, Here I Begin completes an impressive 1-2. Staring Over opens with high-pitched and sunny strings. A flowing and fast arpeggio, there seems to be positive light and hope here- the initial seconds are filled with passion and uplifting potential. Instilled with a mixture of Pop and Indie sensibilities, the sound differs from the opening salvos- something more buoyant and spright is being unfurled. Crunching and precise percussion work acts like a heartbeat; it strikes and pumps with necessity and consistency. Our hero’s vocal is more breathy and romantic here- letting his softer and sensitive side to shine, it is a calmed and honest beginning. Sounding like a live performance, the track impresses with its incredible sound and tangible production- it is as though you are hearing the band in the flesh. Early words are directed towards an unnamed figure. With urgency- and a slight sigh- our frontman tells (the hero to go where) “your heart tells you to go.” Whether a friend or sweetheart is being spoken to (I am not sure), yet few can ignore the conviction and urgency of the words- they remind me of Morrissey and his unique delivery. Driven by some incredibly detailed musical moments, the song wins its election with a multifaceted assault. In addition to some incredibly emotive and stunning vocals, the lyrics intrigue and tempt. Maybe a relationship is being looked at; when the words “starting over again” come out, you feel like something has unfolded- maybe a bond is broken and beyond repair. The sigh and weight of the vocals makes me think it was not a happy occurrence- our hero warns their subject to go before they “lose control.” Whether a love has been eradicated or a friend has suffered an unpleasant event, the necessity of starting over is obvious. Spiraling and repeated words add to the urgency and insistency; the composition never encroaches or overpowers- the combinations are incredible. Like Artery, economy and concision come to the fore- making a big impact with as few words as possible. Anthemic and addictive, the chorus is one that demands singalong tribes and enraptured festival crowds. Seemingly spellbound by the words at hand, our hero’s voice is at its peak here- both strong and emphatic; introspective and emotional. Towards the close, the composition becomes more dizzying and defined- the percussion crackles; the bass trips and tumbles; the guitar intoxicates. As the song reaches its end, you are left a bit breathless by the rush and clammer of the song- it is a sure-fire festival favourite-in-waiting. The title track arrives last up. Taking the E.P. to its conclusion, the crackling and intriguing drum beats are an unexpected treat. Each track has led with a different sound; separate and distinct genres and flavour- here something more bare and seductive plays. Mingling embers of Soul and Pop, the delicate vocal delivery comes in quick- the tenderness of the performances grips from the start. Our man is in an “ocean of tears“; gripped by his darkest fears, he needs an island- to harbour his worst thoughts. Drawing in some of the moodiness and anxieties of Elbow- combined with a comparable vocal luster- the song is instant. Whereas Elbow’s softer moments are not their very best, here there seems more authority and naturalness- the quartet are equally at home among emotive and self-reflective themes. Stark and vivid, you imagine our hero adrift at sea; looking for safe haven and security- his mind is lost and empty. Wanting to throw off the shackles, there is that need to get away and escape- the evocative and atmospheric composition punctuates and highlights the lyrics. Not liable to be won over easily, it seems the frontman’s mind is pretty irreversible- that defeated and deflated soul needs pumping up. Drawing in essences of Leaders of the Free World Elbow; some shades of Joy Division, the track certainly has some meaty credentials- it is not a gloom-laden and black velvet number. Earnestness and honest reflections are glistened with some lighter and positive strings- there is rawness and vibrancy to be found. Thoughts collide; our hero loses control- the drama increases and the song becomes harder and more enlivened. Growling and blood-lust strings sit with chugging and locomotive notes; the bass guides and glides- a beautiful parable that perfectly punctuates the verses. Ensuring the E.P. ends with indelible impressions, the song certainly is hard to forget. Juxtaposing serene and emotive vocals with rousing and fighting compositional elements, the track is another live wonder- something that will grip and unify crowds across the U.K. Whilst largely saddened and hopeless, the song does not depress and divide- it is a solid and compelling. The chorus is repeated- as is traditional for the band- to reinforce the messages. There is hopefulness and potential- our man will carry on and not let go; life cannot bury him. The composition is one of the finest on the set; the band combine magnificently. The guitars are particularly memorable; displaying so much diversity and intent, so many different sounds and sights come into view. With the dying moments dedicated to evocative and spellbinding musical grip, the band leave the listener in no uncertain mind- they want to leave things with a bang. Having sympathised with our hero, he steps away from the mic.; the band summon the sound of the ocean waves and storms brewing- the gripping drama does not let go.

Before I mention the band members individually, it is worth summing the E.P. up. Carry to the End is a blistering four-track collection that is excellent from start to finish. There are strong shades of Elbow and The Jam, yet the band never stick too closely to their guns- instead redefine their emphatic and anthemic cores. Songs go from upbeat and down-turned to scintillating and reflective- the guys switch styles and genres without warning. Their songs are compelling and unpredictable; not content to do the bare minimum, the boys keep every moment imaginative and shifting- creating their own unique sound and style. Each track is tight and focused; nothing outstays its welcome or needlessly lingers- there is a great eye for concision and economy. The incredible songwriting puts the choruses up top- the insatiable codas are some of the most distinct and memorable I have heard. Lyrics do not always tread on ground of sorrow and depression; there is enough uplift and positivity to balance emotions out- few bands take the trouble to consider this. Production values are incredible throughout. Polished and gleaming, the E.P. has an assured and professional feel- yet the songs sound like they are live recordings. All of this leads to a terrific record that will unite Indie and Rock fans; pull in some new supporters- please existing fans. Showing a step forward and development, the boys have never sounded more confident and purposeful- this bodes well for their future. First kudos goes to Joel Burrows whose guitar work adds so much life and passion. Together with Dand, he manages to present so much story and evocativeness. Arpeggios range from rampantly intent to composed and melodic. Riffs go from Blues-soaked beauties to juggernaut assaults; plenty of rhythm and light is presented. Most bands do not show a similar range and sense of diversity; Burrows marks himself as one of the most fertile and ambitious guitarists around. Injecting so much urgency and weight to each song, he is an essential component. Andrew Murray (not the Scottish one) impressed me with his bass work. A lot of bands bury the bass down; relegate it to territory regard- make sure it solely drives songs forward. Murray adds melodicism, rhythm, power and personality- using his bass as an emotional weapon. When songs are finessed and demure, the bass is gentle but instructive; passionate and supportive. Heavier and anthemic moments are backed by stunningly evocative notes; those which not only create their own gravity- they steal the spotlight. Guiding his men forward, Murray makes sure he is one of the most distinct elements of the E.P. Lee Padgett is an incredibly fruitful and talented drummer. Powerful and primal, controlled and variegated, the performances (from Padgett) are consistently impressive and wonderful. Making sure he adds plenty of potency and gravitas to the music, the percussionist marks himself out as a serious talent- one with a big future. Pete Dand is the lead who manages to stand out as a great leader and central voice. His guitar work is consistently brilliant and evocative. Pairing with his axe-wielding brother, the duo splendidly unite and conspire- Dand shows a natural intuition and flair (for guitar). It is the vocals that stand out the most. Instilled with passion, potency and urgency, the performances are gripping and intense. Our hero is able to shift from a passionate and softer low to a rampant and euphoric high- the powerful moments are incredible. Although there are tones of Guy Garvey, Dand has his own individual sound and feel- a vocalist that makes every song come to life. Convincing and endlessly authoritative, the vocal performances resonate and linger in the mind- compel you to re-investigate tracks and moments. The entire band play tightly and with intuitive understanding; they are superbly bonded and assured- each player does a magnificent job.

I have spent a while looking back at The Exhibition- they are a band as evocative as their name. Their music has that eye-catching and attention-drawing quality- you just stand with others carefully studying the striking and gorgeous shades. There have been developments over the last few years; the boys have become more confident and assured- their music has retained its identity but become bigger and bolder. The band is not merely about power and electricity; when they allow their tones to calm and quell, they can be hugely effective- it seems they are possible of anything. Even as far back as 2010, critics noted how impressive the boys sounded- they were firing off all cylinders from the get-go. There are tonnes and depressive waves of ‘guitar bands’ playing out there- if they are to appeal to the general public, they need to offer something different. The Exhibition span genres and have serious intentions; their talent is irrefutable and crystallised- they plan on being around for years to come. With each new release comes new progressions and developments- the quartet are not content to trot out the same thing E.P. after E.P. The music runs from gorgeous tender to spine-achingly rushing; the lyrics introverted and dark- definitely instilled with heart and soul. It is the mixing of downbeat and uplifting (that makes the band so special). The Barnsley boys are restless and adventurous- keen to present as much deep emotion and engaging and hypnotic swagger. Commentators have noted how shape-shifting and unpredictable the boys are. One minute they are anthemic and fist-pumping- likely to inflame the mosh pit. The next, they take the lights down and draw you into their mind. All of this results in music of the highest calibre; that which implores you to listen again and pick songs apart- their new E.P. is a nuanced treasure that must be heard over and over. A tight four-track release means you are left wanting more- the band tease and entice the senses. Given their work ethic and rate, I would not be shocked if they released new material next year- we could certainly hear more from them. That gets me thinking about the band’s full potential- just where they could be headed. The silky and deep baritone vocals; layered guitars and crackling percussion demand greater consideration- maybe festival organisers should be looking at the boys of The Exhibition. When listening to Carry to the End, I was struck by the strength of the songs- they have a great live feel in addition to professionalism. Each number has a nakedness and open sound; you imagine yourself sitting with the guys- listening to them up close and personal. The rushing and pulsating moments implore you to kick your feet and rouse your body- the kind of thing the festival crowds would eat up. A lot of festival bands tend to be point-and-squirt noise-makers- the sophisticated and detailed sound (of The Exhibition) is an anomalous distinction. With new album releases from the likes of Royal Blood and Dry the River (coming on Monday), the diversity and quality of mainstream bands is still impressive- I feel The Exhibition incorporate the best of both those bands. Possessed of Royal Blood’s catchy and magic heaviness- the Brighton duo borrow from the likes of Led Zeppelin and The White Stripes- as The Guardian put it, that kind of debt can be written-off if the music is enjoyable. Dry the River are intelligent masters of swooning and orchestral beauty; tremulous vocals and anthemic grace. These two bands have huge reputations- it makes me wonder whether the Barnsley boys can rise to their heights? On the evidence of their E.P., they look like serious contenders. Pummel, weight and smash spars with tenderness, soulfulness and spine-tingle- just the qualities the modern consumer demands. With the proliferation of generic Indie bands failing to die down, we should be embracing the likes of The Exhibition- a group that offer something new and exciting. I shall leave you all with a small point: the music of northern England. Still ruling the roost and leading the way, it is profound how many tremendous musicians are coming through (from here)- every week a new gem is uncovered. With the Barnsley lads stamping out their finest work, the next few years will be very busy and prosperous- ensure you do not miss out on their music. Take a listen to Carry to the End (and see what all the fuss is about). There is a world waiting for them; thousands of new fans to seduce- a multitude of possible avenues. I know many bands and people who would unquestionable support The Exhibition and their desires…

LET’S hope they get onto Twitter soon.

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Track Review: The Emsee- Rap Squared

The Emsee

Rap Squared


Rap Squared is available at:

7th August, 2014

Mathew ‘The Emsee’ Cathcart



Rap, Hip-Hop

The Canadian Rap/Hip-Hop star is one of the fastest-rising talents (in his country). The Emsee is a whip-smart, witty, striking and homo novus force- Rap Squared packs an incredible amount of punch. Instilled with humour, harsh truths and sharp put-downs- it is a song that demands your attention


IT is a well-hearalded belief that the bands and heavier-sounding music…

equates to glory and profitability. This type of music- and market- seems to be evolving into border-line monopolistic rulership- solo acts and rarer genres are getting pushed back a bit. I tend to find that the band market- Indie and Rock sounds- can be quite hit-and-miss. To be fair, the solo market provides no great quality control- the best moments tend to be more interesting and unique. Over the previous months, I have assessed everything from Little Sparrow’s heartbreaking Folk movements; the Hip-Hop/Spoken Word parables of RKZ- plenty of North American talent too (such as Clara Engel). The bands- that are out there- are pretty adept at stirring the soul; whipping up some energetic and uplifting sounds- less competent when broadening their horizons into sharper and softer avenues. I want to raise a couple of points today: the first one revolves around solo artists (and their craft). I find a lot of the most intriguing and fascinating stories- with regards background- can be found in the solo market; the artists here have a great sense of range and innovation. Over the last weeks- U.K.-based artists- the likes of FKA twigs and La Roux have provided two distinct (and equally mesmeric) takes on the form- different and scintillating albums of Electro.-Pop brilliance. The former’s Bjork-inspired vocals mix inside compositions that are far from obsequious: they rebel and tantilize; slither and hypnotise- LP1 is one of the most vibrant albums of the month. La Roux provides something less dark and heavy; her elliptical- yet punchy- songs are upbeat and catchy; instilled with heartache and confessions- Trouble in Paradise is a startling statement of intent. Aside from the Electro.-Pop queens, distinct and innovative artists like Imogen Heap are coming through strong- it is startling just how much variation and wonder is coming out. Being a huge devotee of bands, I am finding myself more entranced and hooked to the lone stars- the fervent and stunning acts trying to make their voices heard. What I do tend to find- when it comes to new solo artists- is that their personality shines more. It may be an over-generalisation; it seems bands are less adept at seducing (in quite the same way). One of the reasons (for my theory) is acts such as The Emsee- a Rap/Hip-Hop act hailing from Canada. That nation is once more showing just how imaginative and stunning (it is)- the diversity and quality being offered (by Canada) is beyond anything else. I am impressed by what the U.K. provides music- Canada seems to be on a different plain. Hip-Hop and Rap artists are offering up a lot of treasure and talent- having reviewed our own RKZ recently, the genres are wonderfully glistening. Edge, poetry, passion and anger can be found (in Hip-Hop and Rap); the voices and songbooks- the acts are showcasing- are more striking and sensational. Before I mention my second point, let me introduce my featured artist:

Inch by inch, The Emsee is emerging from beneath the surface. Under heard, not underground, he’s only scratched the surface of his story to this point. And that’s why, even after reaching the final 12 of Canada’s Got Talent and a slot on City TV’s New Years Eve Bash, he’s looking at the days ahead as his biggest test – and opportunity. Spending long hours at his factory day job fuels his musical efforts financially and affords The Emsee endless time inside his own mind to explore his music’s meaning and direction. The Emsee fearlessly carries an all or nothing confidence in his art, one that doesn’t depend on co-signs or chart success. With little help or resources, he also has become his own in-house producer, which means he need not depend on any outside resources to fulfill his ambitions in rap. The Emsee first threw his hat in the ring with his first demo-experimental LP Reality Check in 2009. In 2010, he landed himself a Classified-produced single called “The Life I Love.” The #1 vote getter in a contest to see who could create the best remake of Classified’s song “Trouble,” he gained his first major moment of recognition. The song would go on to be his album’s title track with The Life I Love LP arriving late 2010. Riding the wave of the Classified-produced single, the album achieved local recognition with a nomination for the Hamilton Music Awards’ Best Hip Hop Album of the Year. It also marked The Emsee’s first full length project over original production and put him on a path to opening for D12, Royce Da 5’9, Danny Fernandez, The Envy, Jahvon Paris & Peter Jackson. At the heart of it, The Emsee is uniquely no-nonsense in his approach to music. His success rests on his own definitions and reflects an intense sense of self-worth. He almost prefers to be counted out, because he knows he’s got the goods to show any doubters he can really spit. It was this drive that landed The Emsee on Canada’s Got Talent and a coveted spot on CityTV’s New Year’s Eve Bash. Following these career milestones, The Emsee released “Cold Hearted,” a fierce ode to a seasonal lover. The self-produced song leads the way in a flurry of new singles that will lead the way to his next album. The Emsee is the humblest rapper that you can’t touch on the mic. He’s the unassuming figure in the corner who jumps on stage and drops jaws. Watch him drop yours.

Before I move into reviewing- the music of The Emsee- I will raise one point: the genres of Rap and Hip-Hop. When it comes to mainstream examples- the likes of Kanye West and Eminem- they get plenty of exposure and appreciation- the newcomers tend to be relegated to niche considerations. For every act (such as The Emsee), there seems to be a multitude of bands- it is the latter that gets the biggest acclaim and exposure. A lot of music listeners and fans turn their noses up (at Rap and Hip-Hop)- declaring it too angry, violent and non-musical. If you overcome any prejudice and shortsightedness, then you can uncover a lot. The genres possess such a rich amount of poetry and music innovation; spectacular intentions and wonderful moments- do not overlook them! The Emsee is gaining some heady praise and appreciation- his unique and special sounds are gaining headway. The fact that our hero works a factory job; produces music on the side almost- shows just how determined he is. It is always impressive when an act can mix a day job (with their dreams and ambitions)- do both and have true and high ambitions. That is what music is all about, really- mixing the workaday and extraordinary; making sure you never lose focus on your true love. I hope that The Emsee will pull in the big bucks (soon enough)- is able to dedicate his entire time to his cause- and pour all his energies into the pursuit of musical gold. Having produced such a huge body of past work- I shall investigate a few past tracks later- he is one of the most prolific and hard-working musicians around. With each new song and movement, the young Canadian grows in confidence and intention- Rap Squared shows just how exceptional (he is). The story of young-artist-works-hard-struggles-to-make-dreams-come-true has been played out on the silver screen (countless times)- rarely do the stories compel and grip you. In real life, there are plenty of acts that are in this predicament- they put their heart and body into making their names heard. The Emsee is going to have a big future for sure- the reviews coming in (for Rap Squared) show universal critical acclaim. Aside from appearing on Canada’s version of Britain’s Got Talent (perhaps a minus there; shan’t hold it against), our hero is a truly credible and worthy artist- someone who wants to hit the big time. The amount of passion he puts into his music is only topped by his raw talent and individuality- his music combines witticisms, stunningly tight lyrics and exceptional vocal flair. If you are more inclined to fester your attentions (in the direction of Pop and Rock; its sub-genres too) then you miss out on so much- narrow-mindedness can rob you of so much pleasure. Up until a year ago, I had not heard of Kate Tempest, RKZ and Fola- some of the U.K.’s best and brightest Rap stars. Few critics and reviewers- based here- take the trouble to proffer and promote International Rap/Hip-Hop talent- that needs to change. Were it not for my role (as a music reviewer), then I may have missed out (on The Emsee). Without further ado, let me get down to business…

There are few acts one can directly reference (with regards The Emsee). Although the Canadian is a Rap artist, his voice and singular visions are tough to draw with any other act- there are a few that come to mind. Perhaps one of the most relevant like-minded acts is Eminem. There are two Eminem albums I can mention- that could have inspired The Emsee. Whilst not possessed of its horror and overt violence, The Marshall Mathers L.P. has embers in Rap Squared. If you look back at the Canadian’s work, you can detect that comparable assault and directness- the passion and fervency (of the words). The intense visions of Rap’s self-consciousness; the lyrical genius- all of Eminem’s early-career highlights are all there. Our hero has the same talent for words; the innate ability to project vivid and startling stories- grip the listener with his candid and assault rifle vocals. The Emsee critiques malevolent aspects of contemporary culture- like Eminem- and shows emotional complexity and compositional depth. On his first L.P., Eminem lacked the depth and musical quality- that synonymised his latter works- on The Marshall Mathers L.P. he hit his peak. Like the U.S. legend, The Emsee has a mixture of personality traits: the good-hearted warmth, the dangerous vengeance; that thoughtfulness and wit- the bait-and-switch double-bluffs. The Emsee’s current mandate is a pathology of the personal and sociological- he does not limit his attentions to self-absorption and restricted anger. Encompassing a wide range of concerns and topics, Rap Squared has all the cinematic and compelling qualities (seen through Eminem’s 2000 work). Critic-proof and dangerous; startling and stunning; the transgressive humour and verbal badinage is breathtaking- Rap Squared is a giddy and undeniable slice of gold. Although homophobia and sexiest violence is de rigeur in the modern Rap environment- The Emsee steps aside from these tendencies to showcase something much smarter and less discriminating. The ruptured psyche glimpses and rampant humour stood side-by-side- on The Marshall Mathers L.P.– the mix of reality and surreal confounded critics. The Emsee blends similar considerations and aspects (together). Boasting tremendous production values, Rap Squared sees liquid notes, stuttering beats and stunning soundscapes (give the song) a heady and atmospheric quality. The way Eminem stood aside from his peers- on this album- has inspired The Emsee (he stands in his own world); one of the most truthful and relatable rappers around. The Eminem Show is another album (from the rapper) you can see in Rap Squared– in addition to The Emsee’s previous body of work. Eminem’s third album saw the star become bolder, bigger, funnier and more entertaining- the same distinctions one can apply to The Emsee’s latest offering. Similarly stylish, dense, catchy and mature- our hero is on a similar upward climb. The Emsee’s dizzying prowess and dazzling individuality confirms what a mixture of soul-wracked and ambitious fighter (we have in our midst)- he seems like a worthy successor to Eminem’s fading crown. The Eminem Show rapped and flowed naturally and without restriction; it was a holding pattern (albeit a glorious one) where the MC skills were augmented and solidified- Eminem marked himself as one of the greatest MCs of our generation. The undercurrents of discontentment and political anger lingered (in The Eminem Show)- The Emsee injects a little of that; he directs his anger towards youth, his so-called ‘peers’ and the modern life state- delivered with the same impactful swagger and accusation. One more Rap name I will mention is Kanye West. While not displaying the same vocal sound and style (as West), The Emsee covers similar topics and ground. If you consider My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy– that album looked at consumer culture, celebrity excess, self-aggrandisement and meditations on fame. Although West’s career masterpiece was defined by its gaudiness and no-hold-barred bad taste- it remains a grandiose and spellbinding musical extravaganza. The Cubist projects- where form, colour and subject were reformed and rearranged to present new and daring visions- combined adept and diverse elements; all lavishly employed and presented. The maximalist takes on East Coast rap impressed critics; My Beautiful‘ was a work that pulled together all West’s promise- the pathological allegiance to emotional bareness was one of the high-points. The Emsee has a similar nakedness and defined quality; he presents a comparably grand sense of occasion and potency- Rap Squared hints at a (future album that) could be as mesmeric as My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Beastie Boys are an act that draw in Rap and Hip-Hop sounds (of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s)- a consistently inspiring act that have never produced a weak album. If I were to select one of their albums- to compare with The Emsee’s work- that would be Paul’s Boutique. This may seem a little over-the-top- as this album remains one of the finest ever- yet there are similar shades and colours. Beastie Boys are synonymous with their party atmospheres and celebration of life- the bragging bullcrap and clever-as-shit lines. The Emsee- in previous work- has produced literal-minded samples and stark beats- on his current offering he instills some of Paul’s Boutique‘s most notable facets. Instead of criminalising and boasting (without limitations), The Emsee castrates the competition- casts himself as a truth-telling poet of the age; dispelling well-held truths (that many young and naive listeners hold firm). The high-speed volubility- Beastie Boys perfected- comes through on Rap Squared– it is a tornado of imagery and clever-clever middle-finger salutes. Beastie Boys alienated some critics- when their masterpiece was unveiled- as it is a dense and packed listen- so much information is thrown in. Gaining huge retrospective acclaim, the L.P. stands as a brash recontextualisaton of the familiar; a full-bodied representation of rich and startling characters- Schadenfreude and earnestness traded poker hands. The Emsee does not sample and cross-splice like the U.S. giants- he keeps his voice and style more linear and focused. That said, this focus and concentration means his words and voice are up top- less emphasis is put on soundscapes and musical collages. Fusing scintillating electronics (and beats) with staccato missives, his work is a thing of joy- incorporating plenty of incontrovertible truths and thoughts. It is difficult to draw The Emsee with anyone else- perhaps Eminem is the most relevant influence; the two differ in terms of their styles and lyrical themes. In that sense, the Canadian comes across as a natural breath of air- he is not committee-born (and a synthetic music hybrid). Perhaps his appearance on Canada’s Got Talent was a little remiss, yet his ambitions and desires for success should be applauded- he is more concerned with respect and just-reward; as opposed to fame (the only reason most people would appear on talent shows). Rap Squared is stronger than any previous offerings; a stunning new slice (that promises a great future)- a song that everyone needs to hear.

When looking back at the work of The Emsee- that is quite a Herculean task. Having produced so much work, I am looking back at seven particular tracks- to show how much he has developed and evolved. When listening to his tracks, you find yourself writing lyrics and trying to rhyme along- I am more Vanilla Ice by comparison. Every track is so stunning and vibrant- it is hard selecting a choice few. Looking back at his album Empty Promises (released in September of last year) you will hear what I mean- it is an album packed with genius lines and incredible tracks. The Warning is a clarion call and shout to the world. The rumbling beginnings are shockwaves- that threaten a huge score on the Richter Scale. The song builds like a storm; buzzing and fast-flowing electronics beckon the song forward. Synths. and ’80s-inspired sounds blend with sirens and dangerous promises- the scents of the street is distilled and collected in a jar. Our hero is watching from the outside; seeing the curious specimens within- the song is a big and atmospheric wonder. Fast-flowing and spat raps collide with intelligent and nuanced lines- The Emsee goes over the heads of most. Imbued with a natural-born and intuitive (flair for words), he supersedes his peers- there are bold proclamations (and a sense of cockiness). Not willing to dumb himself down- for Harry and Lloyd (of Dumb and Dumber)- the maverick Canadian is leading a rebellion- presenting sharper and smarter suits. The witticisms and sharp deliveries have an air of Eminem- you can hear a similar tone in the vocal projection. There is scant profanity and violence- our hero is endlessly urgent and smart throughout. The tables are turning; acclaim is coming his way- our man is rebelling against the lows and losers of Pop. He is no Shakira or Shania Twain- this cat has claws and teeth. Savaging the competition; the song introduces aliens and the supernatural- a myriad of images and scenes are thrown into the mix. Fifty Percent starts with backwards samples and female vocals. It is a slow presentation but one that is alert and alive-The Emsee has some thoughts to get out. With some terrifically assured and innovative sampling, the song is intent and adventurous- the vocals are haunting and gripping. Wordlessness and ethereal motions linger in the backdrop; our hero is bold up-front. Hip-Hop hardness and jagged edges enforce their authority- the raps come thick and fast. Bullet-pointing the scenery- like a high-calibre assault rifle- the Canadian is a rebellious general- striking against the mainstream. It is impossible to not get caught in the multisyllabic wordplay and poetry; The Emsee has a fervent mind- a bit cocky; but he has a right to be! Wondering how anyone could resist (his inalienable charms), The Emsee is stronger than most out there- even when his tank is half-full. That braggadocio and masculine swagger does not come on too strong- like a harsh cologne- it is perfumed and potent. Once more presenting a tight and gripping drama, the song resonates and strikes hard- it is one you find yourself repeating time and time again. Cold Hearted leads with delicate xylophone- or electric piano- notations. Spoken Word embers blend with lullaby softness- the infantile and mature mingle alongside one another. Stuttering and zombified beats soon up the ante- the track’s tales of broken love start to come to the fore. Our hero has been left disappointed by his sweetheart; she has screwed him around (not in the good way) and left him angry and distant. Having bent over backwards for her (again, not in a good way) he is at the end of his tether; bereft and wracked- the words have urgent and passionate rage. Not over-played and yelled, The Emsee is showing his concerns and bruised soul- he has not been appreciated or respected. The child-like and razor-sharp weave inside one another (to create a deep and rich sound)- there is sensitivity among the harsh realities. Being clear of his disreputable beau, our hero has become a different man- someone untrusting and ravaged. Tensions rise and cracks form- his sweetheart is always late and unreliable; she is condescending and lacks empathy. Showing no romantic ethics, the parabond is beyond the point of reconciliation- the endless strife and burden keeps the song electrifying and insatiable. With so many other terrific tracks- on Empty Promises– his current L.P. is a career high-point. Perhaps getting the recognition he deserves, our hero has had to battle hard and long- The Life I Love showcased this overt annoyance and suffering. A dozen tracks of glistening gold, cuts such as This Is Me synonymised a young man (who has not gained due diligence and respect)- he wants to let the people know how much it irks him. Soothing and Electro. opening swathes- put me in mind of The Avalanches- there is a micro collage of sounds and kaleidoscopic sound fragments- they unify spectacularly to cook a rich and heady cuisine. The song crackles and builds; soft and punctuated beats show some restraint and level-headed consideration. The song looks at the love The Emsee has (for music)- he keeps his visions persistent and crisp. Determined to thrive and succeed, that emphatic energy comes through in the song- the words inspire the listener to pick up a pen. A myriad of startling lyrics are twisted and teases; split infinitives and vivid scenes sit with one another- it is a sharp and intelligent beauty. Our hero confesses he is an Mr. Average Joe- a normal guy trying to get his rightful acclaim. The stunningly tight rhythms and lines spiral out like gunfire- it is a determined and fast-flowing performance. Our man sits at home and perfects his style- his prefrontal cortex is freed in his menial day job- he may love it; I don’t want to stereotype and offend. The earnest and open tone draws you in; you start to side with our hero- why have so few latched onto his brilliant talent? Here For a While has an atmospheric and cinematic start- gorgeous strings shine like fireflies. Seth Rogen and broken necks are mentioned close to one another- a recurring dream of mine. The kids out there want to talk all proper and refined; they are idolising the awkward-rapping half-wits of the world- southern accents and hillbilly dopes are being dressed-down and derided. The cheap and facile are being exposed and accused- The Emsee is so much better than them. Feeling aggrieved and discriminated against, he wonders where his acclaim is- he wants to progress and develop. The new generation is failing- due to bad parenting- and need true leaders- the braggadocio that inflames the words makes everything stick. Vitriolic and immaculately conceived, the song is a weaponised assault- the ironclad mandate is one of the artist’s most compelling. Reality Check predates Empty Promises– you can see the development between albums. The lyrical themes change from incriminated and hard-done-by (here and on its successor) to confident and more fulfilled (on the latter). The early recordings are angry- they contain tales of injustice and heartbreak- our hero sounds more assured and safe in later works. Whilst the lyrics changed course and conjecture; the ambitions, compositional genius and lyrical brilliance did not change- they have been stunningly confident from the beginnings. Reality Check showed just what a terrific writer The Emsee is. Grand Entrance is as bold a proclamation (as its title). Electro.-Swing sway is sampled up top- grand and elegant, it is passionate and graceful. Hard and rushing; operatic and brash, the burnishing brass-infused waltz is a perfect starting-point. The raps blend magnificently (with the composition); both magnanimous and assured, the performance is electric. Our man doesn’t need swagger or guns- he has the ability and power contained within. The experimental sound reminds me of Beastie Boys and Massive Attack- the former is particular evident and emphatic. Ornate and libidinous lustfulness defines the sound- a tale that is filled with anger. His fellows around Hamilton, Ontario excluded him- due to his lack of jewelry and cliché Rap accoutrements- the indignity and annoyance is clear to hear. Heart Break sees female vocal swagger come into force- a sweet and tender starting position. The vocals here are calmer and soft; measured and honest- our hero is getting thoughts off of his chest. He prefers to sit at home and write poetry; not the sort to get drunk and start trouble- the chaste and dedicated music life is the one for him. The Emsee had no income as a youth; he was bitched at (by his dad) and confined- now he is all-in and emancipated. He wakes up in a cold sweat- it is no arrhythmia or illness; just the anxieties of ambition. Settling his nerves with writing, our man needs a lover behind him- in order to survive. Star Wars-scale vengeance is planned; congeniality is not on the horizon- our man means business. Rap Squared carries on the traditions- seen in previous releases. The vocabulary and sparkling poetry is up to the high standard- seen in previous work- but seems even more assured. The lyrics are witty and tight; the vocals as pressing and tantalising as ever- the quality is (some how) high still. Being such a phenomenal and assured act- from the start- you cannot improve too much; Rap Squared finds new inspiration and topics- our hero is at his wittiest and most quotable. Given the rate of progression, prolificness and quality; we will not only see a new album soon- it could well surpass his previous endeavours. As wise and astute as Yoda; direct and memorable as a hurricane; talented as Eminem and Beastie Boys- the young Canadian is destined for the halcyon regions of the mainstream.

A ghostly and pallid laugh opens up Rap Squared. (Sounding like it should have been delivered by Vincent Price- during Thriller) it sets up the curiosity and fascination. Spectral and distant electronic haunts melt with snatches of wordless vocals- the early mood is one of chill and atmosphere. Inside the creaking doors of the horror house, it leads to a Spoken Word sound. The vocal snatch sees a mathematician draw two columns (on a board). The left-hand column is marked ‘x’- the numbers 1-10 will run down it. As this experiment and formulation is being expanded upon, a tender and emotive piano line merges into the mix; the Classical-cum-Hip-Hop combination puts me in mind of Kanye West and Beastie Boys. Our hero shows great consideration and restrain- he does not launch in from the start (and pulverise the listener). The fascinating and well-considered early moments define the song’s title- a seminar and lecture that is meant to be instructive and educational. As the snippet comes to its end (the teacher/professor) states that the numbers will be “continuing indefinitely beyond 10.” As you try to wrap your head around the images and mathematics, a rude awakening occurs- The Emsee is keen to get to the mic. Delivering his words with a determined and steely-eyed drive, we look at some disreputable dude- a man who is cussing and disrespecting (the Canadian). The unnamed protagonist feels aggrieved (by The Emsee’s raps about Rap)- believing he “should scrap that.” Standing aside from his peers, our hero dedicates Rap Squared to the “hearing-impaired.” Its volumised and sonic intentions are expounded from the get-go; the delineation and projection is levied towards full emotional resonance- there are slight pauses and breaks between words; the pattern shifts and mutates to keep the song agile and confounding. The people want (our man) to rap about Rap; indeed, it is “Rap Squared“- a new form of song that is designed to mess with the brain. In the embryonic moments, a few things hit the ear. The underlying- and pugnacious beat- drives the song forward with intention and force- a tough and static punch that makes every word stand out. The lyrics have an air of sarcasm and humour to them; there is intention as well as discontent- the young master is defined by his original and true voice. Looking at lazy captains- that do not want to go to practise- our hero is satirising lazy and overpaid sports ‘heroes’- bone-idle false idols that gain too much praise (for playing games, essentially). The Emsee would rather write and rap; spend his time pursuing something more meaningful and impressive- the spitting witticisms come thick and fast. Aiming his attentions out at the world, our hero says (an anonymous “you“) preaches more than “the Roman Catholics“- you start to wonder whether the words are directed at the media, a friend; or else a sweetheart. In my mind, the messages are intended at the larger world- the media and large swathes of society. Our hyperactive-minded and busy-brained fighter is “in the same boat without a life jacket“- drifted in the Atlantic Ocean headed for an iceberg. The Emsee has heard they’re trying to save the woolly mammoth; he would be pissed if he didn’t get the chance to “body-slam it.” That crazy humour and gleeful fun comes out in the words; there is a wackiness- that is not juvenile- meaning you are gripped by the words- they are upbeat and witty; deep and meaningful. By mixing metaphors with literal outpourings, the words have greater depth and relevance. Our hero is on a quest for success and regency- he wants to rise above the competition (and stake his claim). The unmatched and unstoppable raps are being knocked out the park; The Emsee may have slipped-up (in the past) but is back and unstoppable- rapping and rhyming his arse off. Having Moonwalk-ed off the ark- once more displaying his multifarious imaginative witticisms- there is a huge confidence coming in- a boastfulness that makes the words endlessly gripping and intent. Showcasing some of Eminem’s vocal delivery and sounds, the Canadian ensures the song remains restless and evolving- the pace and speed changes and mutates; the beats expand and swell. The interchangeable and capricious minds are being slammed- the people who proclaim (The Emsee’s) raps; only to denounce them a second later. Not liking self-referencing and concentrated raps, it seems he cannot please anyone- the kids and bone-headed rubes would probably rather hear Lady GaGa or One Direction. While a lot of rappers seems confined to areas of gun violence, misogyny and excess wealth (bragging about it), our hero remains more relatable and grounded- presenting songs that are more personal and universal. This originality and flavour is being spat out and pooh-poohed. The catchy and ballistic chorus goes out (to those that are half-brained and uneducated)- those that are more used to the worst music has to offer. A preacher and sermon-teller, the juxtaposition of divinity and sarcasm makes Rap Squared a conflicted beast- you feel no matter how good the rhymes are, they will never please anyone. Having wrestled with demons (of acclaim and rightful recognition)- since his early days- The Emsee is still trying to win undecided voters- he has gained ground but is still having to electioneer hard. The “wannabe artists” are being slammed and denounced- he is a man playing in an arena of boys. When he turned up at a pissing contest, our hero shat on them- the micro-lengthened penile juveniles are being given a heavenly man-sized dose of crap. Defecating over the so-called ‘competition’, the witty and ice-cool razor-sharp cuts hit the mark- matching the headiest and most memorable lines from The Marshall Mathers L.P. The music industry- and the rapping game- is a business- our hero is the megalomania chief executive and monopolistic owner; no time for posers and wanna-get-a-boners (might need to sharpen my rapping rhymes!). Music is a business, in fact- the weak get fired and passed off; the strongest promoted- The Emsee has no time for the effete and ingenue losers (and cry-baby genuflectors). Whilst they rap about whiny-ass problems and narcissistic concerns, our man has a noble truth- he is the one that is leading the way. The other rappers need to listen up and take note; our hero has them by the throat- they should be in awe but seem seriously bored. Having had reservations “since my first show“, the disaffected star has some jaded edges- he is the king among a house of fools. The song’s relentless assault and energy keeps the emotions and urgency high- the storm that threatens (to drown the ark of endangered animals). Supervillians, serial killers and mega robots are traded into the atmosphere; our hero crafts his rhymes with killer precision- he is a robot-cum-stalker on the prowl. The discontent and disaffectedness hits the witty peak- around the about the 3:20 marker. Our hero would “rather be Phil Collins/Singing my roof is leaking…”- perhaps the song’s standout moment- and seems at his most angered. Previously, The Emsee has cast himself as a Megalodon and heretic- someone who does not back piousness and religion; a “vicious monster” that would rather go to dinner with Dorothy man-tooth. It seems our hero cannot win: speaking the truth will only “keep the youths sleeping.” When he is honest and pure, it does not get an audience and attention- they would rather hear rampant violence and gun-themed lyrics. More adoring of the knuckle-dragging hoe-slapping, skank-shagging puerile; our intelligent star has had enough- his formative years have been spent trying to convert the mindless. The youths would like to leave The Emsee “in a hole to die“- like The Dark Knight, he will rise and conquer. Our man approves of feedback and reviews- his sheathed tongue pounces like a ninja. Not meek or demurred, The Emsee has been honest since his first days- not willing to flaunt ego and hollow words. The incandescent and striking words leave their mark- as the song comes to a close- and the listener is taken aback. There is no one-upmanship and hobnobbing intention; our hero wants to get his rightful respect. Slamming the competition and young rappers, the song is a ballistic missile that hits its target- and leaves the landscape in tatters.

It is incredible to see how promising and strong The Emsee sounds. With each song he becomes more confident and assured- growing in intention and force. Being inspired by early-career Eminem, the rapping and lyrical content is of the highest order. The wit and humour mix seamlessly with spiked words- that melting of emotions makes Rap Squared such a treat. In so much as you will be quoting lines from the song- there are a dozen or so that rank among the best this year- you find yourself repeating the song- it is such a quick and relentless rush, you need time to take it in. The production is clear and concise; it allows all the various components to shine and unite- everything comes through with stark concision and depth. The beats are crisp and fighting; driving the song forward they melt with fluid and flowing electronics- the composition is a rich and sparkling slam. Keeping the instrumental elements to a minimum, the emphasis is on the vocal itself- making sure the words do not get buried or overcrowded. Whereas the likes of Kanye West will throw horns, orchestras and sampling into his songs- making them ostentatious and slightly vulgar- The Emsee strips his song to its bare-breasted best; allowing its stunning body to mesmerise- the chintzy and gaudy bling has been thrown away; the jewels and ceremonial accoutrements dispensed of. Mathew Cathcart’s alias and alter-ego is leading a brave and noble charge- standing himself aside from the lightweight peers. Only the likes of Eminem provide any real competition- I have not seen any other rapper that comes close. In a music industry- where there are too many Philistines and posers- it is refreshing to hear the likes of The Emsee- someone determined to play for years to come. Our hero is one of the finest lyricists in the world- there are few artists as consistent and detailed. His lyrics do not stick to the same themes and tired clichés; the Canadian stretches his imagination and thoughts- you can tell how much effort and time has been put into his work. Most artists lazily scribble lines (on the back of beer mats)- The Emsee is an act that dedicates evenings to note-taking and fervent scripture. A lot of rappers conjugate the form- and mangle its essence- whereas our hero has a pure and unique sound. He does not vacillate and loquaciously wander- his concise and detailed projections are stunningly direct. The vocal deliveries are weighed with emotion, urgency and anger- he never explodes or wails on the mic. The dedicated vocalisations mean songs like Rap Squared are nuanced and highly addictive opiates- that which should unite and galvanise the balkanised masses. Rap Squared rallies against the contemporaries- who offer little but erratic and infantile rhymes- and their ilk; the gentile whining of vagrant minds. Displaying an incredible blend of humour and intelligence, the lyrics are beautifully carved and detailed- each line is superbly realised and formulated. Not willing to placate critics and neigh-sayers, our hero is pissed at the unceremonious lack of respect (he has been given). Growing in critical regard, The Emsee still lacks necessary market share- the gods of music have cruelly overlooked his genius. All of this inequality and discrimination should change; the future will see our man rise to prominence- if more cuts like Rap Squared are produced, he will be a mainstream leader in no time. In no mood to pander to those who favour gun-loving, ghetto-minded rappers, our man stands apart- make sure you listen to every word he sings. I cannot wait for new music (from The Emsee): his past body of work has offered nothing but uniform excellence and prodigious intent. Rap Squared is one of the most direct and memorable songs of the year- the toniest gleam of a rough diamond. Imbued with intellect and off-kilter humour, few can ignore The Emsee- no-one compares..

I hope that the U.K.- and European- critics start to attune their sights to the likes of The Emsee. (In addition to Canada producing some of the world’s best new music) it is offering some of the most distinct- so many different genres are being considered and augmented. The Rap-cum-Hip-Hop blends of The Emsee are some of the finest out there; Rap Squared has humour, wit, tightness and focus- an aural assault of the highest order. It is worth looking back at the young Canadian’s past work- seeing how he has evolved and mutated. His direct and urgent songs are those that demand attention and closer regard- you know just how far our hero wants to go. He may be working in a factory at the moment; one suspects he will not have time to do so (in the next few years)- that call to the big leagues is sure to come (soon). North America is the most fertile and bold (music) continent in the world; leading the way with its plethora of stunning and brilliant artists. Rap and Hip-Hop is among the fast-growing and portentous market in all of music- providing a way to get away from bands and discover something different. The thing about new music, is that it is insanely competitive and tightly-packed- there is not much breathing room to be found. One of the ways- to separate the wheat from the chaff- is to go beyond your usual listening patterns- broaden your horizons and take chances. I love the wave of Indie and Rock bands coming through- among them waits the future kings and queens of music. The trouble is, there are multitudes of them: that doesn’t mean (this is the) music future is headed. For full prosperity and potential, there needs to be a blend and range; solo acts (British and international) need to be embraced- so that there isn’t homogenisation and narrowness. Taking this into consideration, you would be advised- all readers- to investigate The Emsee- at the very least, he provides something bracingly different and fresh. His lyrics and wordplay is tight and stunning; his vocal delivery is urgent and gripping- the music welcomes everyone in. A lot of Rap and Hip-Hop acts can come off as a bit impersonal and unfriendly- that is the same in every genre- but that is a generalisation- they are among the most friendly and open (of all musicians). Rap Squared made me smile and chuckle; its lyrics are vivacious and razor-sharp. With a flowing and insistent vocal projection (from The Emsee), it is a song that few should overlook. If you have cliché ideals of the Rap market- black guys spitting about hoes, guns, drugs, the ‘hood and equity capital (okay, not the last one!)- then you are in for a surprise- the modern-day Wildean lyrics confound expectations. I love a good song about bitches, messiah complexes and sticking it to the man (as much as the next guy); but yearn for something deeper and more inspired- the likes of The Emsee provide just that. Look around Rap and Hip-Hop (there is plenty) of wit and personality. There may be fewer bitchin’ guitar solos and rapturous drum beats- that can only be a good thing. The mind needs cleansing and enriching; something new in its diet- irrefutable spine-tingle and unexpected joy. Make sure you follow Rap Squared and its stunning equations; the math really adds up- tortured puns aside, it is a thrill-ride that begs for communal love. Our hero is surely planning E.P.s and albums- pulling ideas from his brain and setting his sights high. Capable of covering a spectrum of emotional and sonic ground, the startling Canadian is extolling the virtues of originality- he is one of the most distinct and passionate musicians about. I will leave you with a pithy bon mot: that which looks at 2015. This week- in the mainsteam- there has been a grab-bag of mixed offerings- from the dodgy and mediocre (Twin Atlantic and The Gaslight Anthem) to the incontrovertibly assured (The Magic Numbers). I have sighed somewhat- nothing has been released I would rush out to buy. Next week shows a complete about-face- both Royal Blood and Dry the River release new albums. From Brighton-based Rock swagger to East London-based Folk grace, I could not be more excited. New music has that same imbalance and unpredictability: some weeks stunning acts come out; the next there is bugger all. You can always rely on diversity- few acts are boring and flaccid. When looking around at new music- and who will be in the critical mindset- there is going to be a mixture: a few new bands; Electro.-Pop artists; Soul and Pop soloists- in addition to a couple of Rap acts. I am wholly confident The Emsee will gain some momentum and foothold- make his way into the mainstream’s spotlight. It may take a few more years, but it is definitely coming- few musicians have such a determination and will to succeed. Let yourself get in touch with Rap Squared– and all of its gleaming moments- and keep your eyes trained on the Canadian. While he toils and works his arse off (in the factory)- as we speak actually- I am sure he is fantasising about music; dreaming lyrics and conspiring- the young man is on a roll; making songs summa cum laude. Put down your Arctic Monkeys and The 1975; pick up something new and different- that which inspires the mind. When it comes to inspiring

FEW do it (quite the same way) as The Emsee.

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E.P. Review: Kobadelta- Remain Distracted


Remain Distracted


Remain Distracted EP cover art

Remain Distracted is available at:

They Can’t Hurt Me9.7
The Heretic9.8

The Heretic

26th September, 2014

First Avenue Studios, Newcastle by David Curle (August 2014)

The Star & Shadow Cinema in Newcastle (with support from Goy Boy McIlroy, Schultz and Wake)

Blues-Rock, Experimental, Indie, Psychedelia


Having been celebrated (for their past endeavours) the mesmeric Newcastle quintet return with Stay Distracted. Kobadelta employ colours of The Doors, Arctic Monkeys and Black Sabbath (into their bubbling cauldron). Staggeringly tight and divine; their latest work is something you will not forget in a hurry- do not miss out on it

AS work commitments and sapping energy takes a hold…

I am almost nearing the end of my reviewing lifespan. It is good appraising bands and artists, but ‘real life’ is beckoning and pulling me forth. Writing anywhere up to 35,000 words a week, I am getting a little fatigued- need a bit of time to go and record my own music; set up businesses and train my thoughts wider. One of the great things about reviewing new music is finding sounds that otherwise would not come to my ears- my featured band have offered me the chance to discover something bracing and truly memorable. Before I introduce them to you, I want to raise one point: sound and intention. When searching around (and documenting) sapling music, you get a mixed bag of sounds- some acts are vibrant and daring; a lot tend to vary in quality. It is not the case that heavy and hard rushes create the biggest results- far from it. Even though bands like Bi:Lingual and Allusondrugs have given me the chance (to survey two of the most scintillating acts in the U.K.), I always look for deep and diverse movements; acts that spend as much time as possible galvanising their music. The aforementioned groups achieved this; they did not just lazily throw some notes together- they are bands that take the time to create gold-dust. Whether it is an interesting riff; the employment of classical strings; something a little unexpected- making sure your songs are as full and intriguing as possible is a paramount concern. I see too many musicians- come out- that are far too flimsy and lacking- their music does not hit all the bases (and truly stick in the mind). The very best music of 2014 has been defined by adventurousness, intelligence and consideration- so many truly terrific moments have come through. From the likes of Little Sparrow’s haunting and Kate Bush-esque etherealness (to Gypsyfinger’s Folk tenderness), the softer and gentler side of music has revealed some glistening diamonds. When it comes to the middle of the range- that mix of quiet and loud- then plenty of greats have come through- warriors of sound like Allusondrugs and Knuckle have stuck in my imagination. It is impossible to document (and give tribute to all) of the great new music highs, yet the abiding point remains this: the most prosperous and challenging acts are those that dig deeper and pack a huge punch. Having spent a lot of time investigating Electro.-Pop and Pop moments- over the last few reviews- I have been exposed to some elliptical and uplifting swells; music that is designed to invigorate and make you think. My featured act is a band that present plenty of beauty and lighter moments; their force and power is what sticks in the mind- something that grips and intrigues the brain. Before I continue on- and raise another couple of points- I will introduce the band to you:

Dom Noble – Vocals
Alex Malliris – Guitar
Chris Malliris – Drums
Jonathan Marley – Bass
Jordan Robson – Synths

Newcastle based five-piece dabbling in dark and heavy ‘indie-psych-rock’… Having recently supported the likes of Temples, Splashh and Superfood, we’ve been described as “one of the finest live bands in the emerging psychedelic scene” (NARC. Magazine)

Kobadelta have a huge reputation in the live arena- many have stated how incredible they really are. Containing some mystery and curiosity- they do not give much information about their influences and background- the listener is left to draw conclusions. Many musicians leave their social media pages sparse- thinking that transparency eradicates the mystery and purity of their music. It is true to a certain extent; it is always nice to learn as much about an act as possible- it gives the listener a complete picture and shows a personal touch; demonstrates how much that act want to connect with the listener. Full disclosure can come in more than one form- Kobadelta ensure they give plenty of eye-catching detail and information. Plenty of photos and images are free for the user- their social media spread is authoritative and detailed- you can hear and see a lot of the band across the Internet. Hailing from Newcastle, it is great to hear some music from the North East- an area of the U.K. I have not had a chance to explore too much. Being concentrated in Yorkshire and London- most of my reviews take my there- it is wonderful to head further north; explore an area I do not get to tread too much- Kobadelta are one of Newcastle’s most urgent and memorable bands. With the likes of Manchester and Liverpool having such a historic reputation, it seems that the North West gets a lot of the credit- and rightfully so. Yorkshire bands- as competitive as the North West- like Arctic Monkeys are rubbing shoulders with some of the best out there- few eyes look up to the North East. From legendary acts as diverse as Prefab Sprout (calling this area home) more critics and listeners should focus their mind here. When you explore certain regions, you can find some terrific things- Kobadelta have struck my ear and are a compelling proposition. Marrying Blues-Rock, Desert-Rock and Psychedelic together, they whip up some of the majesty of Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys- two of the most popular bands of the moment. If these bands’ latest albums have shown anything, it is that these genres can be mixed to spellbinding effect. Queens’ Like Clockwork… trades darkened crawls with epic riffs; tight and focused jams with sweeter introspection. Arctic’ created one of their finest L.P.s in AM– an album that sees them augment their talent for riffs; sharpen their craft and hit their peak. Before I get down to reviewing their music- and seeing who inspires them- it is worth seeing where they fit in the band market. Having gained such a huge reputation among critics and fans, it seems the Newcastle quintet are going to have a very busy and packed next year. They develop and grow with each release; pack their E.P.s with focus and phenomenal moments; take the listener into their world- not every band is capable of this. With so many mainstream bands starting to wane and waver, it seems that the likes of Kobadelta have the potential to claim some ground- take their place and nestle among their heroes. With regards the likes of Queens of the Stone Age- our boys are no lightweight equivalent. Packing an equivocal punch and strut, the young replacements have more energy and inspiration (than Homme)- they instill his Rated R/Songs for the Deaf regency in their latest offering. Too many new bands are provided a pompous amount of acclaim and support; elevated to unrealistic and stupid heights- they never achieve that sense of anticipation and regard. Kobadelta are the slinking and hard-working act that live up to the hype and positivity; they are serious contenders. With that all said, it is worth investigating the boys in more depth.

To get some background on Kobadelta, I have been listening to their early sounds. Their latest E.P.- The Hidden Door– was released back in February. Showcasing plenty of flair, passion and emotion, the E.P. resonated hard (with listeners and critics). Electric Chair was as sizzling as its title. Jumping and nervy at the start, the buzzed and blissed-out guitars investigate some Queens of the Stone Age’s Songs for the Deaf territory- bits of Arctic Monkeys’ darkness is in there. French words and blurred verbs hide in lyrics (that are constantly impressive and well-considered). Showcasing an economy and tightness, the track packs so much in- biblical judgement and commandments sit with byzantine offerings. The song’s heroine is cutting the wedding cake with “the hunting knife.” The band performances are focused and tight; every note and offering is honed and perfected- they allow looseness and fun to come through. Supernatural Cause began with some intent and striking percussion. Haunting and swirling, embers of Nick Cave and The Doors are seen; the cool-ass swagger that enters the fray (takes the song another direction)- dark and burbling undercurrents keep the song brooding and interchangeable. The ghosts of Tom Waits and Jim Morrison lurk in the vocals; seductive lip-licking matches graveled throbs and pulsations. Another song that matches it title, you are washed up in the spectral nature of the song; it grabs onto you and chills the bones- not a mordant number; it is a stone-cold chill that is designed to shiver the spine. The Hidden Door takes another course. Tribal and Celtic openings blend seafaring and swaying motions together; the vocal that enters has a rich croon- Morrison and Johnny Cash have an influence here. The Country embers are a nice touch (and show another side to the band)- they are adept in whatever genre they want to play. Paced and projected with a sense of calm and control, the song’s lyrics are scenic and vivid- the wordplay is deep, evocative and intelligent. Epic compositional developments augment the sense of occasion and build- graceful one moment; rushing the next. Love Stone Chic incorporated some touches of Kasabian, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Arctic Monkeys. What it provided was some razor-sharp and sizzling jams; slinking and snaking guitars- punchy and manful percussive utterances. The focus and determination are unequivocal; the stunningly teasing aspects make it one of the E.P.’s standout tracks- allure, sexiness and chic are hallmarks that few other bands can infuse. Not Above & Not Behind was a softer and gentler animal. An aching vocal turn gave the E.P. a rounded and full sound- the band do not just present harder and more Rock-influenced parables. Sensitive pride sparred with masculine urgency. Our hero’s possessed and emotive vocal looked at love and dedication- the heroine is someone who has done a lot for him. Having moulded and shaped his life; left her impressions, it seems that there is a sadness and longing here- maybe the relationship has ended; things are beyond repair. The devaluation and depreciation are evident and apparent- the song spares no time in getting under your skin. The shortest track on the E.P., it is a beautiful and still beauty- those tender acoustic guitar notes are wonderful. Knowing just what a force the band are now, it is because of works like The Hidden Door– a record that reveals new light and quality across repeated listens. The band’s first full work was Ritual (Time Flies). Unveiled back in 2013, it was the band’s first strike in the music world- something that made big impressions on reviewers. The influence of The Doors and Kasabian gave proceedings a crackle and vibrant sexuality; a leather jacket-clan coolness and strut. Chunky and huge riffs were part of a full sound and heaving bosom of sound- Blues-Psychedelia and bass-heavy rhythms sparred with Indie slices and Rock jams. Some of Michael Stipes’s Out of Time vocals- and songwriting nuance- showed itself here; the band came out with all guns blazing. Edgy and alert sounds hugged synths. and funky avenues. Time signatures switch and change- in the middle of tracks- with the listener kept alert and surprised; the cinematic and filmic grandeur struck critical ears. Many saw the release as a Tarantino soundtrack-in-waiting- something that would be perfect for one of his films. Sexy and fighting mixes with celebratory and partying- that ear and eye for atmosphere was established here. The quality and luster the band display impregnates the music- that set them up for their first E.P. Joining in unison some U.S. Blues-Rock flairs with classic acts- The Doors and Echo and the Bunnymen- the band were on form right from the start. I can see the development from their early work- the band have increased in stature and confidence. Although Ritual (Time Flies) was a stunning and incredible work, Kobadelta improved and flourished on its follow-up- the guys ratcheted the urgency and passion; made sure that few ears could ignore them. Over the last few months, the quintet have been working hard; putting together their movements and strategies- what Remain Distracted shows is that they get better with each new release. The new quartet of songs builds upon The Hidden Door and all it contained- those key elements and assured sounds remains. The band have gained fresh insight and influence; distilled this into their music and produced their finest work- a collection that will see bit results and profits. With this rate of progression and development, it means future releases are going to be staggering- few can match their evolution and potency.

Kobadelta themselves are influenced by a number of different acts and artists- whether directly or by name-check. In terms of the vocals, everyone from Al Jolson, Nas and Mark Lanegan (count as references). When surveying the overall sounds and style I am reminded of Queens of the Stone Age. If looking at a particular album- to reference with the band- I would say Songs for the Deaf is the most apt. In the same way that Songs for the Deaf was a genre-busting and startling Hard-Rock album; Kobadelta have a pioneering attitude and huge musical ambition- they can splice genres and create a wide range of sounds and movements. On Songs‘ the drumming is muscular and primal; the concept and production is innovative and a humourous. Kobadelta instill the same amount of imagination and power; they are musos that make music for the fondest music-lovers- detached from what is ‘expected’, they create songs that are the result of a deep passion (for their craft). There is a sense- with Kobadelta- you are listening to a ‘dream team.’ Like Queens of the Stone Age’s career-high line-up, you have the best and most striking talent on board- that comes through in their music. Thrilling, dramatic and odd moments are shared by both bands; the Newcastle quintet create a riot of sound and imagination- the quality and consistency throughout the E.P. is phenomenal high. When Q.O.T.S.A. unleashed …Like Clockwork, they presented something darker and more restrained. The album contained crunch and power; seduction was found in the darkness- making the songs such a treat. It is a focused and taut treat; an album that demands huge investigation- revealing charms and new surprises after several listens. There was a little desert sprawl and wandering; some of the hallmarks of their previous albums- new components came to play. Densely layered sounds, interwoven riffs and eerie sexiness sparred with one another; guitar fuzz and elastic soloing provided heady shades and heights- off of the back of a hard and struggling time for Josh Homme. Having been hospitalised- and subsequently bedridden- following complications from knee surgery, …Like Clockwork was the sound he found in the darkness- the inspiration that kept him going (and saved him). Kobadelta incorporate the key highlights and synonyms of that album; their sound has that elasticity and focus- they do not betray their identity; instead offer something new and inspired. Another band that come out in Kobadelta’s sound- one that is close to Queens of the Stone Age- is Arctic Monkeys. Looking around at an appropriate album- to draw in for comparison- would be AM. Imbued with elements of Queens of the Stone Age’s sound- Homme featured on the album; having produced its predecessor, Humbug- this album marked a high-point for the Sheffield band. AM drew inspiration from Rock titans and greats: some of the riffs featured could be compared to Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. The album was built on portentous beats and dark thrills- the combination of fun and seriousness provided a great contrast. Kobadelta match wistful Pop (and light) moments with muscular riffs; paranoid and haunted snatches come out in their current work. Huge craft and confidence defines their work- the same qualities that went into AM. Kobadelta instill maturity and focus into their music; meatier and compelling tracks- they do not forgo the frivolity and youthfulness (that defined Arctic Monkeys’ early work). Looking around at possible U.S. influences, The Doors (are a band that have compelled and enforced) Kobadelta. In terms of album comparisons, I would say The Doors is the most pertinent example. That disc launched the band’s intention; remains one of their finest work- it inspired a legion of other acts. That combination of Jazz, Blues, poetry and knockout blows took critics and fans by surprise- it is a debut that has rarely been matched. Spidery guitars, hypnotic backdrops and alluringly powerful vocals ran throughout The Doors– the nonstop melodicism and dynamic tension was hard to top. Kobadelta ensure they pack as much punch and intrigue into their music (not quite on the same plain) and draw in some of The Door’s early-career facets. The vocal performances from Dom Noble possess embers of Morrison’s velvet and sexual croon- that comparable lustre, power and raw edge. The Morrisson-esque Dionysia persona matched with stoned and immaculate moments- few can forget or ignore their debut album. Our Newcastle five-piece provide their own take of The Doors’ commingling of potency and seduction; this comes through evidently on Remain Distracted. Being a direct influence of the band, Black Sabbath are a name that came to mind (when listening to their latest offerings). If you look at a Sabbath album like Paranoid; that was one of the band’s finest early cuts. Within, the Visigoth rhythms and blissed-out riffs inspired bands like Nirvana and Metallica. At times it is soothing and seductive; for the most part it’s hypnotic and frightening- the album defined the Heavy-Metal revolution. Kobadelta rustle up incredible riffs, multi-sectioned songs and epic drama; the guitar vocabulary is incredible- the monolithic and steamroller power cannot be refuted. Whilst Kobadelta do not touch on the same depressive and dark themes of war, death and genocide; they employ some of the drugged and slowed-down hallucinations. The Stooges are another act that come out in Kobadelta’s sounds. If you take an album like Fun House– that remains one of the band’s finest works. The album contained raw and sweaty peaks; energetic and immediate songs; the vocal ferocity and potency sticks in the imagination. The guitar work that came out in that album- with the increased confidence and potential- is only topped by the captivating and scintillating vocals- the album remains one of their masterpieces. Kobadelta incorporate similar stab and sizzle; razor-sharp guitar work and electrifying vocal performances- that unite Punk, Rock and Blues together. The lyrics The Stooges penned displayed intensity and disquiet; the bass was played like a weapon of destruction- the focus and tightness of the entire band is startling. Kobadelta ensure their songs are possessed of vivid and evocative scenes; moments that draw you in (and stay in the mind). The Black Angels are a band that have made a mark on Kobadelta. The Directions to See a Ghost cemented The Black Angels’ reputation as one of best bands on the scene. The knowledge of Pop hooks and melodicism meant their epic jams and buzzing attacks had catchiness and dance-along charm. Their album contained plenty of ideas and directions; sounds that appeal to a multitude of listeners. Kobadelta ensure that their music is as rich and deep (as The Black Angels’); filling every moment with the same sense of occasion and potency. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club threw in guts, dynamism and aggression into Take Them On, On Your Own. That album contained swagger, cool and endless authority: the percussion brought the trio together with its power; the maturity and potency defined that album. Kobadelta have their own version of swagger and ice-cool looks; their music has that same confidence and ambition. The final duo of names (I will include) are Echo & the Bunnymen and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Porcupine was an album that brought Echo & the Bunnymen to a new audience: its brilliance and giddiness excited listeners and fans- impossibly exciting fusions of Rock and Pop were included. The intricate production touches; yearning and soaring vocals are qualities Kobadelta share- they possess similar driving bass and urgent drum work. Kobadelta share Echo & the Bunnymen’s knack of delivering great songs with a fun-time and emotive vocal force. The psycho-sexual vocal yelps- and Bowie-esque tics (that came out in Echo’s debut album, Crocodiles)- was backed by huge and swelling compositions. Spookily evocative gems sat with blinking hallucinations and primal vocal performances- taking inspiration from the likes of The Doors. The visceral and exciting moments of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ come out in Kobadelta’s work. The operatics, theatrics and dark croon- that compares with Nick Cave’s pipes- are mixed with overmodulations and near-explosion. To be fair, it is best to judge the band on their own merits. Usually- when writing this section- I can levy a band (or act) with others; write quite a hefty amount- not today, mind. Whether it is because of the bands listed- and the lack of critical feedback- I have struggled a bit. When reading reviews and feedback- on the artists mentioned above- there is so much brevity and scantness- it has been impossible to flesh it out and provide full clarity and conviction. It is true that the likes of The Doors and Queens the Stone Age have made big impressions; the U.K. greats like Echo & the Bunnymen have played a big part- Kobadelta do not come across as a re-appropriation or tribute band. You can sense birthmarks and skin grafts in their flesh; little hints and sensations- the sense of individuality (Kobadelta provide) marks them aside from their contemporaries. The best way to do the band justice; pay testament to their music is to get down to reviewing it…

When assessing the E.P., Kobadelta explained it in these terms:

The tracks are from our forthcoming EP ‘Remain Distracted’, which we will be launching on Friday 26th September at the Star & Shadow Cinema in Newcastle. Support will come from some of our favourite local bands including Goy Boy McIlroy, Schultz and Wake. ‘Repetition’ from the EP will is already available at as a free download. The CD version of the EP is available to pre-order at and will also be available on the night of the gig. We feel that the EP is the best representation yet of what we consider to be Kobadelta’s ‘sound’ after experimenting with a range of ideas on our last few releases. It comes on the back of what has been a great year for us so far, being chosen to play Newcastle’s Evolution Emerging festival as well as Stockton Weekender (with Happy Mondays and Public Enemy headlining) and Split Festival (with Maximo Park, The Cribs and Dizzee Rascal), and a live session for BBC Introducing. In the lead up to the gig we will be playing The Boiler Shop in Newcastle with The Temperance Movement on Sunday 31st August, and supporting Allusondrugs at Newcastle’s Think Tank on Sunday 14th September. The gig will also be used as the launch night for our singer Dominic Noble’s clothing and design label The Greensleeve (, whose artwork has featured on Kobadelta’s previous releases (including the new EP), as well as for other local bands such as Bernaccia. Described as ‘Supernatural visions projected in new technicolour’, Dominic creates collages from recycled vinyl record sleeves and will be making his work available as prints and a clothing range.”

Siam is the first track off the blocks- a song that gets to the races instantly. After a snatch of feedback and feline yowl, the band elicit a rampant and galloping introduction. The guitar and drum dueling reminds me of Queens of the Stone Age mixed with Arctic Monkeys- there is that dark undertone that is contrasted with elastic and upbeat power. The insatiable and catchy mandate is one that lodges straight in your mind: teasing and slinking, it propelled by a solid bass performance. The percussion crackles and smashes; the weaving and snaking electronics allure the senses- preparing you for what is to come. Our hero steps to the mark and is remaining distracted- his gears “are grinding“; there is a sense of anxiety in his voice. Buoyed by the rush and insistence of the composition, the vocal keeps the momentum flowing and endless. Our frontman felt compelled (to write his sweetheart) a letter- write down his confession and get it off of his chest. Instantly you bond with intrigue and mystery; speculate what is being documented and stated- that oblique and fascinated side comes out straight away. Throwing in humour, cocksure declaration and a sexy swagger, our man is like chocolate in a child’s pocket; the hottest thing “since records began“- that unbridled assurance and urgency is something Jim Morrison would be proud of. The next verse looks at footprints on the bonnet; the window is open and that curious nature augments- you picture scenes and wonder just what is happening. Unfolding like a dramatic mystery, the hero ensures his voice is endlessly arresting and compelling. Marshalled by a dizzying and tripping guitar weave; authoritative and composed bass drive and percussive tenderness- the song’s composition adds weight and colour to the main focal point. Proclaiming that “we are not so different“, our frontman seems to be speaking to a sweetheart- perhaps I am off the mark- due to the romantic nature of his delivery. Previously, words have looked as sonnets and requiems- how we put emotion and heart into these poetic realms. The following lines offer no ambiguity or room for misinterpretation. Words that implore (the girl) to get down on all-fours slither with lustful and hyper-sexual intent- the vocal drips with lust and lascivious chocolate. Our man is not short of confidence and pride: knowing how electrifying and gripping he is, you feel he is beckoning his woman into his web- the hunter is on the prowl and is crawling through the suburban streets. As he- and his gal- are the same behind closed doors, there is a sense of submission: maybe his sweetheart has been resisting; the elemental proclamations are designed to draw her in. As the listener becomes embroiled in the sensuality and raw edge of the delivery, the band elicit a fiery and sparkling coda. Unleashing a twisting and scintillating riff, the entire group unite in voice- each player is tight and fully focused. Incorporating buzz-saw Blues-Rock with Desert-Rock swagger, the line is intoxicating and gripping- a swirling mezzanine of colours and concrete. Languorous and reptilian, the snarling riff burrows into the brain. Towards the closing moments, our hero lets his voice climb and rise- repeating a mesmeric coda, it becomes more pressing with each delivery. Distracted with gears grinding, the desperation and feral rapture bursts through the speakers. Supported by a yowling and animalistic riff; a taut and menacing bass slink; that pummeling and insatiable drumming- you are gripped by the intensity and sweat-ridden passion of the finale. Leaving you breathless and fascinated, the sense assault is the perfect opening (on a wonderful E.P.). Repetition is a song that is a free download- subverts expectations from the very start. Primal and rampaging guitar determination gets the song off to a flyer- it is a Hard-Rock riff that ties in Black Sabbath and The Stooges. Gritty, violent and wide-eyed, it is filled with potential. Soon enough the percussion arrives to add catchiness and spring; when the instruments combine the song mutates into something springier and more bouncing- that hardness remains but the song gets fuller and gains swagger. Delirious and victus, our untamed hero is keen to get onto the microphone. Paying testament to the necessity of repetition, vivid and bayou-themed scenes are threaded forth. If you are gone swimming- a message directed at anonymous figures- then be weary of its moonlight dangers; the potential for fatality lingers. Our man apologies and offers demure- if he got “carried away“- words of self-destruction and reflection come to play- it seems a particular friend or love is being looked at. Someone that (our frontman) can always rely on, it seems like they are the leveled and measured head (our man needs). Like Siam, the track has a restless and incredible pace and potency- that never-ending kick and drive takes your mind away and wraps you up. With a vocal performance- that injects lustful passion with reverend tenderness- the band are in no mood to retreat in the shadows- infusing a myriad of multifairiousness and vibrancy. Dark and scorpion stings strike with roaring and lioness guitar swings- melting Q.O.T.S.A., Arctic Monkeys, The Stooges and Black Sabbath (into their boiling pot). With Brigitte Bardot and kaleidoscopes- being thrown into the lyrical mix- our hero spills his words with a breathless and unstoppable force- I am loathed to keep mentioning The Doors. As unique a snowflake (as the band are) it is impossible not to hear the gin-soaked ghost of The Lizard King. Not quite as overtly in flagrante as Morrison, our hero enthralls you with his bursting and sexualised lung power- you get lost in the tumble and gripping melodrama of the song. At times some of the words may get a little buried- some run into one another- but the emphasis is on mood and potency- the sheer passion and evocativeness that is summoned forth. The composition is an evolving and interchangeable beast. The time signature and pace shifts at one point; the song relents into exile- allowing something reflective and restrained to come into effect. From the animal instincts of before, there is a sense of measure and calm- that sound expands and cracks to allow fervency and pugnaciousness to swing in. As you are bedding-in and starting to predict, the band offer a brief pause- the song teases before bursting into life (once more). Evoking the shadiness, danger and beauty of the night-time streets, the band unify to kick the crap out of the senses; take your brain out of your head- strip the bones clean. The dying seconds go down fighting; the percussion rifles and avalanches; the guitar screams and bays for blood- the percussion hammers and staggers. Being entranced and sucked into the band’s vortex; the vocals are not done talking- repetition is repeated once more. Cleverly giving the song new meaning- repeating the song’s title gives the song essential life and memorability- were the song left on an aural close; you would not be as impressed and taken aback. Showcasing the necessity of lyrical economy and incredibly well-considered songwriting, it is a track that leaves with a big a bang (as it began). They Can’t Hurt Me starts with some incredible bass work. Bouncing and ripe, it reminds me of some of Songs for the Deaf‘s most intriguing moments; a little of Echo & the Bunnymen’s early work- it foreshadows a brief guitar rattle- displaying sounds of a Tarantino-directed Western-themed opera. The song’s hero returned from France; his lover “moved abroad“- it seems like a game of cat-and-mouse is unfolding. Crime scenes and criminal avenues are explored- the Tarantino predicament is reinforced- as the scenes unfold. Keeping the composition tight and focused- not allowing histrionics or needless energy- everything is tense and edgy. The sweetheart said “no to a bullet-proof vest“; the hero has a wire on his collar- that espionage-cum-assassin blend fuses in the scenic lyrical delivery. Showing vocal dexterity, our hero makes his voice sound emotive and urgent; culpable and innocent- a divine blend. The song looks at cartel infiltration; an appointment with the oracle- gang-land scenes and edge-of-your-seat butt-clenching tableau keeps you gripped and hooked. Throughout the track, you project images and unfoldings- provide your own version of events. In my mind, the duo are in France- not the first place you’d expect cartels to linger- as the song has a romantic and strangely Parisian sound. Among the moonlight and boulevards of twisted lovers, plots and plans are being formulated- the chase is on and the danger increasing. Our hero is indefatigable and heroic; a James Bond figure, he is indestructible. Making sure his self-assurance and confidence never wanes, the vocal delivery is impassioned and cocksure- never allowing arrogance or glibness to rule the roost. Perhaps looking outward- and casting himself out of the picture- we look at a hero that sleeps in the back of his limousine- in his pajamas he seems like a Brianstorm-esque anti-hero. Having gone from Australia to the Caribbean, the plot-line twists and evolves- the lyrics are sharp and fascinating. Displaying the same intelligence, wit and sense of story (the likes of Alex Turner possess), you are enveloped in the drama and theatrics. The vocal is one of the most entrancing, here. Going from a sensual and deliriously sexual smoothness; it mutates into something sharp and acerbic- sounding a little like Morrissey. Our frontman is deftly able to transmogrify from a chest-beating alpha to a Mancunian legend (in the space of a few seconds)- keeping his rock-solid personality in tact and firm. When the song’s heroine (or “bitch” as she’s described) failed to predict “anything at all“; that judgmental and accusatory tone is laced in- there is love and passion underneath. Whereas- on previous outings- gorgeous and emotive synths. have traded with brutal guitar work, here things are more evocative and Blues-infused. The guitars are not as snarling (as before); instead sensually swinging and licking its lips- matching the lyrics perfectly. Cinematic and atmospheric, the guiding and hardened bass sting conjoins with the rattling and bullet-fire percussion- the band pull together one of their most impressive and stunning performances. There seems to be a ménage à trois in place- a triangle of passion and deceit that is the root of the story. The heroine is loved by the hero; our hero loves her and all of this means neither (of the men) can be hurt- whether there is a sexual component to each relation I am unsure. The film explodes and contorts. That Doors-cum-Queens of the Stone Age melting of octane-pumping drama and sexual is enforced in the coda of “I love her/they can’t hurt me.” As the song starts its long fade, the scene has been set; the intentions laid bare- you hope that a satisfactory resolution was (arrived at). Following the assassin consignment- and anxious razor-wire nerves- the song completes its course- leaving you exhilarated and primed (for what is to come). Taking Remain Distracted to its close is The Heretic. The song opens up with intent and meaning- the soft percussionary shimmers have grace and urgency; possibility and wealth. Differing from the heavy and hot openings (of the previous cuts), here something more restrained and melodic is presented. Smooth and slinking, there is a teasing and f***-me sensuality to the introduction- the red-dressed, top-heavy, scarlett-lipped femme fatale is blowing smoke from the side of her mouth- teasing her finger around the rim of a Cosmopolitan. In the bar room, darkness and low-lit sensuousness of the night, the listener is hooked into the Blues-inspired embryonic moments. When our frontman comes to the mic., he possess all of his trademark directness and vitality. “Satanic on a Tuesday“; a heretic the rest of the week, his calendar and diary is laid bare- coming across as (supernatural) ritual potion of Craig David’s 7 Days and The Cure’s Friday I’m in Love (making me wonder whether David is shagged-out from all his exploits). The devil-may-care preacher is expounding his (lack of) virtues and faithfulness- his libidinous and inflamed loins have no time for religion, God or anything so vanilla. Throwing French temptation, wordless coos and flavoursome ingredients (into his cauldron of boiling lust), our hero is at his most playful and free- that confidence and assuredness has never sounded as defined and meaningful. Appropriately enough, a kick-ass, apocalyptic guitar buzz is ratcheted in- like a chainsaw through an oil refinery- blazing with vermilion passion, it is a mind-blowing and bowel-shiftng earthquake. Tossing in- and off to- the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Jimi Hendrix, it is a primeval and staggering sound- our band is in their element. The hero is looking at so-called good girls and innocents- the sort that turn tricks for favours; sell themselves readily: what sort of purity is there out there? Girls “flirt to make tips“: the vultures will circle in and take their chances. Employing a staccato and Hip-Hop-inspired delivery- the vocal trips and tumbles- you get mesmerised by the free-flow delivery; it gives the song a sexual nature- that tangible physicality is what makes the words stand out. Once more, the beauty and glory comes through in unity- the band performance is as tight and compelling as any. The loose and sybaritic hemisphere (of our hero’s brain) is being left to guide and implore- he is in his wheelhouse here. It is not just the lyrics and vocals (that catch your attentions)- with their vivid images and hypnotising allure- the composition is an equal match. Aside from the crunching and Tokyo-destroying Godzilla attack, there are psychedelic and drug-addled vibrating swaggers; deluded and trepidatious anxiety stings; colours mingle. The percussion is raw and alert; keeping the tension and rawness high- the bass drives and guides the movement. The entire ensemble is a magnificent cornucopia of sensations and sizzling fireworks- so many genres, movements and ideas are crammed in. Packing huge emotional clout, the snarling reptile keeps on hunting; never easing or resting. Becoming fatigued and overwhelmed (by his own insatiability), our hero’s voice loosens its grip- retreating into the shadows (briefly). Keeping the unpredictability and fascination levels high, the song returns to its sapling sound- that calmed and Western-flavoured twang. The strings twiddle and capture with unassailable desire. Teasing and muzzled, the parable is overthrown and obliterated (by a firestorm explosion of buzzing guitars); warfare of electricity- the satanic retribution reaches its heights. Topping anything- the likes of Kasabian and their ilk have produced- it is a stone-cold gem- the song is the band’s masterpiece swan-song. Just as you are begging for more, the track begins to fade- the listener is left wanting more; feeling reprimanded and stifled. It is a beautiful trick to pull: leaving the listener hungry and jonesing for more; having witnessed so much…

Before I get down to complimenting the band members (themselves), it is worth giving the E.P. a summing-up. My least two favourite words in the English language are ‘miracle’ and ‘journey’. The former is a tabloid-favourite word- that is installed into ever heart-bleeding cancer recoveries and against-the-odds conception. Every time a woman falls pregnant- when doctors said it was out of the question!- when a destructive and seemingly terminal cancer is overcome- that horribly over-used word is applied. It annoys me, because there are no such thing as miracles; people beat long odds all the time- there are thousands that die due to cancer; never able to have a child. Such an infantile and moronic word, the people (who use it) are ridiculously pretentious and arrogant humans- the assumption is that God is playing his hand. In addition to God not existing; if he did, you really think he would give a shit about someone’s pregnancy or cancer? Forgetting wars and mass murder, he would much rather make sure a middle-aged woman does not succumb to bowel cancer- forget the millions that die each year; let’s preserve this one unspecial and boring human. My rant aside, that word ignores the human elements; the role people play in (things like cancer recovery). I have seen the word ‘miracle’ applied to music before- using it in the pejorative sense; applying it in the context of Remain Distracted would be a huge injustice. God dislikes Rock and Blues; it is the Devil that jams to the best tunes (as we all know)- if there was an hell-bound synonym for ‘miracle’ then I would apply it here. Few bands come across with such a unabatable confidence and conviction- the E.P. is rampantly assured and urgent (from start to finish). The performances are uniformly tight and staggering; each player is at the top of their game- the songs are nuanced and hugely memorable. Possessing a quartet of tracks, the E.P. is a controlled and restrained animal; one that leaves you begging for more- whilst offering so much wonder and brilliance. Taking in the sexualised and spiritual mythology of The Doors; ramping in some feral Punk fuzz (of The Stooges); tie it to bone-shaking and pre-coital lust of Black Sabbath, and you have a phenomenal concoction. Kobadelta ensure that other bands take a back seat- are used as guides and jumping-off points- and ensure their voice and soul comes through- Remain Distracted is a distillation of their hard work, uniqueness and incomparable talent. My other least favourite word- in the whole wide world- is ‘journey.’ Fine when applied to a physical transversion; it infuriates me when applied to anything else- most commonly musical endeavours and relationships. It is nauseating and head-explodingly obnoxious when a an act claims an album (or record) is a ‘journey’- it is as pious, pompous and pathetic as you can imagine. A journey is a physical thing; applying it to metaphysical and emotional areas is horrifyingly obnoxious. That word is over-used- in this context- a cliché that should be eradicated. Away from the brainless profferings of musicians, love-struck goons and leprous celebrities, I will apply the word in a more literal sense: the way something can move you; from one location to another. Kobadelta not only take your mind around the world- here we go Down Under and to the Caribbean; through various streets, scenes and locations- from dark bars to bedroom sheets. Your brain, mind and bones are shifted and thrown about- detached from the body; the music is capable of lifting you off the ground in a fit of levity. Few musicians take the trouble to ensure their lyrics (and music) has an itinerant desire and sense of depth- too many come across as one-dimensional and obsessed (with love and relations). By mixing personal emotions with scenic and filmic atmosphere, the E.P. is a mini epic. It is time I get to the band themselves. Through the E.P. there is friendly fire- each player fights and muscles for attention. In addition to being a well-oiled and tight unit, each performer showcases their impeccable chops- stepping into the spotlight to gain hegemony and attention. The synth. utterances from Jordan Robson are the documentation and alliteration of early-days (The) Doors: the representation of the sexual and primal lust. Melodic, impassioned, dizzying and evocative, it is a vital soldier- one that manages to summon up a festival of mood and wonder. Combing brilliantly with his cohorts, Robson manages to inject heart, soul, flair and danger into the music- the songs would be weaker without it. Jonathan Marley’s bass has plenty of melody, rhythm and tautness- at times it stands alone and is left to overwhelm and impress. Tight, menacing and driving, it keeps the songs in-check and focused- never allowing the dam to break. Able to whip up a weight of sexual endeavour, exploitative anger- springing dance- it is a stunningly consistent and impressive performance. Ensuring every song resonates and sticks in the mind, the bass notes are relentlessly gripping and focused. Chris Malliris provides the whack, wallop and pummel (of an army of men)- at times he sounds like he has six arms! Able to calm and reflect, his sticks can burst into life with the drop of a hat- his range and professionalism is exquisite. Adept at seducing with ease; when rampant and enraged he is at his peak; down in the mix and guiding he is superb- you cannot fault the sheer passion and conviction throughout. Keeping the backbone straight and firm- at times bent over a kitchen table- the persuasion is one of the most striking facets (of the E.P.). Blending seamlessly with his cohorts, Malliris marks himself out as one of the most spellbinding drummers about. Alex ensures the name Malliris is synonymous with talent and genius- his guitar work is among the most staggering I have heard this year. It is hard to believe one man is making all that sound; his range and authority is evident. At times his fret work is enraptured and overcome- sounding biblical and apocalyptic. Plenty of melody, rhythm and composure comes to the fore- stunning and detailed riffs are as synonymous as calmed and emotive lines. Kudos goes to him and his craft- it will be great to hear more of it in the future. Comfortable and confident (when projecting a cocky and swaggering swing); elemental when riffing his nuts off; at ease in the smoky shadows of reflection- few guitarists have that mobility and sense of confidence. The final notes go to Dom Noble: the embodiment of the music itself. Were a lesser and weaker vocalist- that is most of them- put up front, you would get a weaker and less wondrous E.P. Comparisons have been levied towards the likes of Jim Morrison and Iggy Pop- I know that Noble is inspired by the likes of Al Jolson too. It is true that there is plenty of sexuality and primal urge throughout- you can detect that lustful spirit of Morrison. Iggy’s dog-like and jagged execration howls are relevant to Noble- he is capable of embodying the Punk leader with ample ease. As much as the likes of Alex Turner, Josh Homme and Tom Meighan (show their skins), the performances are defined by their individuality and originality- it is unfair to compare Noble with anyone else. Leading with conviction and authority, his performances are scintillating and gripping- the songs are brought to life spectacularly. All of these elements- the band contributions and considerations- have led to one of this year’s finest E.P.s. Having been staggered by the likes of Allusondrugs, Little Sparrow and Ellene Masri: I am always staggered by the range and breadth (of new music)- Kobadelta are one of the best new acts I have assessed all year. Let us all hope that they have plenty of ambitious plans ready for the future- the public will definitely crave more of their patented blend of song.

Kobadelta are a tight and mesmerising unit- determined to stamp their mark on the music world. It is the small things that impress me about the band. Their music is alive and gripping; endlessly mobile and surprising in its twisting moments- it creates a gravity of wallop (and lodges in your brain). Being familiar with their previous E.P.- and single- I can see how much the band have developed. Remain Distracted is an apt title- your thoughts and senses are taken and interrupted; the atmosphere and potency summoned forth is heady and compulsive- a collection that everyone should delve into. The band care a lot about fans and newcomers- their Facebook page has plenty of great photos and professional shots. One of my biggest gripes- when it comes the new acts- is the lack of information and photos. Kobadelta have ensured they have a wide range of outlets and pages- you have no excuse for missing out. Their snaps are not just candid and scrappy; there are lots of great portraits and images- it may sound like a minor point; few artists take the trouble to do this. Showing how much music means to them; how prepared and ready they are, all of this comes through in their songs- a mandate and gauntlet has been thrown down hard. I am sure they are already planning gigging ambitions and future songs; setting their sights high and making arrangements. Being heralded and celebrated throughout Newcastle and the North East, the five-piece have the potential to take their glory across the U.K. Being a fan of Psychedelia, Indie, Blues-Rock and these genres- any band that can add something new (to the forms) are canny and belta. The competition in music is high and endless; so many different artists are coming through- I feel Kobadelta will fare pretty well. The early days are vital quality barometers- they can hint at what the future holds. Make sure you investigate Remain Distracted and all it has to offer- catch the boys in the flesh and see just how good they are. When they come to London, I will be sure to grab a place in the audience; see whether their live reputation is well-founded- I have no doubt about that. Before I wrap up, I want to circle back to the North East. An area that seems to be secondary- in terms of acclaim- to Yorkshire, Manchester, London and Liverpool- it is high time more people start embracing the likes of Newcastle. Equality and fair division is the key to harmony and musical prosperity- getting a great mix of regions and artists together. The best way to seek out- and proffer- this is to keep your eyes on social media. It may be a bit useless when it comes to some people- unwilling to share music and connect with others- but is throwing out some terrific acts and newcomers. Kobadelta are going to keep grounded and leveled- not wanting to get ahead of things. If you are a fan of many of the bands mentioned in this review- and the genres- then you will find a lot to like; much to recommend- the band go deeper than this. Plenty of anthemtic and graceful touches sit in their music; they are confident when honing in on softer and more melodic emotions- they have a variegated and wide-ranging ammunition chest. As I start to prepare a valedictory statement- prefacing a sabbatical away from the day-to-day routine- I am looking towards my own endeavours; planning my first foray into music- excited but a little nervous. I know all too well just how unforgiving and capricious the music industry is- how it hails an artist the one week; spits them out the next. Our quintet should have no fears; I have been inspired by them- more determined to put my own sounds down and jump into the ball pit. The next few months will see autumn arrive; the chill come (and a subjugation of sunshine)- a lot of musicians are going to retreat to the studio (to find comfort through song). If you are thinking that way, I would offer this advice: make sure you have put as much thought into (your music) as possible. It is all very well putting covers up on YouTube etc., but when it comes to your own fully-realised output you have to start with a bang- there is no room for false starts and unsure mindsets. Kobadelta have had critics and reviewers go mad for their music; salivated outpourings have tried to sum up their essence and potential- some have gotten pretty close. Their sound is a Tarantino epic; it has all the sounds he would love- almost like he could write a move called Remain Distracted. The music plays like an itinerant movie; events unfold and stories paint some very vivid and excited swathes- that is just one side to them. Rampant and chest-beating moments of The Doors- in addition to their compositional majesty- fuses with some incredible bass work; the vocals are uniformly velvety and gripping- the band performances are tight and intuitive. Buzz has been surrounding the band like flies around a honey pot- there is no hyperbole or over-exaggerations. The quintet have a truly unique and unexpected sound- one that draws in some unexpected sources and moulds it around their own startling concoction of flavours. Hitting you like a spiked cocktail, the music is drunkening and head-spinning; it demands attention- quite a bitches brew. Perhaps other critics have assessed the band better- certainly more concisely- few would have taken as much away- the boys have managed to lift me a bit (and make me feel less crappy). Most music hits on a base level; it does not go skin-deep or penetrate too much. The band is synonymous with words like ‘penetrate’ and ‘sex’- if their songs had arms, they would probably stick them down your underwear. It is a sizzling cohabitation of layered and nuanced sounds (and incredible performances)- each band members is at the very top of their game. Displaying a keen ear for dialogue and wordplay, the boys are incredible songwriters- injecting the poetic, oblique and witty together. Having so much affection for U.S. acts, I would not be shocked if they found themselves in demand there- they seem natural-born to the charming bars and cafes of New York’s Lower East Side. As precise as a robotic hysterectomy; as mind-bending as Cheryl Fernandez-Versini speaking French (she needs to master English first)- exciting as Justin Bieber’s funeral announcement- their E.P. is an Old Testament chapter of song. While I prepare my next review, I am delving back into Kobadelta- into their tremendous current slice. Thinking about it…

MAYBE I could keep this reviewing thing going…just a bit longer!?

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Feature: The Business Plan- Turning Reality Into Dreams


The Business Plan:

Turning Realities Into Dreams


BEFORE I delve into the meat of my business; get down to the nub of my discourse…

Thom Yorke

this week has really taken its toll on me. I will get to more music-related avenues very soon; I want to lead with one issue: the death of Robin Williams. Everyone has paid tributes to the peerless comedian- a man with no equals- and how saddened they are by his death. Most will be able to detail and assess their feelings with more eloquence and clarity; for me, Williams’s suicide marked something of a shock- an earthquake whose tremors stirred deep-seated feelings out of my brain. Having battled through- more like put up with- clinical depression for the last 15 years-or-so, there are times when it worsens- the fluctuating nature means no two days are the same. Having attempted suicide several times- the actual number is alarming- I identity with and are burdened by suicidality- as we speak in fact. Few would think to look at me. I barely smile or laugh naturally (or without ‘provocation’) when about others- but have to project an air and personality that is at least quasi-buoyant and cheery. In the pub industry- as well as office work- you need to connect with people; make them feel confident and looked after- they are not there to guess your state of mind; make you feel better. When that heartbreaking news filtered through the airwaves, it kicked me in the face- everything became crystallized and trained. Those not aware of the complexities of depression may say- William’s suicide- is the act of a selfish man- he has money and fame; why would he want out? Apart from it being the most insulting thing you can say; suicide is not selfish- it is the hardest decision anyone will make; it is the bravest thing anyone can do. Eager to escape the terrible suffocation of his predicament, he stopped the walls from closing in- the U.S. legend decided to put the lights out; let the genie out of the bottle. The final moments must have been a turbulent torment of what-ifs, loved one considerations and salty tears- thinking about it is excruciating. I will not dwell too much on Williams’s death; only to say this: the same sort of depression rules the music scene. Most people have no idea what a near-death experience is. It is not a situation where you almost die; it is when you are unconscious- from an operation or accident- and see a white light and heavenly glow- hence the ‘near-death‘ part of it. It is just something that annoys me most (aside from all white van drivers, children, and people who add an ‘s’ to the end of Marks and Spencer, Tesco and WHSmith). My issues aside, a lot of musicians struggle with horrible depression- it is something that not only can define their songs; it can take their existence. I will be running a half-marathon on behalf of Mind– in a few weeks- to raise money and awareness for a cruel and insatiable illness- something a lot of your favorite musicians sleep with each night. A fundamental and ever-present danger, it would be a false equivalency to say ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’- as you read, some of the most adored musical minds are withholding their darkest and more disturbed thoughts. What I want to do- and will explain more below- is highlight how wide a problem it is; how things can change- with some planning, cooperation and mutuality; steps can be brokered to lessening the prevalence (of depression). From the likes of Kurt Cobain; through Jeff Buckley and Thom Yorke; down to Morrissey, some of the most fascinating and talented songwriters have lived with- and died from- the grip of depression.

In ‘real life’, depression can disrupt and grope normality and routine- put everything on the back foot and cause huge problems. In music, it can have some positive sides. When feeling that low and alone, many musicians regress to the songbook- channel their pain and feelings through the medium of song- transform pain and depression into something redemptive and inspiring. Art does not always guarantee freedom and a therapeutic support; if Robin Williams’s death has shown anything it is this: even if you have an extraordinary gift; it does not stop the eternal footman snicker when he takes your coat (to paraphrase T.S. Elliot). This pissed me off royally- why should people so wonderful and inspiring have to suffer so harshly?  In my own life- not suggesting for a second I am ‘so wonderful’- there are a number of different burdens.  With the considerate cocktail being added to by generalised anxiety disorder, chronic insomnia and various neurological issues- things are less than fun.  Throw in severe money worries, singledom and growing stresses- and you have a less than desirable situation.  I have my own coping mechanisms- most not doctor-recommended- but I know full well how difficult things are. Having accepted this lot, ambition and desires are the best things I can hold onto- planning the future and trying to siphon my restlessness into music and writing.  Unfortunately, the desire to review has practically evaporated- it is exhausting and it seems like I am going through the motions a tad.  I will continue to do it and support musicians for a few more weeks- when I will only publish one review a week- but writing things like this make me tick- putting dreams into motion and looking at wider horizons and bigger things.


Music can help and soothe a lot of anxious and darkened minds- it does not ensure safety and life. It was then I decided Psychoacoustics had to happen- I will go into more depth very soon.  It is not designed to pad my bottom line; grow my wallet- I loathe and detest the faceless billionaires like Zuckerberg and their ilk- if I could find a way of weening myself off of Facebook, I would.  Social media sites are becoming means of profit-making; monitoring people’s activities and personal information- there is no cooperative or reapportionment.  For all the benevolent and caring people out there, the tycoons and wealthy are not pulling their weight.  Aside from (Psychoacoustics) making it easier for musicians to record; others to meet; expanding possibilities and caring for musicians in need- there is a social element, too.  The likes of Facebook and Twitter and seriously limited.  Every time a so-called ‘improvement’ is made, it equates to a lick of paint- a font is changed; a small tweak made.  No ACTUAL improvements are made; things that will make the service better and more economical- the sites are riddled with limitations and pointless aspects.  Chocked full of adverts, banalities and boredom, people are sucked in because they become addicted- we spend hours aimlessly staring and posting anything that comes to mind.  I am as guilty as anyone, but know full well the likes of Facebook will die down soon enough; people will want a lot more; Zuckerberg is not going to make useful amendments- just see himself grow wealthier and fatter.  The social element of Psychoacoustics is geared towards music and connections; negating the traditional status updates- it is designed to help musicians connect; people to find great sounds; make charitable endeavours easier- ensure people can link with relevant contacts a lot easier than ever.  One of the big problems- when it comes to music-sharing particularly- is the lines of communication.  Whether it is a song, album or review (being shared), often your ‘friends’ will pass it on (or one of them) and then that’s it- it sits like a turd not going anywhere; limited amount of people will see and hear it.  That seems insane: why is it so hard to have your work shared? Why do people not take the trouble to help others?  It is one of the downfalls of the ‘social media age’- that clandestine and lackadaisical lack of community (and stretching beyond compartmentalisation).  I will give more depth soon- with less of a socialist rant- and explain my ideas- for now, another qualm is on my mind…

My second small point- that leads to my second business idea- is the growing digitlaisation of music. It is an exothermic fire that is singeing the wooden foundations of record stores and physical musicianship- the basis and history of the music industry. When I walk into HMV– for anyone under 21 it is a shop that sells music- I am like a child in a sweet shop filled with naked women- I run straight to the vinyl section and frantically leaf through. I love everything about music hardware- the eye-catching and stunning album covers; the range of vinyls, CDs and DVDs- all the colours, photos and sights. Without hardware, music wouldn’t exist; with electronics and the Internet it is impersonal, intangible and spectral. You cannot take an iTunes download in hand; flick through the sleeve notes and marvel at the album cover- take a CD out and carry it around with you. Before I champion the necessity of music hardware- and get to the nub of my point- I will say one thing: music hardware needs solidifying and galvanising. The cassette was a dreadful and stupid idea: so flimsy and fragile, half of my cassettes were eaten up in my stereo within the first minute. The frustration of rewinding a tape- to get to a particular or song- is insanely backwards; the fact that cassettes are less developed and intelligent than vinyl tells you why they became extinct. Vinyl is solid and historic; impractical to an extent, as few have turntables in their homes. You cannot deny the beauty and lure of a vinyl- the designs take your mind; the size is impressive; the feel of the record causes shivers- the CD seemed like the natural step forward. Hmmm… true to an extinct, but there are huge flaws and issues- the CD is only half-good. It is a great size and shape; it is mobile and well-known- its limitations are glaring. In addition to it being a bit slight on the capacity side- you can record on both sides of a DVD; why not a CD?- some musicians are needlessly putting out double albums. I am not sure why a CD can not hold more data; it has been out for decades yet has not improved or changed- we can cure cancer but not this?! Digital avenues are limitless and unconfined- you are not restricted to how much you can put out; cost is not such a huge issue. The biggest and more irritating problem with CDs is their frailty- it is like handling a newborn baby. If you drop them on a carpeted area- a CD not a baby!- they have the potential to scratch and break; vinyls and cassettes are not this pathetic. The number of times I have accidentally dropped a CD down; picked it up- only to discover a long scratch running it. If the tried-and-tested repair system does not work- wiping it on your jumper; giving it a quick polish- then you are screwed. Nothing in life is more disappointing than hearing a song- or multiple tracks- skip and jump; it is like nails on a chalkboard- just thinking about it makes me want to kick a kitten through an electric fan…

All the boffins that have moulded the inner workings (of the digital revolution) have paid no attention to the latchkey kid- imparting wisdom and ensuring it survives. How hard can it be to reinforce a CD (so it is near-impossible to scratch)? The fact that technology and music hardware has reversed since the early-20th century tells you all you need to know- if people can’t be bothered to improve it, no wonder so many are turning to digital- and more dependable- areas. The bad thing about this is that a domino effect is created. Suppressing the desire to go to the local HMV means they close down; the record shops start to shut and disappear- it puts good people out of business. In addition to seeing the erosion of music hardware, artists are suffering too. So much music can be downloaded and purchased for free- fair equity and financial apportionment are not taking place. I love that I can go to YouTube and iTunes; find any music in the world- play it with the click of a button. I would hate to see the day where the last of the vinyls and CDs disappear- it could be the theme of a quirky Indie film; a Nick Hornby-esque novel; the tableau of a Michel Gondry music video. The trouble is, it’s going to happen- we will live to witness a day where record stores and physical products are subsumed and overthrown by electronic monsters- we are slowly being sucked into the machine; becoming disconnected from personal relations. In tandem with social media, online music-sharing takes away a key human element- the face-to-face interactions and bonds. When visiting HMV recently, I purchased a few albums; got chatting to the guy behind the counter- we shot the breeze about music and the best out there. When I play a song on SoundCloud, there is no human there to talk to; I cannot share my feedback directly (verbally) to them- I am afraid that we will forget the necessity of reality and tradition. I may sound like an old man- albeit a 31-year-old one- but I adore music as much as anyone; want to preserve and protect out heritages and monuments- make sure we do not bulldozer over them. In addition to digital music being accessible, easy and cheap; it also makes it easy to connect with a wider online community- we can share music so readily; filter it across the world with ease; find new fans and favourites. My job as a blogger and reviewer is only possible because of digital music and social media- I have met so many great people this way; I would not change that for all the world. I feel we can retain both; strike an equilibrium that sees the continuation of hardware and digital; keep the status quo frozen and capped- do not allow iniquity and entropy. This thought process and idea got me thinking about a second business venture- a record label that would not only represent a wide range of artists; it would funnel products back into music stores- and more besides. I shall go into more depth when necessary; hopefully you will stay with me…

The first strand of my two-prong pitch was for an all-encompassing and multi-leveled business: Psychoacoustics. It is the name behind a business that consists of multiple facets.


Idea of the site:

There are quite a few music websites at the moment, between the iPhone, Facebook and the Internet. Most of them offer roughly the same things- music sharing, free downloads and Internet radio access. There are a lot offering the same things, and quite a lot of things are not being considered. The idea of Psychoacoustics, is to pull all the existing qualities of these sites together, as well as offering new features and great networking opportunities- for free. The plan is to top Spotify, iTunes and the biggest sites- by offering what they do, plus much more besides. Specific areas and pages on the site will be named after musical figures, albums and events. For instance, a lyrics section will feature Bob Dylan’s name and be themed around here. It is sort of like a music Disneyworld- different zones and characters. This makes it more interactive and interesting (than most music sites) and is engaging.


By accessing (website currently under planning/construction), you will be able to access the site. From there, there will be a home page. On the home page is a main design. It is an animation of a studio, called Psychoacoustics. It is designed like Abbey Road, and there is constant movement on the page. There will be a bank of about 200 different musicians, who will walk into the page and interact with each other; leave and enter the studio- keep the user amused. The icons and animation will be colourful and interesting- better designed than most of the music websites out there.



There is a chat/Skype option where you can interact with any of your contacts or friends. This can be done via a Facebook-style message service, or Skype. When you add contacts- like Facebook or Twitter– you can chat with any of them at any given time.


Your personal inbox; you can mail your contacts, as well as any musician or venue.

Search Engine:

This is a bespoke, specialist search engine. It is similar to Google but responds to questions and searches effectively- returning only relevant websites. It can record audio, so if you were searching for a song title or name of song- it would be able to locate it. The search engine is able to answer specific music questions and ties together information and resources from Yahoo, Google and Bing.


This is a diary of important music events and updates- specific to the user.  Excoriating the labyrinth of music sites/diaries, it is a bespoke service that gives you up-to-date alerts- based on your favourite musicians.

Music Player:

You will be able to create a playlist or jukebox of up to 2,000 songs.

Personal Profile:

You can create your own avatar, and enter all of your information. It is similar to Facebook, but more detailed- you can upload photos, videos, and designs. I will go into more detail later, but on your personal profile, is all of your information, favourites, and links. The profile works like Twitter and Facebook but more in-depth- with fewer faults. I have described the social side of things in a previous mail.

1. Studio and Rehearsals:

This is an animated studio and rehearsal rooms (about 3 studios with control rooms and one rehearsal space). Unlike sites where there are a list of features, you access the features via icons: so for instance, you would click on a T.V. or a guitar to access the relevant feature. The tab on the interface is red, and will consist of different shades of red. The specific names and designs for each feature are to be decided, but are as follows:

Music video:

Here you can pitch ideas for music videos to bands, acts and labels. You can protect your idea and sell it for money (or use it to gain points and exchange for a reward in the future). There is also a music video store, where you can access any video from any song- search by genre, artist or time period. Also, there is a software where you can put ideas into and create videos through animation, film (or various other techniques) and apply them to your own songs.

Album cover:

Here you can view any album cover, and search for it like the music videos. The features allow you to design covers using animation, photography or a photography edit- where you can mix and edit images and merge together to create incredible designs. From here you can publish them or share- or pitch ideas to bands looking for ideas.


This is like Instagram where you can upload photos or designs and edit them- using hundreds of options. Here too you can search for photographers and view images, websites and famous images (from music history).

Music video player:

This utilises YouTube, where you can view music videos for free and have a favourites list- or share the video to social media.

Song dissect/mix:

On this page, you can take any song- from rock to classical- and dissect it. You can see what notes are played, and what instruments are used. This helps when writing songs and can help you learn (easily) about music. Also, you can take sections of various songs and mix them together; edit the sounds to create new songs.


Here there are guides, links and ways to set up your own record label, festival, or music magazine. You can interact with others online, and get funding in order to set up your own business- then network on site to attract users and business. You can invent new music ideas and instruments; design them on this page and pitch them.


There is a software where you can design and broadcast your own podcast and radio station. Broadcast over the site or YouTube, play your own songs and broadcasts- get fans and followers as well.


On here you can sell songs to T.V. and film companies and productions.

Band sites:

I will explain more on the registration, but when bands and artists sign up they can create their own website and include a wealth of information- making it easy to promote and get fans.


This is a sound library with thousands of sounds, effects and mixing options.


If you are a D.J., here you can mix tracks, scratch and broadcast your own set- via the site- and promote your gigs.

Home Studio:

This is a software where you can record vocals, instruments and effects- and then send your songs to fans or broadcast the tracks online. There is software for tuning instruments too.

Recording and Production:

This allows you to record songs professionally and easily; provides every technology a modern studio would. You can record vocals and instruments, mix and layer them- create a professional sounding track. From there you produce the tracks and broadcast them; burn them onto C.D. It allows for album covers to be printed and gives links to sites (where you can buy C.D. cases and additional software).

Rehearsal and Live Room:

These are simulations of studio spaces, where you can play live or rehearse. Via Skype you can jam with the rest of your band (or solo) and be seen by contacts- have your performance saved and shared. There are options for recording. There are guitar, drum, piano, vocal and orchestra options where you can simulate any guitar or piano etc., and get the most realistic sound possible. Unlike software (where it is flattering), here you have to know how to play. Like Wii it reacts to touch; you can simulate yourself playing- as if it were real. From there, you can either mess around or record the sounds; join with others or your band members (and jam together). You can tune the instruments; it is as good as the actual instruments. The same can be done with vocals where you can record as many tracks as you like- and access different mics, and effects. It is able to work with recording so you can record full songs and albums using this. it is not to replace real life but act as an easy way to share and record demos (for when you are in the studio).

2. Bar and Venue:

The venue is downstairs of the studio- the bar upstairs. It is animated like the rest of the site and acts as a portal for socialising and broadcasting. The tab for this is green and appears with different shades of green on the interface.

Radio player:

You can access tens of thousands of digital stations from around the world and stream them live- as well as access archive broadcasts and songs.


There are links to all music magazines and publications, in addition to music websites.


It will act like PledgeMusic where you can donate to get album made and respond to pitches. Artists can offer rewards or treats, and get a % of funds raised. You can network and swap/record vocals- the user is able to write as well.


Due to revenue coming from advertisers and labels, the site can pay royalties to artists whose songs are downloaded-means that songs can be downloaded free, but artists get paid.

Food and Drink: 

Links to music venues- as well as music bars and cafes- anywhere in the world. You can get alerts of anything local to you; any events that are happening- then you can share them on the site.

Leagues and Competitions:

There are various leagues for new bands and directors etc. that are updated (and points are given to the winners). These charts reflect download amounts, most hits and popularity- there are leagues and competitions for new and unsigned bands.

Music Fantasy League:

This is like football fantasy, but you choose a 5-piece band. You have to choose at least one drummer, one singer- you can choose from any musician from history. There is an option to select 2 songwriters as well and an album and song. There are various points awarded to each- depending on how many times they have been downloaded and mentioned- and an overall league (that updates each week).

Read and Write:

You can publish blogs and reviews of bands and gigs (and albums); publish  and share them- in addition to being able to publish gig and album reviews.


There is a dating website and connection site for musicians, as well as  a chance to connect and promote music charities. There are event postings and updates (for your local area) that expands internationally. You can tie all of your contacts and friends in from other social sites (into this one).


Once you have created a profile you can search for potential band members or venues. When bands or acts register- like a dating website- you answer various questions- such as favourite music, bands and albums. If you are looking for someone, you can either type in a search- and the site matches people for you- or you can click on a map. From here you can click on any country or city (and search for any member located in that area and contact them). There are sections where you can connect bands and venues; labels to acts; band members and bands together. If you make a successful match, you gain points that can be exchanged.


This links actors to bands- looking for people for music videos. The user can join actors together, who can share links and tips (with regards to music and best contacts and agents).


I have explained all of the social side, but the site works more like Twitter where you can ‘add’ any band or musical act- and follow their progress and updates. There is a LinkedIn style site too where you can connect with employers or contacts- build up a network of fans and followers which gives you greater opportunities.


You can broadcast live shows and gigs; stream concerts here and share them.

3. Living Room:

This tab will appear in shades of yellow. The living room will consist of a sofa, chairs, jukebox- a notice board as well.

Music download:

Like Spotify, you can download any track for free and either play them- or create your own playlists and sections. You can compile songs into albums (and burn a C.D.), or share songs via your phone or social websites. There are links to Spotify and iTunes; music apps too.

Promotion and Distribute:

You can listen to recommended music- depending on your mood- or find any new music (depending on your tastes). You can then share them via social media, or you can promote new bands and artist-, and share acts with promoters and venues, as well as labels. It works like ReverbNation but more in-depth and gives tools to find new music- ways to share and get your own voice heard easily.


You can have a playlist of up to 2,000 songs, and play them- whenever you like.

Reference Library:

You can view information about every band, artist or album released. It is like Wikepidia where you can find out anything about music- it gives info about bands, videos, links and merchandise.  In turn, this allows you access to new music, old music (you may have forgotten about), and access any information whenever you want.

Music Trends/Stats:

There are tables and graphs that show music trends, sales figures and stats (relevant to you)- these are updated daily.


These are all of the charts from home and abroad- updated weekly, with links to all of the songs featured.

Search engine and lyric finder:

The search engine is also available here but is a lyric finder- where you can type words or lyrics and it finds the song. The user can input audio or video- if you are unsure of the song or artists- and it will find out for you.

Pitch Zone:

If you have spare lyrics or ideas, you can pitch them (and trade them with artists). You can earn points for anything that is bought from you, and pitch (and find ideas for) songs. Also, you can pitch music: if you have no lyrics you can match them and collaborate with people on site- then join your music and lyrics together. From there you can create songs together (and share them).

Music Notation and languages:

There is a software where you can learn music (and translate your music into musical notes), so it makes it easier to write music. There is a link to a language site where you can learn any one of 30 different languages (for free). This makes it easier to communicate with international contacts and write and sing (in a different language).

4. Bedroom and Kitchen:

This tab appears as different shades of purple. The bedroom has a bed, wardrobe and table; T.V. etc.- the kitchen is a smaller room connected adjacently.


You can access all of your updates, information and messages here- and directly from your personal profile.

T.V. zone:

This allows access to dozens of music T.V. channels, archived videos and shows- in addition to relevant T.V. shows and performances.


There are links to music teachers, studios, websites, bars and venues- everything anyone could want.

Creative Zone:

You can chat with anyone; share ideas, stories, gig reviews- ideas for photography and videos etc.

5. “Red Cassette”

This is a specially designed shopping site. The animation is designed like a large Rough Trade store- the tab will be a specially designed one.


Search by genre, period or artists and you can find music from them to buy. It pulls together Amazon, iTunes and all music websites, so you can compare prices for the album- it gives you the most choice imaginable.

DVDs and Merchandise:

You can search for DVDs and merchandise from any band. This gives you links to shopping sites and band sites- so again you can find the best deal.


You can purchase band and festival tickets; music books, apps and instruments. You can purchase gift cards too.


There are links to shopping websites and info for independent stores; with website and address details.

6. Join/Log-In:

This tab is in shades of black and grey.


Different registrations. For casual user, browsing, solo, band, promoter, venue, label and other. They ask for different details and different lengths- but all very simple and easy.


It allows a simple log in and a feature where you can log in to all of your music and social accounts (at the same time).

7. About Us:

This tab is going to be detailed in shades of orange.

Studio history:

There is information- fake of course- of how it was set up in East London (in 1969), and the story behind it. There is a ‘mock’ Vevo-style video documenting the history of the studio and its founders. It is comical and is also like a guided tour.

About the site:

This is a serious description of what the site aims to do and how it will evolve.

Press and links:

This displays any links to relevant sites and partners, plus software sites- so you can create your own music website.

8. Music Player:

This tab will be in shades of blue. This ties together all of available and your downloaded music- so you can play it on-going (and create smaller playlists).

9. Advertise With Us:

This tab is in shades of pink.


This is a separate page where all adverts from sites and venues can be displayed. This means it doesn’t interfere with your profile or browsing- but can access it any time from this site. Advertisers and sites pay to be published on the site. There are contact numbers and an online form if you want to advertise or subscribe.

10. Contacts/Links:

This tab is in shades of whites and grey.


This details all e-mail and phone contacts (for every department).


Up to 6 different contact email and phone numbers- depending on the query


This is the address of the H.Q. (and map).

Social media:

This gives links to the Twitter and Facebook sites- YouTube too

Feedback form:

Provide feedback on the site.

Suggestions box:

If you have any ideas for futures or designs, then let us know and will take into account.

FAQ and Troubleshoot:

If you have trouble with any part of the site there is support. Also, there is a FAQ segment- if you have a question it will be answered.  The user can report abuse or any issues (day or night).

Designs and Features:

Points system/Profile:

As well as a detailed profile, on top of everything there is a points system. For every event you promote (or song you share), a certain amount of points are awarded. When certain amount of points are accrued, you get a reward. These will (mainly) be cash prizes which will increase in amount. For 100,000 points, a ‘Fantasy Package’ will be awarded- where you can meet any musician or have any experience you want (paid for by the website). The profile will be displayed like an album cover, where there is track listing- relating to each section (1-10)- and details of everything you have done. There are graphs displayed that represent your progress and updates.

Avatar and animation:

When you register you can create your own avatar- to give it the feel of a video game. You can personalise and update it as much as you like. As I said, each section is named after a musician or album- to include everything from The Doors, Bohemian Rhapsody and Abbey Road. There will be animated forms of musicians (interacting in each section) and great designs- to give the whole site a feel of a game or as I mention, a sort of musical Disneyworld.


The idea is to raise money to improve the site constantly; give royalties to all musicians (whose music is downloaded). I want to top iTunes and Spotify and have everything (included) any music lover or artist could ever hope. As a singer- who is curious about my vocal range- there are tools for that; recorders- and I will be able to locate a band easily.

Access and use:

It is available on P.C.; it can be downloaded to iPhone or your T.V. This means that anyone, anywhere can access and use it (any time). There will be a virtual keyboard to type; the user can have access to a touchscreen- so if using it on T.V. everything is a lot faster.



The logo will depict a gorgeous woman in a black dress. In her left hand is a blue rose; whilst in her right, is a microphone. There is a microphone stand in front of her, whilst we see a spotlight shine (to the side of her face).  Thrown in too are going to be drops of rain- overhead and on the other side of her face. She has brown hair and green eyes, with red lipstick. To the side of her is a gramophone, as a vinyl plays. She looks focused but relaxed; enjoying and entranced by the music playing. The main logo will be centred, whilst either side of the logo will be ‘Psycho’ and ‘Acoustics’- in red lettering. The letters will be in a stylised font but easy to read- with the letters bordered in white to give a modern and striking design.

Intended Destination:

Hoping to have the premises located at either Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden or Soho. Due to the size of the building, it will need to be located in these areas- locales that attract huge amounts of tourists and attention- providing the most possible custom.


Inspired by Café De Paris, the building will be very large and decadent. The premises will comprise two floors; with the intention of each being large enough to contain all the incorporated properties of the business (see below). Hoping to have it opened no later than 2020 (may be short-sighted in hindsight).

Opening Hours:


8am to 12am.


8am to 12am (when gigs are performed it will be extended to 1am).


9am to 9pm.


Around about 50 in total.


It will be over-18s only: no babies or children allowed. Dress code is not strict and open to the public.


I know of websites similar to Kickstarter that provide funding opportunities for businesses. I hope to pitch a business plan and raise as much of the funding from there. Aside from a business loan, I am hoping to raise as much of the remainder (of the funds myself). I am not sure of the exact cost (of the entire business), yet hope that over the coming few years the entire amount can be raised.

Ground Floor:

Bar and Kitchen:

As you enter, to the left of the premises is the bar. The bar will be very modern with a wide and long counter- in order to allow maximum custom. The bar logo will be emblazoned above the bar, and will be unique. As well as serving coffee (and tea, hot chocolate etc.) alcohol will be served. There will be a range of beers, wines and spirits- completed with an extensive cocktail menu. The menu will be extensive. There will be breakfast, lunch and dinner options- with a dessert menu. The range will include British, American, Mexican, French, Chinese, Thai, Italian, Australian and Spanish food- from savoury to sweet. The kitchen will be next to the bar, and will serve food from opening through to close. There will be themed dishes and cocktails that will incorporate band names, lyrics and album titles etc.


There will be a large amount of sitting to accommodate around about 100 people. The seats will consist of sofas, leather (sofas) and chairs; together with wooden chairs. It is designed to be a relaxing and comfortable environment; it will not be cluttered or compacted- space and openness is a huge key.

Jukeboxes and Speakers:

This is one of the main features of the business. The music will be the epicenter of the bar/café, and will be a constant. As you enter, there are jukeboxes to the left and right hand corners; to the back left and right corners; over in the the centre will be two digital jukeboxes. It will be free, where anyone can select a song. There will only be allowance for one song per customer; with a continuous playlist being selected. The jukebox menu will be interactive, so you can select a song by searching- or find by genre/decade etc. There will be access to over 500,000 songs, and will include every genre and style. There will be screens in the centre of the room (overhead) that will show which song is next- running order etc.; everyone will be able to hear the music. There will be four speakers suspended from the ceiling- on each corner of a chandelier. The music will not be so loud that you cannot converse, yet will be crisp and true. Using latest technologies it will be possible to blend the sound of music and conversation so that neither becomes too distracting.


As you enter, to the right hand side of the building is a small stage. It will measure 15 by 20ft, and will host intimate performances. At the back of the building will a main stage. It will be 25 by 30ft, and will have a retro feel. There will be a blend of modern, Gothic and American; giving the stage a unique feel. The stage will host larger gigs; whereas in front of the stage, will be an orchestra pit that can host 30 musicians.


The décor will be a main attraction. On the walls will be paintings and landscapes- depicting famous album covers, music photos, band portraits and designs. It will encompass a large range of artists where there will also be canvases on the wall. There will be modified street signs and portraits, giving it a retro and classic feel (all at once). The premises be have white walls as well, where lyrics can be written and designs drawn. The entire interior will mix modern and vintage (with artifacts and designs reflecting this). It will not be like Hard Rock Café where it is a sort of music museum or attraction- it will be subtle and play second fiddle to the key components. Overhead will be several chandeliers, providing a romantic feel. At night these will be on; soothing lighting will bathe the interior.


There are two methods of access: from the ground to upper level. There will be a staircase to the right of the entrance; in addition there will be a small lift- giving disabled access (and allowing transportation of equipment, stock etc.)

Upper Level:


This is a store with Rough Trade in mind. The store is split into different sections. There is an extensive store that offers music by genre, decade etc. and has a large stock- similar to HMV’s largest stores. As with the lower level of the bar, there are paintings, designs and artwork on the walls- and ceilings. There is band merchandise and memorabilia; signed memorabilia; musical instruments. The idea is that there is everything under one roof that a musician, music fan or music-lover could want. There is a charming décor that mixes ’90s Seattle, modern-day U.S. and Rough Trade. It is homely, modern and cutting-edge.Besides being an all-inclusive store, there is a profit-share initiative. Schemes will be set up to allow a small percentage of profits to go to independent record stores and local bands.

Consoles and screens:

This will incorporate everything from the Psychoacoustics music website: There will be about two dozen consoles arranged- within the middle of the floor. These allow direct access to the website. As mentioned, the website aims to make it simple to create music, music videos; collaborate online and distribute music. It incorporates all of the best features of the major music websites, and offers so much more. People will be able to access the website through the consoles. There will be two large walls which will display music videos, or can alternatively project images from any of the consoles- for instance, if a music video has been created it can be instantly projected.


Dominating one half of the level will be the studio. It is a medium-sized studio that will offer all the benefits and technologies of the biggest out there. It will encompass a studio, rehearsal room, control room; plus a lounge and bedroom. There will be an in-house engineer, producer and representatives- they offer rates that are very competitive. The hope is that is will appeal to new bands but  drag in big names and established acts.

Garden and Tranquility:

In the centre of the level will be a small garden. There will be a water feature and plants; aimed to relax and inspire. There will also be a balcony, that will provide a small garden and seating.


There will be chandeliers on this level, but a more toned-down feel. There is impressive lightning and a warm and relaxing vibe. Again there will be leather chair and sofas- located near the consoles.

I am still in the initial stages, yet see everything in my head: the look, the sounds and smells- and all besides. I am open to idea as there are many whom would frequent a place like this. What do people want? What needs including?


The final arm of the business would be a charity. Set up under the Psychoacoustics name, it would be situated in London- in the bar/cafe venue. Designed to raise money for musicians, it would be a small office consisting of 9-10 employees. The money would be generated from donations and performances- at the bar. In addition, profits generated from the website and bar would be fueled into the charity- they in turn would go to musicians. The money would go to bands and artists (struggling to raise funds for recording and music-making). Anyone unable to afford equipment- and the means to record- would be given chances. A website would be generated where people can donate funds; contact the charity and apply for help. Events and concerts would be held to generate awareness and funds; in addition to campaigns. The biggest aim is to work with charities like Mind to develop better understanding of mental health issues. So many musicians are plagued with depression, anxieties and various psychological issues- not a lot is being done. Working with charities, it is the aim to make awareness a key- piloting TV adverts and campaigns; making depression a big a concern as cancer. We would have musicians acting as ‘ambassadors’; lending their voices and stories to the cause- historical and legendary artists and new acts. This all goes in hand with special events which will be planned every year- bringing musicians (and those affected) together. Designed to provide help and support, the charity would get in contact with the venerable and affected- making sure they get the support and help needed. It is something very close to my heart, and will be a way of bringing depression into the light- destigmatising it.


Although a lot of my words are a rederivation of previous posts, the impetus and necessity- of the goals- is unwavered and redefined- new events and urgency has pressed me to go into action. The record label would be called Acoustic Vinyl. Continuing that ‘acoustic’ theme, the record label would be based in London- hopefully in the East End. Most labels have an edict and ethos: they represent certain genres and artists. This label is boundary-free and acts an Indie endeavour. The idea would be to represent artists from all around the globe- every genre and form of music is considered. The goal is to embrace and represent the best and most ambitious music out there- enforced by my endeavours as a reviewer. So many of the acts- I have assessed- are unrepresented and in need of backing. Baffled by the lack of attention- that comes their way- I struggled to speculate why record labels have not jumped on them. The label would also produce its own records and released- like Third Man Records. With designs of having a studio available for all the artists- in east London- the label will have ambitions to grow and compete with the biggest out there. Working in tandem with Psychoacoustics, acts would be able to play at the bar; awareness would be raised (to get the acts seen and heard) and give a home to those worthy of wide acclaim. The record label will have an interactive and multimedia website: including artist biographies, videos, updates and music- it will give a huge overview of what the company stands for.

In addition to other endeavours- purulent and honourable alike- my own music has been gripping my brain and sleepless nights.  One thing I discovered a long time ago was that I was probably made for an animated comedy- I am the sort of guy that can mimic every voice I hear; have an insane about of sounds and accents swirling around my head.  Normally- for people who afflicted thus- they can biodegrade their burden through the medium of TV. Unable to get my- frankly paradigm-altering (well, good anyway)- animated comedy off the ground, I have had to focus my vocals to music.  Being obsessed with the human voice- lyrics and wordplay too- it has manifested itself across Marriage: The Beautiful Revenge.  My band- Death of the Sweetheart- has just me, alas.  I am looking for London-based musicians to come along for the ride- be part of a Queens of the Stone Age-cum-Steely Dan type music band.  Somewhere where impunity and infidelity ranks alongside partnership and… oh screw it- I need guys and gals to help me out.

I guess that is part of the aim (of the website and business); to get some people to my cause.  Selfish and self-promoting I know, yet I am excited about my songs and ideas- I shall marginalise the shameless plugging in a second!  I am so pumped to get ‘the ball rolling’- make me stamp on the music world.  In a future post, I shall go more into the album tracks- all 15 of them- and try to distill them as best as possible.  With vocals, octaves and lyric snaps teasing my brain with a sturdy badinage, I hope to find three to four (hey, five even) players- if you know of any, let me know… Keen to throw a multiple mix of genres into the denigration, I have been inspired by everyone from Duke Ellington to Judas Priest my album is probably going to be less than focused; ambitious in its scope and ambitions.  If you are going to go into (an overcrowded) music industry; make sure you hit hard and fast- it brings me back to the physical nature of music.  One of the greatest things about starting a band is the physicality and tangible aspect.  Pressing the CDs and vinyls excites me already.  I have already gleefully designed the album cover- marking me as a bit of a megalomaniac- yet it is not enforced by control and egotism- the draw of creativity and possibility is too gorgeous to refute.  With a bold image in my mind- for back cover and inset photos too- I think about the CD; it will be recorded on both sides and feel like a double album.  You do not need to turn the CD over; after the last track (on Side A) it flips- gives a vinyl crackle and needle drop’ before running to the second side.  All of the tracks flow into one another- like the second side to Abbey Road– and I am keen to make as many breakthroughs as possible using traditional methods and forms.  The CD itself will have two different designs; one half is vinyl- it will look like a miniature vinyl- the other is clear (looking like glass)- both have distinct lettering and designs on each.  The entire album works like a concept; it documents a relationship from the first moments; through to marriage and then divorce- working backwards (at the half-way mark) to arrive back at the start of the relationship.

What I want to do with the album, is to go in hard and fast- incorporate everything I have learnt from new music and put it into my work.  Dylan-esque vivid tales- circa Highway 61 Revisited– will come out in Sister, Did You Hear Me Call?  Arcade Fire-cum-Disco in Communicator– Judas Priest-via-Soundgarden mixed in Making Up For Lost Time.  In addition to original songs, there will be two covers: Avalanche and I Want to Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother’s Heart.  The former is one of Leonard Cohen’s most unsettling tracks- a dark and haunting number that never relents.  The latter is from The White Stripes’ album Elephant.  One of the lesser tracks, it shows Jack White as a nervy and try-hard lover; someone who is trying to make impressions on his sweetheart’s mother.  The idea is to turn the former into some ethereal and transcend- remove the sexiest and violent aspects (without taking out a word) and given it s face-lift.  Aiming for the same sort of stillness (as Jeff Buckley’s) version of Hallelujah, I am aiming high.  The latter I want more wracked and pained.  The same vocal strength and stagger the likes of Paolo Nutini and Sam Smith (inject in their work) needs to be seen here.  Instrumental moments, layered vocals and stone-cold grooves all lead to the finale: Vanity Mirror.  Trying to out-epic the likes of Bohemian Rhapsody and Stairway to Heaven, it is the most ambitious thing I have written.  Most new albums have some standout tracks and great moments- my hope is to match the best of the last 20 years.  It may seem unrealistic and a stretch, but the words and ideas are taking shape; the determination is there- if I can find awesome band members, I am half-way there. Music means more than sound and flavour- the textures and feel (physical) seduces me; I love the look of a physical product- seeing everything compounded into a hand-held bundle.  I shall not waffle any more; just wanted to present some transparency- and clarify and reintroduce my earlier topic (about digitalisation).

With a few weeks until I run my half-marathon- and raise funds for Mind– I have been thinking a lot about issues like depression, music and how the two intertwine. So few people are aware of how big an issue depression is; what is consists of- how deadly and unforgiving it is. The idea behind charity endeavours is not only to raise awareness in a wider sense- make sure people are protected and given the support they need. Music can provide a terrific creative outlet; it has curative and detoxing potentials; able to lift moods and sadness. Of course, music has limited and confined potential- in order to fully tackle the issue, more needs to be done. It is hoped the charity would provide finance, support and development- help those most needy and ensure they are looked after. In terms of the website, bar/cafe and record label, I am looking out at the music community- supporting and proffering the artists that go unrecognised; that deserve a bigger voice. The website makes music-making and collaborating easier.

Its social media aspect works better than Facebook and Twitter; it concentrates more on sharing and good (than self-obsession); it has fewer problems and limitations- the big two are seriously lacking in so many areas. Acting as a way of connecting with musicians and discovering new joys, the social media side of things will be very different indeed. As I have finished writing most of an album- for a hypothetical band- I am searching for musicians and like-minded people. Determined to put my music out there and seduce as much as I can, I am determined to get things moving- I am finding it hard to get band members. So few websites exist- that join musicians and look at this problem- it is hoped this can be tackled and eradicated. It would be great to hear people’s input; what everyone reckons- if they would be interested in what I have laid out. So many musicians are coming through; so many young listeners are passing (over older music); too much music is being sucked into computers- I am hoping to change this and makes some steps. As much as anything, there are gaps in the market; definite needs out there- hopefully Psychoacoustics and Acoustic Vinyl will go some way towards fulfilling these. With all of the above being said, I shall ask one thing:

WHO’S in…?

About the Author:

Gone, but never forgotten


Track Review: Jessica Chase- The Only One


Jessica Chase

The Only One


The Only One is available at:

Coming Down is available from:


The Only One9.5/10.0

Heaven Won’t Change9.4

Long Haul Baby9.4

Child’s Play9.4

We Are an Arrow9.3

Afraid of the Dark9.3

God Made Lana Del Rey9.6


God Made Lana Del Rey


The Only One, Heaven Won’t Change, Child’s Play, God Made Lana Del Rey


5th August, 2014


Wax Records


Pop, Electro., Experimental


The Canadian solo artist wants her music to put the listener on the outside; awaiting a storm- raptured by the wind and building tension. Jessica Chase showcases a tremendous talent and febrile brilliance (throughout Coming Down). The Only One is one of the E.P.’s most direct and stunning examples- a song that shows just what a huge talent the Ontario Electro.-Pop star is


WHEN it comes to arresting and stunning artists…

there are few that can top Canadian Jessica Chase. In addition to being one of the most beautiful women in music, her songs have compelled and connected with multitudes of listeners. Following on from the success of her previous singles, her E.P. Coming Down is gaining some incredible reviews and feedback. Having listened to it myself, I can pay testament to how incredible and nuanced it is. One of the most invigorating and captivating Pop artists in the world, Chase has brought to mind a few points. Having spent a few days away from Canada- concentrated on U.K. musicians- I am back in my ‘second home’. There are a couple of points I shall raise- when thinking of Chase- but for the moment I am looking at the solo female market. The solo artists that come through- in the mainstream- have been producing some mixed results. Having adored albums by the likes of George Ezra, La Roux and FKA twigs, I am excited to see what is coming forth. Some artists- naming no names- have come in with some tepid and unextrodinary efforts- it is only natural there is going to be some weakness and disappointment. New music is producing more sturdy and reliable returns- so many of the acts I have reviewed have struck me with their inventiveness and sounds. Jessica Chase is one of the most impressive and original solo acts in the world- emanating from an area that has been stamping out some terrific musicians. The Toronto-based musician is showing why Canada is such a potent and mesmerising force. I have reviewed a mix and sprinkling of Canadian bands and solo acts- most from the Ontario region- and am always surprised by how pressing and urgent (musicians are there). Chase is doing things differently; in her own indubitable way- her fresh and uplifting songs have been exciting tongues and minds (across the globe). It is always hard for solo artists to make a big impression (as the bands of the world) as their lot and day-to-day life is that much harder. Having to take care of all the promotional and creative duties; it can be a lonely and difficult life- those that succeed should be commended. If the mainstream darlings have taught us anything, it is that the key to success is honing a unique and distinct sound- few musicians take the trouble to separate themselves from the pack. Having been entranced by some scintillating offerings (this year), it is the realms of Pop and Electro.-Pop that have struck me hardest. Providing a sense of drama, passion and personal insight, the genres have seen some terrific confessional outpourings- from La Roux’s Trouble in Paradise to FKA twigs’s LP1. Each of those female icons has provided a wealth and treasure trove of deep and layered sounds; spiky and hard-hitting words; diary page dramas- Chase is someone who can easily fit alongside these acts. Among her interests are:

Fairytales, Volcanoes, Trees and Nature, Love, Animals, Danger, Beauty, Art, Music, Dreams,The inner workings of the mind, Fitness, Family, Curiosity, Karma and Life.”

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 11.16.26 PM

Before I mention my third point, I will look at Chase’s music itself- what sort of themes and style she favours. Having been writing songs since childhood, she favours etherealness and nature- over more repressive avenues. When distilling the essence of her music, Chase explained it thus:

For me, writing music is all about spacing out and finding a place in your heart that feels right. These songs are about as in the moment as I can manage, and each one makes be feel like I’m standing outside in the wind and leaves, and there’s a dark sky and a big rain storm coming (which is the best feeling).”

Few musicians are able to summarise and drill down to the bedrock- explain how music makes them feel; why it drives them. Our heroine has a clear passion and understanding of music- the amount of magisterial force and luster she summons (through her music) takes the breath away. Strangely- or perhaps not- I have been finding myself more gripped by female artists- as opposed the chaps. I will conclude with one point: what next year will be offering. I think now- as much as any time in history- the stage is set for new artists to take the spotlight; transcend beyond the local gig circuit- claim their rightful place among the most profitable and celebrated musicians in the world. Coming off of a truly unexpected reviewing experience- documenting a tremendous debut album by a Yorkshire-based band- it is startling how much more ambitious and hungry (new artists are) compared with the mainstream- they have that extra layer of necessity and drive. Taking inspiration from historical acts; blending genres and styles together- the finest cocktails coming through are deserving of a huge audience. Chase doesn’t simply sit within the confines and prerequisites of Pop- that safe and universal sound that does not go out of its way to excite and intrigue. Sharing similarities with the likes of La Roux, Ellie Goulding, Chvrches and Florence and the Machine- electronic swathes and pumping emotions are mixed with tenderness and introspective longing. The women of the Electro.-Pop genre are some of the most impressive acts out there; the vocals are entrancing and gorgeous- they are inspiring legions of new musicians. It is not just her lyrics and themes that are distinct and memorable- Chase has a spectacular and gripping voice that makes you want to stick your head through the speakers; get inside the studio and hear the music up-close and personal. Topped off with a spicy and flavoursome crust of sounds and themes, the package (the Canadian provides) is fully-rounded and hypnotic music. With our very own Little Sparrow, Lydia Baylis and Alison Levi- providing their own takes on the genres of Pop, Folk and Soul- it is terrific to embrace and discover international gems- newcomers that demand your soul and full attention. Coming Down showcases a body of work that is bursting with life, passion and personality- so much tenderness and beauty nestles in the blankets of urgency and panache. I will get down to assessing the E.P. in due course; the single The Only One is already proving to be one of my favourite tracks of 2014- it is a song that demands repeated plays and fond investigation. Chase is a songwriter that delves deep and touches people- writing lyrics and words that can be extrapolated and understood by most of us. Both connective and embracing; heart-aching and gripping, we are going to be hearing a lot more from Jessica Chase.

It is worth seeing where our heroine came from- in order to get the full picture behind Coming Down. Have released a single previously, you can see a development and expansion.  The E.P. is essential the debut- given that only one song has come before. Just a Girl is upbeat; it has electronic rushes and an aching vocal performance. The lyrics have an earnest and honest skin; with a distinct and noble heartbeat, it shows a romantic side to Chase- imbued with her talent for subversion and expectation defiance. Vocal layers give an edginess and Dance-orientated feel; the song is weighty and hypnotic. The track is perfect for dancefloors and the clubs- it has a summer-ready feel and innate ability to get your feet moving. Impassioned and endlessly upbeat, Just a Girl has an energy and determination that never lets go- one of the young artist’s most catchy and urgent tracks. Chase’s new E.P. shows a development and step forward. The rush and elliptical sound blends- seen on Just a Girl– comes through on some numbers. The Only One has a burbling and dark electronic opening. Gorgeous and intriguing, the track marries Hip-Hop elements and Dance avenues- delicate and breathy vocals have a head full of smoke. Those distinct and emotional tones show determination and emotion. Our heroine has more than one lover- she is not tied to one particular person. The momentum never drops and the gripping story puts distinct images in the mind- you can see our heroine giving the kiss-off to her boy. Strong and determined, it has a defined rebellious and empowered backbone. Heaven Won’t Change is youthful and spright. Our heroine does not want to grow up today- there is a vibrancy and energetic rush that has a distinct charm and smile. The passionate and breezy sound is backed by some vibrating electronics and pummeled beats. The see-saw blends of Electro. and Dance give the song a huge amount of uplift and determination- it is another song that gets the feet moving and the arms swaying. Demonstrating a huge amount of alacrity and soul, the sweetness and passion mingles Ellie Goulding and La Roux- the resultant sound is one that sticks long in the mind. Long Haul Baby is more restrained and tender. Our heroine says- to her boy- “I love you“; it “is a lie.” The vocal rises and belts; the breadth and width- of Chase’s voice- comes to the fore- that hugely impressive talent makes its mark. Our heroine is never going to “love you right“- her mind is split and her heart elsewhere. Cooing and tender, the restrained and soothed beat takes the E.P. in another direction- demonstrating an adept mobility and sense of range. Child’s Play is a rightful highlight. The swaying and sensual vocal has potency and sweetness- the voice is crisper and higher in the mix. The classical backing touches put me in mind of The Nutcracker– that balletic-cum-punchy blend sits beautifully together. With a catchy chorus and indelible feel, the track stays in your mind- it is a gorgeous number. The swelling electronics back messages that question desire- is there a price tag on it?- and stealing- Is there a difference between taking a nickel and a dime? Deep issues and themes are explored; intelligently deployed and uttered, it is a song with plenty of nuance and quality. We Are an Arrow is edgy and direct. The vocal is high up again; swelling and atmospheric compositional moments fuse Trance and Trip-Hop aspects- Dance flavours add a kick and spice. A stronger and more pugnacious rabble, the song strikes and grabs- there are haunting elements. Afraid of the Dark mixes Pop and Country swathes; love-lorn and torn, our heroine is not afraid- she wants to be touched (and sets her mind out there). The vocal is impassioned and soulful; stirring and levitating- it swaggers and teases. With a constant movement and perfect pacing, it is a number you will be repeating and playing again- it shows just what a nimble and eclectic sense of adventurousness Chase has. Showcasing her talented ability to shift lyrical styles, the song hits hard. God Made Lana Del Rey is perhaps the E.P.’s finest hour. A haunting and ethereal vocal pay pays tribute to- and mocks- Lana Del Rey. Our heroine has a similar etherealness and spectral sound; her words do not look at video games, bad boys, Corvettes and shagging- that idealistic and lascivious movie lifestyle. No L.A. roadtrips and come-to-mummy declarations; no collagen lips and hazy trips- God has left Chase well alone. The song mixes with and humour with some stirring and emotive thoughts. The lifestyle and talent the likes of Del Rey present- richness and insistent over-exuberance and tackiness- is investigated. The smooth and sensual vocal rules the roost- the heroine does not succumb to over-emoting and needless shouts. Some singers talk of- and possess- heroin scars and fast cars; the Canadian is a real girl and honest artist (that lives life realistically). Having not been given leg-ups and critical acclaim, she is doing things true and meaningful- if God is helping the Del Reys pull in the big bucks, our heroine is glad to be detached from that. Bruce Springsteen’s motifs of fast cars and girls pre-date and front-run Del Rey- parables can be drawn between their brand of luxuriant lyrics and sex-obsessed minds. Bob Dylan parodied Springsteen acutely in Tweeter and the Monkey Man– for the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys. That song not only kicked ass- it kicked Springsteen’s ass! Wit and borderline-hilarious, it was a perfect put-down and indictment. Similarly, Prefab Sprout took the Born in the U.S.A. author down a peg (on their hit) Cars and Girls. Documenting (there is more to life than both), the track had elements of truth and meaning. Chase provides her own slam and take on this subject- perfectly undressing and dethroning the sort that favour richness and hollow fame over reality. A perfectly memorable end- to a tremendous E.P.- it takes your breath. Having developed hugely- since her debut cuts- the Canadian staggered me with her range of voices and ideas. Topics do not stick to one theme or image; they transform and interchange- covering love, fame and independence; everyone will find something to enjoy. The compositions shift from heady and witches brew electronics to pillow talk acoustic moments- every potent soundtrack beautifully supports the songs. If Chase’s voice puts you in mind of Del Rey, then that is the only comparison- as a songwriter and artist she is a sibling with no related D.N.A. In a different league, Chase acts as an antithesis- she has the sweetness, haunt and passion; her songs have a credibility and universality that unites critics and listeners. It will be great to see where she goes from here; how her voice and talent evolves- on this evidence, she is likely to impress hugely. With such a conviction and determination, she is an artist I will be seeking out more- I cannot wait to hear more from her! After taking the step to record her songs and historical thoughts, I am sure she has fresh inspiration and lease- it will be great to see what her next record contains.

When looking at acts- that could have inspired Jessica Chase- I will get one U.S. name done up top: Lana Del Rey. Whilst actively rebelling against the full-lipped Lizzy Grant, there are some threads common to both. While the lyrical themes and compositions are vastly removed, some of the vocal performances share similarities. The best album comparison- in terms of albums- is Ultraviolence. The album- unlike her previous offerings- has been met with critical acclaim. Commentators have pointed out the confidence in the vocals- something that was lacking from her earlier cuts. The melodies are universally beautiful; the choruses clicks; the music sweeps and swoops- that bold and daring soul mandates every song. Del Rey came across as a bruised beauty: someone who seemed comfortable in black-and-white movie scenes and Technicolor highway drives. Some of her naivety and predictability had gone- the samey and one-dimensional themes and variations- with coquettish sexuality and quasi-transgressive qualities coming in. The hyper-stylised approach- the Hollywood Pop star gave to her music- is less evident on Ultraviolence. The sultry and overstated orchestral moments- of Born to Die– resonated because they were unique and unexpected. Keen to not repeat herself, she projected divergence and difference. The slow-building atmospheres have superimposed Twin Peaks craziness- languid beauty and opulent arrangements came into effect. While Chase imbues more stereo blitz and raging upbeat into her music, she has some of Del Rey’s diversity and sense of occasion- making sure each note and moment is full and magisterial. The lyrics- from Chase- are more profound and fertile; the vocals fuller and less confined. That sweet and breathy undertone is apparent with both artists. The protracted and rolling melancholy- across Ultraviolence- gives birth to some of the L.P.’s finest moments; greasy Blues-Rock (metered restraint) makes the album more prosperous and gold-seeking. Chase provides density and lush songs; full bodies and beating hearts; jagged lips and spitting hips- the same blend that enforces some of Del Rey’s best (current moves). Whilst Del Rey seems like a character- deadpan affections, lispy lyrics; unerring desperation- Chase is far less tragic and contrived- what you hear is an honest account of a pure and relatable woman. Before I mention some other U.S.-based idols, there are plenty of British acts- that have compelled Chase. Ellie Goudling is an apt and pertinent name- one should introduce. The copulating glisten and energy of Lights set Goulding out as a name to be proud of. Our heroine instills elements of (this 2010) album into her own make-up. In terms of some ambivalent critical feedback, there is nothing wishy-washy and lukewarm about Chase’s debut. When Goulding arrived, many praised her lush and heady Electro. blends. Her style and panache set her apart; that sweet-cum-sexual voice made everything sound utterly beguiling and captivating. The gushing and breathless rushes made her songs standout and stirring- Chase has a similar sense of passion and headiness. Marking herself as a female du jour, she (Goulding) rivaled Florence and the Machine and Adele for effect and scintillation. The superstar-level gems had glossy attraction and sparkly Pop- mingled with gutsy Folk and all-consuming passion. Chase incorporates (some of these) elements into her tracks- she has the same potential to be at the top of her field; that guiding and inspirational talent (that is not confined to genre and gender borders). Delicate grooves, blipping Disco and dashes of pumped spiciness defined Lights; the album saw the fog-swaddling soprano seduce with ample ease. Minor-key melodies and brisk Electro. rhythms were augmented by thoughtful and authoritative production values- with everything revolving around Goulding’s stunning voice. The aerated and pretty moments- on Lights– were not too slight; the groundbreaking moments scintillated mouth-watered critics- and created huge fervency and hoopla. Goulding was never content to project one sound and style; sometimes acoustic guitars lead- other times bombastic and free-for-all electronic screams. Chase changes gear and delineation across her E.P.- incorporates Goulding’s most notable and nibble qualities- ensuring her voice and songwriting comes from her very distinct quarters. La Roux is a new name to many- her Trouble in Paradise album is one of 2014’s finest discs. On that album, you can see some key moments- that may have compelled Chase. Having recorded her E.P. (around the same time as La Roux), it is hard to say how direct (La Roux’s influence is); one thing is for sure- there are some definite similarities. Having garnered mass critical thumbs-up- this was her first album in five years- the biggest compliments were directed towards the ubiquitous and unending songwriting quality. Never subsiding or cracking, every song marked itself out as a hit- having recently listened to the album, you are blown away by the constant search for perfection. Almost overburdened- and an embarrassment of riches- the album showed staggering consistency and a sky-scraping set of ambitions. Less sparse than her debut, Trouble in Paradise provided bass-heavy newbies update and redefine her sound- a shift that drew many new fans forth. There is terror and kiss-offs; punch and too-close-for-comfort anxiety- the radiating beauty and warmth is what lingers. Chase instills similar contradictions and distinctions; her ambitions is as lofty and unnerving- she seems to be an equivocal and paramount talent. The quintessential similarity is the range of emotions and sounds. Both talented and tremendous lyricists, a spectrum (and plethora) of witticisms and heartbreaking confessions are ladeled- the steaming and flavoursome soup burns but nourishes; enriches and satisfies. The aural candy of Trouble‘ saw fizzy Electro. beats fight robotic stagger and crawl- the music is the sort that is perfect for roadtrips down sweaty highways. The expansiveness and multifarious switches make La Roux such an endless talent- she is comfortable in various arenas and scenarios. Chase is as viable and staggering when you digest her music- plenty there to suggest she will be a mainstream star of the future. She is as self-assured and convincing (as La Roux); the aural package of Trouble in Paradise is a getaway for the mind and soul- in the same manner, Coming Down is a heady detox that matches fragility and openness with cathartic bluster and upheaval- the E.P. is a creative trip into our heroine’s bursting mindset. Before my final trio of names, Florence and the Machine comes to mind. Led by a flame-haired and alluring Siren; Florence Welch’s nom de guerre has produced some of this generation’s most immediate work. If you are looking for comparisons- in terms of records- then Ceremonials (Florence and the Machine’s most up-to-date album) is the best starting-point. The subtle sprinklings of different instruments- harp, drums and classical strings- augmented songs and gave them nuance. The guiding producer hands of Paul Epworth made sure the album shone and glistened- the entire album is unflinching and deeply impressive. Ornate tapestries and bold, big moments sat with movie trailer-ready ballads and Electro.-despair- ‘Britpop’ mixes and orchestral Pop play seamlessly in the mix. Lavish spectacles and a distinct Britishness give Ceremonials a huge sense of pride. Chase fuses British and North American influences; the platonic lavishness and ornateness sits along augmentative beauty and impassioned rampancy- her songs are as consistent and action-packed as Welch’s. You can see some similarities in Ceremonials and Coming Down– let us hope the Canadian heroine keeps her sights and ambitions high. Chvrches are an underrated outfit that are having effects on a lot of new musicians. Having released their debut album- The Bones of What You Believe– last year, the sizzling acclaim and rapture has only started to die to embers. The laser-precise vocals- behind the Scottish act- made their album such a winner. Lauren Mayberry marked herself out as one of the most impressive and scintillating singers around- Chase has a similar talent and sense of conviction. Sophisticated and catchy hooks mingle with drama and light- the same sort of qualities evident in Chase’s debut. Both acts blend sharp and sweet- on The Bones of What You Believe there was a dedication towards familial strife. The heroine rallied against those close to her; seemed disjointed and betrayed- these shadowy topics were lifted with sweet and hushed vocals. Big sounds and endeavours are explored without irony; ’80s influences are investigated and appropriated- it is a unique and dizzying listen. Chase is an equally captivating voice; her songs mix diverse shades and emotions- everything is wrapped up in sophistication and intuitive confidence. Our heroine is as divine and eye-catching as Mulberry; neither woman takes crap from anyone- both are smart as anyone out there. Interdependence and separation come to the fore- on Chvrches’ work- the bullishness and punch masks some deep emotions and frailty. Phosphonic guitars and circuitous structures made The Bones‘ such a triumph- Chase has created similar spellbind on her sapling outing. The last duo of names I will bring in are Broods and The Weeknd. The former are a New Zealand Indie-Pop duo that have been setting the music world alight. Their debut album is released in a week- the hype and speculation regarding it has led to some heady predictions. The ruthless writing- that goes into Evergreen– leads to big moments and sweltering colours- catchiness and hypnotism do not let up. Whilst it is hard to reveal too many comparisons- as their album is not yet released- there are comparables and similar motivations. Both acts are compelled by emotions, honesty and ambition. Broods have been rehearsing and honing their sound for months; blending Electro. sounds with Pop lightness- instilling it with vibrant beats and some strong-willed outpourings. Chase has a similar confident and personality- she has worked hard at her music and put huge amounts of herself (into it). The Weeknd are among the most impressive acts of the moment. One of few countrymate influences, the solo icon set tongues wagging with Kiss Land– his latest album. Scaled-up sonics and headphone beauty shows a personal and deeply relevant set of songs- superbly crafted and performed with conviction.

A certain magnanimity opens up proceedings. Graceful and swan-like, the ruminative and bubbling electronic parable is fascinating to hear. Both romantic and distant, you get caught up in the blend of tranquility and urgency. As the intro. progresses, echoes and samples are weaved in- discordant whispers (of vocals) and our heroine’s wordless coo are inseminated- the heady blend builds the layers and sense of occasion. The luster or splendour causes obsequiousness and servile allure- the listener is tempted in and intrigued by what is to come. When our heroine steps to the mic., her voice is firm and passionate. With her head “full of smoke” she needs to be helped out of her clothes- instantly the mind starts generating images and possibilities. One part of your brain looks at incendiary avenues- a fire or tragedy has unfolded- but that would be too literal- it is a metaphor for an emotional fire; a state of mind that is causing anxiety and pain. There is lust and oxytocin ambitions in our heroine’s thoughts- having been clouded and weighed-down (by life) she wants a night of recklessness. Abandon and thrill-seeking are ruling her ambitions; that tangible need and longing comes through in the voice- you start to picture the story developing. Whereas contemporaries- such as Lana Del Rey- would beat down a highway in a U.S. muscle car; cigarette smoke and Coca Cola name-checked and ascribed; here there is an honour and maturity to things- a woman who needs some temporary salvation and fulfillment. Not driven or defined by any juvenile tendencies, she needs escape and comfort- she wants to be held “like a prayer.” The way Chase employs and presents her linguistic flair is quite striking- that commingling sense of sexuality and restraint play alongside one another; the words crackle and sizzle with possibility- there is always a niggling sweat bead that runs down a salivated lip. As things unfold and develop, our heroine shows his alpha and emancipated side- claws and teeth show some bite and scratch. Surveying her sweetheart, she has little sympathy or regard- he is looking sorry and passed-over. Thinking the bond was going to be permanent and endless, perhaps some disillusionment has come into play- a meter of naiveté too. Our heroine is casting her net- getting what she needs- and definitely on top- the control and the power is all hers. Needing human touch and release- more than love and longevity- there is a hot and heavy aspect to the song. Usually female singer-songwriters- when talking of love and sex- show scars and broken hearts- they bemoan the lack of passion and commitment. Chase subverts expectation and makes sure things are crystal-clear: she has a determined mind and goal. Between lines, the electronic beats rustle up sensations of La Roux- that emotive and atmospheric darkness provides drive and soul. Our heroine knows- her man- is special and unique; he is not the only one- there is a feeling of get-over-yourself-now; the night is for living. The protracted and ferreted to and fro creates drama and speculation; the song lets you paint scenarios and ideas- it has a cinematic projection that means the Indie flick rolls with each cigarette burn and changed reel. The track remains alluring and teasing; the chorus never explodes or bursts into life- that measured and controlled tactfulness keeps The Only One as come-hither (as the words themselves). As we approach the 2:00 mark, our heroine’s voice mutates and sparkles. When her breathy sweet edge elongates I am reminded of Stevie Nicks- especially her performance on Dreams– when lower it has a strong and womanly pride; the variations and colours unfolded keep the song mobile and endlessly engaging. Never letting her voice wander or needlessly roller-coaster, Chase offers so much fortitude, passion and honesty- backing her striking and earnest words. Speaking to her lover, she explains that there are others in her life; living for experiences and newness, there are no ideals of permanent relations- perhaps she is feeling too suffocated (and defined by her lover). With her man “hanging around“, our heroine (has no intention of) repeating bad experiences- she has been in the situation before; keen to not go down that same path. There is no vitriol or coquettishness: each registered emotion and word is dignified and direct- the intention is to make her feelings know; nothing more. Showcasing some consideration and thoughtfulness, our heroine does not want to wound or dislocate the hero- let him down gentle and reveal the full truth. Transparency and lyrical directness melt to transitory electronic percolations and inflections. Those delirious, delicious and elliptical sonic warbles keep a buoyancy and optimism afoot; the fusion of Electro. and Pop elements is highly effective. The track is never glib or inconsequential; not forced or too insistent- Chase has gone to great lengths to hone and perfect her motives. Vocals and utterances are given full consideration; every note and line is performed with an uttermost economy and qualitative edge. The composition is sparse but hugely evocative- showing its heart and soul when the mood becomes a little tense. Lyrics have filmic skins and fully-rounded storylines; the balance of emotions is beautifully realised- there are no immature or vague moments. Distinguishing herself aside from the raft of ingenue and ephemeral Pop stars, Chase marks out her vibrant stall. Pummeling and Trip-Hop-inspired beats- reminiscent of Massive Attack and Portishead- spar with stuttered and fragmented vocal snatches. This results in some aural expansion; lyrics are put aside as the music does all the talking. Representing physical development and structure, it may represent a new night- and a fresh hotbed of passion- or an interval and regression- maybe our heroine is walking out and walking the street-lit sidewalks. After the twilight rendezvous and itinerant rain-backed street scenes, Chase reflects and seems taken-aback. Not realising the effect (she has on men); the way her beauty and passion can intoxicate and grip- like heroine on a helpless soul- her boy seems shocked- he wanted things to last and bloom. As the shock waves (and quasi-tsunami reverberations) lace into the atmosphere, our heroine lets her sizzling voice into the spotlight. Words like “reload” are presented- giving a sexual and lascivious undertone to proceedings- as she advises (her man) to move on; have his fun and get back in the game. Our heroine has little intention of lingering and picking out wallpaper patterns; she made her feelings clear- she just wants the thrill and the chase. The final moments tick away (as the song’s core message is reinvigorated)- making sure her voice is heard. Throughout the track you are siding with Chase; you never really empathise with the hero- our heroine has not led him astray or blindsided him. As The Only One does its job, you evoke a smile and sly grin- it is a track that captures you with its honest charm and bold proclamations. Redefining gender roles (and the prominent urges of mainstream Pop), Chase offers something new and vibrant.

Having listened to the Coming Down E.P. I am deeply impressed by Jessica Chase. Here is an artist that does not stand still creatively- she is always moving and providing something new. Across the E.P.’s tracks, so much diversity and range is provided; the tracks change course and give insight into the creative mind. From broken love through to Lana Del Rey, the beautiful Canadian shows just what a fertile and ambitious talent she is. The Only One has a juggernaut strike; it never gets overtly angered or accusatory- the heroine keeps her voice and emotions cool and underexposed. You are always on Chase’s side; in her grip and grabs you find yourself gripped by her execution and urgency- that combination of sounds and sensations keeps the track alert and daring (from start to finish). It is a song that could fit effortlessly into the mainstream- it marries the sensibilities of La Roux and Ellie Goulding; it melts their best moments and never comes across as slight and waspish. Before I compliment Chase herself, it is worth noting a few points. The production is sharp and concise throughout. Never impeding upon the sound- nor too shiny and polished- it allows the song a chance to roost and captivate; all the notes and presentations have clarity and intelligibility. Throughout The Only One you are able to absorb the myriad notes and vocals; nothing is buried or mixed too low- the vocal is right up top and able to float over proceedings with authority. Chase herself proves she is a Jill-of-all-trades; someone who is comfortable and assured in all areas. As a writer she produces stunningly-realised and full songs- perhaps only God Made‘ tops The Only One. Her lead-off single is rife with brilliant moments and quotable lines. Keeping lyrics simple and effective, she never says too much (or rambles at all)- her economy and thoughtfulness means her direct codas are allowed to resonate in the mind. Compositional notes join everything from ’90s Trip-Hop (of the U.K.) to experimental moments of the modern-day; Pop lushness and swelling, orchestra Electro. jives too. The same way the likes of La Roux and Goulding have managed to seduce- with their firm and determined songs- Chase shows she is able to mix it up with them- I would not be shocked if she made her way to their heights (in the coming years). Backed with a voice that is natural, seamless and wide-ranging and you get full conviction and dedication- it is an instrument that can summon ethereal purity and lustful sexuality; via teasing tongue-licking and get-over-yourself directness. All of this makes The Only One a packed, nuanced and insatiable gem- a song that is perfect for every occasion. Giving the tempestuousness and capriciousness of our weather, there is never any assureredness at all- tracks like this are capable of lifting your mood (no matter what the outside brings). Swaggering and confident; measured and mature- Chase runs a gamut of emotions and elements. As stunning as The Only One is, listening to the E.P. (will give full impressions)- make sure you witness the Canadian in full flight; take in every song. Having formulated and moulded her craft since childhood; her recent developments point at snowballing ambitions- she has a lot more to say and get out there. The Only One is wholly capable of eradication emotional transgressions; elevating the spirits- a microcut of what the beautiful Canadian heroine is capable of. It is clear 2015 will see a lot more Jessica Chase music come forth.

I am glad Jessica Chase got in contact with me- wondering if I could review her music. Not only is her E.P. a triumph and stunning work; the lead-off single The Only One is one of the most immediate and gripping songs I have . When Chase described her music- how it is a matter of finding space and hitting home hard- you can hear that come through. All of her tracks have that passion and determination; they are in the moment and utterly alive- when listening you transform yourself to rain-lashed horizons; allow yourself to become enraptured in the mood and atmosphere of the surroundings. Atmosphere is what Chase summons up- her music has so much heart and fortitude. The poise, talent and spectacular beauty (Chase possess) makes her stick in your mind; she is someone with a huge future ahead. The E.P. Coming Down has already made its way into the iTunes chart- nestling alongside the likes of Sam Smith and Rhianna, no less. I have such a fine spot for certain moments; God Made Lana Del Rey makes me sigh and smile; it is a song that is intelligent and deep. Our heroine looks at God- as someone providing favours to the undeserving- granting boons to the flaccid and uninspired members of the musical clatch- the hollow fame-chasers. Chase has not been moulded by God; he/she has provided no helping hand- the song investigates religion and success through a striking and unique spectrum. Chase is in passionate and witty mood; her voice is determined and purposeful- it is one of her most memorable and stunning tracks. The Only One is a track that envelops your mind and grabs a hold of you- Chase never lets her stirring and indefatigable talent miss a beat. The woman quotes Murakami; she has a cheeky wit and rebelliousness; a tender beauty and jaw-dropping talent- I love her already! Canada is in the midst of a musical revolution; the genre armies are leading a charge to claim glory and regency- standing out from the artists of the U.K. and the U.S. Having gained plenty of enfevered reviews throughout Canada, many are expounding the wonders of Coming Down. It is music that is more mature and studied than contemporary fodder; the un-fantastic plastic puppets and muppets of the radio waves drone insistently and irritatingly about their woes and privileged problems- societal woes; their no-good boyfriends; phallocratic anger; their declining Gucci funds. I am not fully against acts like Jessie J, Lady GaGa and the like- those that are hardly among the best out there- I just find them desperately effete and flimsy. Their voices hardly grip and mesmerise; their lyrics trend lines of banality and juvenile tantrums- the music is anodyne and processed nonsense. Chase is a nascent development; part of a wave of (young) musicians that are putting the quality back into music. Away from the tabloid evilness and flashing bulbs of celebrity- an arena where many Pop artists love to lounge and prostitute themselves- we have a young woman who understands (how facile and repugnant those things are). She puts music first and has no desires to be a paparazzi obsession- her music and personality will never ever dip that low. It is no surprise many critics and music-lovers have clasped Chase to their chests; embraced her style and honesty- that unique and unparalleled lust and passion. In terms of synonyms and regularity, words like ‘passion’, ‘urgency’, and ‘soul’ are words I employ (in every review)- most of them are over 5,000 words so you can forgive such repetitiveness and verbosity. They have never been more apt as where contextualising Jessica Chase’s music. The passion of her voice and words shows just how meaningful they are- when decrying fame-hungry and deplorable sorts she never sounds more direct; when looking at love and herself that earnestness shine. It is the urgency of the deliveries that makes the music resonate and reverberate. There are no false moments and droning undertones; her songs and compositions are swelling and augmentative- designed to uplift the listener and purify their anxieties. The soul is an abstract concept; it is not a physical entity and chattel- more an essence and definition (of a person’s good and pure motives). Pablo Neruda claimed that laughter was the root of the soul; that which kept existence alive and pressing- otherwise it would be God; a non-existent and theorised entity. In his poem Clenched Soul, Neruda wrote the following words: “I have seen from my window/the fiesta of sunset in the distant mountain tops.” Being a devotee of writers (like Neruda and Murakami), words like these can be applied to Jessica Chase- her music summons up scenery, emotion, longing and beauty. Whatever you think about the soul- whether it is real or conceptual; eradicated or ever-present- it is the core inside all of us. Most human beings- the yawning ones- enrich their soul with family, jobs and ordinary endeavours; the people who have ambitions (and want to live a different life) are inspired by art- music is that which drives the most impassioned and distinct. Chase is an artist you should watch carefully as the year slips away- her music warrants some serious airplay and dedication. I hope she comes and plays London- not in Ontario; over in Blighty- and shows Britain just what she is made of. Having witnessed many of our home-grown musicians- who play similar music- rise and succeed, it is only a matter of time before Chase gets transatlantic regard. I know our heroine will not care too much for comments regarding her looks and beauty- it is highlighted too much when looking at female artists- so I will wrap things up (on a more relevant and pertinent note). Few artists in the mainstream seem to have the full package: that mixture of relatable personality, stunning music and multi-layered appeal. With so many artists and bands coming off as quite aloof; not as incendiary as their can be- when it comes to music- eyes and (bored) ears are turning towards the new crop making their moves. It is remiss to overlook just what they provide; how good some of the music is- take your thoughts away from the commercial and towards the noble. Jessica Chase finds inspiration in natural scenery; the atmosphere and weather- she wants her music to come across like a thunderstorm and meteorological revelation. When surveying her E.P.- and lead single- you can tell just how much music means to her; how keen she is to tell her messages to the world- that will stand her in good stead (with regards her potential). It may be early days, but all the signs are very promising indeed- I urge everyone to buy the Coming Down E.P. Investigate The Only One and all of its beauty and meaning; behold an artist that we will hear a lot more from. As we both share a connection with Haruki Murakami- Jess and me- I will leave you with a quote from him (from IQ84; that sums up our heroine): “Even if we could turn back, we’d probably never end up where we started.” Those words have so many meanings and interpretations; in my mind, they inspire people to look forward to the here and now- not back on something that has come before. Chase is an artist that does not look back or compare herself with others; she looks ahead and lives very much in the present. Of course, her mind is going to be trained to the future; the success (she will reap) and places she will go. Having taken the time to record music- that has been brewed and imagined since childhood- she is fulfilling her dreams and realising her inner-most desires. When it all comes down to it…

THAT is something that we should all take time to do.

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E.P. Review: Play Record Erase- New Colour

Play Record Erase

New Colour


New Colour is available from August 28th, 2014

Wars of the Intergalactic Kind9.8
Heart of Gold9.6
Asymmetry (Acoustic)9.8
For We Are Old (Acoustic)9.7

Wars of the Intergalactic Kind

Rapture, Wars of the Intergalactic Kind, Asymmetry (Acoustic), For We Are Old (Acoustic)

Alternative-Rock, Indie, Grunge, Rock, Prog.-Rock


From a city that keeps on giving arrives another stunning Leeds treasure. With the likes of Muse, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead and Arcane Roots- influencing their sound- Play Record Erase go deeper and further- New Colour showcases just what a distinct and fascinating personality they have. Having only formed this year, the quartet have crafted an incredible and rampantly assured debut


WITH the arrival of a fascinating and distinct new band, my mind has been mulling…

over various different issues. I will raise one now- and the next two (underneath the band biography). For now, I have been thinking of how groups come together; what inspires that embryosis. Being someone looking about for a band- and struggling to recruit like-minded folk- I am always fascinated to see how groups form and come about- what motivates that distinct friendship. A lot of modern-day acts meet by happenstance- bump into each other at a pub; join via mutual friends. In the past, the best and brightest bands were formed during their childhood and adolescence. The legends of song have links and bonds from a young age; enforced by their love of music (a band was formed)- that solid and long relationship meant the music was that much stronger. In an industry where there is disposability (and the need to make a quick buck), the Pop bands of the mainstream are hardly inspiring- as manufactured and plastic as a Hollywood face-lift. I despair when I look around the charts; bands like Neon Jungle, The Saturdays and- God help us all- One Direction seem like a pointless and humourless exercise- what the hell is the point of them? Having produced a myriad of dross and nauseating ‘music’, bands like this as the antithesis of modern music- what we should eradicate and dispense with. Artists that are genuine, talented and (have quality) do not come together via a committee or marketing department; they play instruments and have creative talent- their formation is as a result of mutual respect- and not the need to sexually arouse the 8-18 market. I appreciate that infantile and pre-pubescent minds are entitled to music, yet they seem like wasted currency- their naive lack of knowledge and discernibility means you could sell them a CD of fart noises and they’d go nuts for it. Being a huge fan of the likes of Blur, Radiohead and The Beatles, those bands have common links- their members united at a young age; going on to make music that scintillated the world- Radiohead are not done yet; they have more material in them. I bring up this issue because of Play Record Erase. Having met at Leeds Metropolitan University (last year), the quartet put together the group- they have been solidifying their ambitions, dreams and songs since then. Being a brand-spanking and fledgling act, they are putting together their first move- the sensational and packed New Colour. Privileged to my ears- and reviewers- only, the public will get to examine the E.P. in a couple of weeks. I will go into more depth (with regards the E.P.) in time; it is great to see bands coming together the honest way- with no ideals of corporatism and the lure of marketability. Modern acts such as Ivy & Gold and London Grammar met at university- the two acts share a lot of similarities- and it seems to be uncovering some of our most fervent and reliable musicians. I have a couple of short points to raise; for now, let me introduce my featured act:

Ben Holbrook on Vocals and Rhythm Guitar
Rachael Koszalinski on Lead Guitar and Backing Vocals.
Alex Taylor on Bass.
Joey Heaton on Drums

Play Record Erase, are a four-piece alternative rock band based in Yorkshire taking main influences from bands such as; Arcane Roots, Biffy Clyro and Muse. They formed in 2014 after meeting at Leeds Metropolitan University, where they all study Music Production. The line-up features Ben Holbrook on vocals and guitar; Rachael on lead guitar and backing vocals; Alex Taylor on Bass and Joey Heaton on Drums. Front man Ben Holbrook’s writing style is abstract and diverse, influenced by his love of Si/Fi and fantasy covering slow ballads to intricate heavy guitar riffs. The band have recently recorded their first EP, “New Colour” which follows the theme of an alien invasion on Earth. The EP release date is Thursday 28th August. They are currently performing a 45-min set around Yorkshire playing gigs with other bands/artists while creating a following, planning to get into Festival gigs by next year. Having not been formed for too long they have made a promising start into the music scene. Play Record Erase`s performance on stage is very balanced to compliment their songs. From foot tapping songs, complimented by nice bouncy vocals with rhythmic guitars and drums, moving into heavier riff based songs. The band’s performance throughout the set is great with their musical sound. Play Record Erase, from start to end are accompanied by perfectly matched performance in which they take you through a great journey of alternative rock.

Before I delve into the music of Play Record Erase, I am intriuged about their location and influences. Having been detached from Yorkshire for a few days- I have been reviewing London/Canadian acts quite a bit- I return to the heaving bosom of one of the world’s most vibrant and hard-working areas for music. Being a devoted fan and supporter of musicians like ISSIMO, Jen Armstrong and Annie Drury- some of the county’s sweethearts- there are a lot of great bands emanating from Yorkshire. Leeds is proving particularly striking and fertile. A smaller and less populous city than London, it is staggering just how many new artists are hailing from this wonderful place. Having never been to Leeds- or Yorkshire for that matter- I imagine there is something magical in the air (there); pixie dust sprinkled onto Starbucks lattes- that is the only explanation I can find. Whatever the reason- behind the near-mythological dominance of Yorkshire- it is only natural a stunning band like Play Record Erase have come forth. Being lucky enough to assess several bands (in a similarly infantile stage of development), it always staggers me just how confident and fully-formed their debut movements sound- so assured and direct. Most new bands- true of the mainstream- fumble and stutter about a bit; offer some sketchy and vague presentations- solidifying with age and experiemce. New music is such a competitive and packed market, it means new bands have to go in strong and determined- New Colour is a stunning and solid work (from some of Yorkshire’s sure-fire stars-of-the-future). With so many groups popping up around the U.K., Play Record Erase are certainly a group with a future ahead of them; on the evidence of their debut, they have a lot to offer music. Being influenced by some of my favourite bands- including Muse and Radiohead- I was fascinated to see how these idols found their way into the music (of the band). The quartet mingle male-female vocals with some harder-edged Grunge moments- drawing to mind the likes of Pixies. When more impassioned and anthemic, you can hear some of Muse’s magic. Radiohead embers burst through when the songs drive and captivate the mind; hints of Arcane Roots arrive when proceedings go into Post-Hardcore/Math-Rock avenues. The concoction of multifarious potions are stirred into a boiling pot (that is very much that of Play Record Erase)- the band are the bosses and are not the sum part of their influences. Taking heart and direction from some musical greats, the Leeds troupe simply use it as a starting block: employ some faint hints to augment and flavour their own distinct and homemade sounds. The results- as seen on their E.P.- are dramatic and thoroughly memorable. Having been immersed in recording the E.P.- they have told me it is like a baby to them- you know how much music means to them. I have been lucky enough to hear the tracks; the band do not want the songs falling into public hands until the release date- so much care and work has been put in, they do not want their efforts jeopardised and betrayed. They say Yorkshire is ‘God’s county’- his finest geographical and topologically creation. Having had a baring on the landscape- if you believe in religion and all its improbabilities- then the rolling hills and stunning landscapes have compelled the citizens; spiked the minds of young musicians (to make big strides). Gorilla Punch Radio and Braver than Fiction are two of my recent Yorkshire-based review subjects- between them they promise huge future movements. Tossing their hat into the ring, the songs Play Record Erase have honed (on New Colour) are among some of the most impressive of the year- able to caused excited whispers in the echelons of the music media; excite the tongues of the blog intelligentsia- pretty much f****** overwhelm the eager public. With all this being said, it is probably apt I get down to investigating the band of the hour.

Play Record Erase are stamping out their first fully-formed and realised moments. It is difficult to look back and see how they have progressed- given they are in their infancy. The most contextually apt thing one can do is to assess their current motions- which are stunning in their completeness and urgency. From the very first notes you are stood to attention; braced and tied to a chair- the immediacy and stunning power that radiates is intoxicating. Most bands come in with a slightly restrained and restricted sound- when you hear their debuts. Play Record Erase make sure New Colour grips you from the very start. The primal chest-beating declarations are amplified, augmented and expanded (upon)- its grip never relents; you are powerless to escape its shadow. I suspect that future releases will see the band continue down the same path; make sure they pack as much punch, ethanol and passionate grit into everything they do. Most bands- who would aim towards the heady and exhilarating- tend to lack clarity and focus- their music comes off as too insistent and eager. Little consideration is paid towards nuance and solidity; the empirical truth is that most acts tend to gamble aimlessly (at the start). The Leeds four-piece have taken the effort to ensure they marry the arresting and anthemic with detailed and controlled. There is never a sense that they have lazily put sounds together; been content to just throw in some heavy and hard notes- and hope for the best. Incorporating some elements (of their idols) they stir this alongside a very unique and particular voice. Few other bands compare- when it comes to sound- so it is going to be great to see the band flourish. With their songs seemingly made for stadiums, festivals and sweaty gigs; I fully expect them to ascend to the upper echelons. As I say, it is early days, but their sapling intentions are pretty damn intent- the guys are not here for the short-term. Their hydrochloric burns are those that mark the skin; they leave their impressions and hypnotise the senses. Across the twenty-or-so minutes (of New Colour) you are offered a myriad of diversions and possibilities- the band do not lazily stick to one particular theme and projection. Few acts take the trouble to add depth and layers to their music; make sure the listener is given a heap of information and colours. Play Record Erase set their stall out promisingly; they have managed to craft an E.P. that mixes Hard-Rock/Indie anthems with darker and Grunge-inspired jams; lighter and more elliptical swathes. That rich and diverse set of emotions means their E.P. will resonate with a wide range of listeners. In terms of their development and future potential- there are some signs of where they may be headed. After listening to New Colour, you sense the band have so much in their arsenal- capable of heading in any direction. I can see- future releases- containing some Pop-inspired moments; Folk avenues and softer moments- in addition to striking and fast-paced Rock jams. Their current evidence points towards a very promising future indeed.

If you are looking for any like-minded acts; any that have inspired Play Erase Record and their plight- there are a few that came to mind. The first act I will mention are Arcane Roots. An influence of the band, the new band are setting tongues wagging. Bolstered by Andrew Groves’s emphatic voice, the group inject Math-Rock force and variegated rushes into their tracks. In the live arena the band employ fractal fret-wrangling and pomp anthems. Quiet and more reflective moments sit with exposed songs like Hell and High Water– the group has such a range and sense of variation. The album Blood & Chemistry alerted critical minds. Shattering riffs and maturity sit alongside one another; bursting with originality and convulsive guitar hooks. Whilst not as electric as their 2011 E.P.- Left Fire– it does provide some delicate atmosphere. That insatiable blend of delicate and hell-fire makes the music of Arcane Roots such an explosive proposition. The invigorating instrumentation and angled drives may not hit the heady heights of Biffy Clyro; yet they have the potential to be big names of the future- still developing their sound and ambitions. The progressive tendencies of their music separate Arcane Roots aside from the competition- the unpredictable song structures really stick in your mind. Dynamic time shifts and signature alterations keep their music alive and alert. The band is just as comfortable when presenting slighter and distilled sound- as they are when raising their fists and pumping towards the heavens. In a way, Play Record Erase share similar personality traits. With packed and powerful vocals; sky-scraping and lofty riffs- the Yorkshire quartet have serious ambition and credentials. Whilst they incorporate fewer Math-Rock angles, that works in their advantage- their music is more universal and less divisive. Like Arcane Roots, our heroes ensure they mix elements and emotions together; they are confident and at home when letting the sound dip- and channeling their urgency into rousing and uplifting codas. Andrew Groves’s determined and mesmerising falsetto wail puts you in mind of some of the all-time greats. Ben Holbrook has a similarly captivating and staggering set of pipes- able to make every song sound elementary and completely energised. The sing-along choruses and catchy rhythms are another side of Arcane Roots- perhaps they do not do softer numbers quite as well. Play Record Erase do not present that many calmer and more reflective roots- it can be a murky and dangerous bog to swim in. When they do let their music downshift and temporise, they come up with some stunningly rounded and gripping moments- much stronger than Arcane Roots’ attempts. Arcane Roots are already being touted as successors to Biffy Clyro- not that they are done- and able to slipstream into their milieu. Being a band with such an impressive weight in their cannon, Play Record Erase seem capable of joining Arcane Roots to the big leagues- the sound the duo create are in-demand and much sought-after. Before I mention a run of (other) U.K. influences, there is an American band- that comes to my mind- in the form of Pixies. If I try to parallel Play Record Erase to a particular Pixies album, it would be Surfer Rosa. One of the band’s early works- and less appreciated efforts- it remains a masterpiece of ambition and conception. The sudden bursts of Pop melodrama and invigoration sit with Spanish-themed utterances; big and dark crawls- it is a cornucopia of music. Embracing left-field ideas and commercial endeavours, Surfer Rosa is one of the most rewarding and unsettling (of the band’s efforts). Beautiful brutality and striking guitar riffs make the music come alive- tracks like Brick is Red and Where is My Mind?  are among my favourite Pixies cuts. The compulsive and blazing polarisations stick in the mind. The band’s College-Rock collages see Flamenco snatches fuse with lighter and more redemptive Pop numbers. Haunting and personal introspections showcase mature and deep songwriting; upbeat and playful songs emphasise Pixies’ full potential- Surfer Rosa has influenced a huge amount of new bands. Play Record Erase have taken some of these motifs and ideals to heart. They can act playful and whimsical when the mood strikes; claustrophobic and strangled the next- the group do not rest on laurels or take any unnecessary risks. With such balanced and fully-rounded songs, they match Pixies for ambition and diversity- all backed by their pressing and enlivening sound. Like Pixies, the Leeds troupe employ prickly guitar barbed wire; propulsive percussion; sugar-and-sandpaper vocal mixes- strange fetishes are less abundant (but you feel like anything is possible). Instilled in the music are embers of Punk and ’80s less-is-more production values. Coupled with an innate ability- to create multicoloured theatre- Play Record Erase have some of Pixies’ distinct and impressive genes- it will be great to see how this is expanded and realised across future records. The Feud are a group that have made an impact on Play Record Erase. The band have been around for a while, yet have not reached their full potential- they have the same magic and potential as Does It Offend You, Yeah? The varied music tastes (the band possess) is enforced in their music- that energy and diversity shines. Heavy riffs and energised elements combine with melodic and catchy sing-alongs- the band enjoy and appreciate the Synth.-Pop music of the ’80s. The group inspire crowds to get crazy and rowdy; tap their feet and sing along. The band is one of the most popular new acts coming through; they have struck a chord with listeners and have a very popular sound- Play Record Erase have instilled these elements together (in their music). A band that are sure to inspire new listeners and fans, they have that same ability to get crowds swaying and dancing- touching bygone genres and mixing it into their melting pot. One of the most scintillating acts- when thinking of Play Record Erase’s sounds- is Muse. The Devon legends have inspired a lot of great bands- they themselves have been inspired by the likes of Queen and Radiohead. The best Muse-based albums- I can compare with New Colour– are Origins of Symmetry and Black Holes and Revelations. Those two albums saw Muse develop and evolve: the former was a leap from their debut; the latter is their finest moment. On Origins of Symmetry, there was a break from the pomposity of Prog.-Rock; the sizzling cuts like Plug In Baby and New Born marked the band out as epic contenders. It is not just the raw and unbeatable songs that lodge in your brain- their take on Feeling Good is a stunning reinterpretation; Micro Cuts is a distorted and quasi-operatic gem; Space Dementia is an intergalactic mini-epic. Matt Bellamy’s piano genius came to the fore- later to be developed and cemented on Absolution- and gave vivid life to the album’s finest moments. Although Muse created more grand-standing albums, they never sounded as intriguing and demented. Monolithic riffs and see-sawing percussion staggers see Bellamy indulge his inner-Thom Yorke: at a time in history where Yorke was fed up with his own voice- Bellamy puts his own over-the-top and over-extenuated stamp on that sound. Able to make the speakers get up and dance; make blood pour from the eyes- Origins of Symmetry remains a modern-day classic. Play Record Erase are less preposterous than early-days Muse- they manage to incorporate the band’s most worthy and universal charms. The emphatic and impressive vocals- Bellamy perfected- match Freddie Mercury power; Thom Yorke beauty and Roy Orbison-esque emotional quivers. Riffs and guitar considerations have that same blend of rifftastic-cum-restrained. Black Holes and Revelations remains one of my favourite albums- an audacious and huge statement from one of the world’s best bands. Knights of Cydonia is perhaps the best closing track on any album- that insatiable closing riff is enough to raise the dead! The album brings up issues like political strife, unjust wars; populist revolt- personal revelations come into effect. Whilst Play Record Erase do not contain the same overt political rage, they mix personal and introspective offerings with deeper and more universal themes- their music has similar potency and passion. Whilst some critics derided Black Holes and Revelations‘ lack of depth (and over-use of histrionics), you cannot deny how memorable and era-defining it is. Yes, there are overblown moments and bloated suggestions- by-and-large the album is taut, muscular and utterly divine. Glam, Pop and symphonic classic oeuvres are mixed with one another; the grand dramatics work wonderfully- it is a meticulous and complete album. Rock opera and layered guitars levitate songs; sultry and sexy swagger blends with razor-edge cut- the band are on an equal footing from start to finish. Play Record Erase employ similar considerations: they mingle sexy and smart; sassy and sharp; layered guitars and tight jams- each member has similar equity and influence on the numbers. When Black Holes‘ came along, the public realised what a huge Rock package it was- Americans were a bit dim and slow to absorb its magic- and retrospective reviews pay testament to this. The Leeds crew go to the same detailed lengths to ensure their music is as a full and nourishing as Muse’s- that detail and workmanship makes them such an incredible proposition. Continuing the British influences, Biffy Clyro should be mentioned. Like Muse; I will point to two influential and relevant albums: The Vertigo of Bliss is the first. Following on from a decidedly shaky debut- Blackened Sky– their follow-up was a huge leap forward. From the provocative and sexual album cover, the L.P. presented sublime inventiveness and thought-defying Rock parables. Anger and adoration are blended with authority and conviction; the band embody Indie sensibilities with Rock bliss- the album crackled with certainty and assuredeness. Inventive and haphazard rhythms tangle with awkward guitars- the album is fresh and live-sounding. Recorded over a single day, it is the sound of a band in their element- completely natural and without anxieties and hesitations. Play Record Erase present the same sort of live sound; the conviction and professionalism- their songs unite distinct guitar sounds with juddering drums; soaring vocals and sublimely atmospheric anthems. When Biffy released Opposites (last year) is was met with mixed reviews. Critics- who were positive- claimed how gripping the album was; its serenity and progressive ideologies made it sparkle and captivate; the special and varied songs resonated with critics- many were bowled over by the seismic riffs, hits after hits; the quirky edges and jagged avenues. Calibrating their intelligent brand of Rock; the band brilliantly switched between edgy and mainstream- Pop and Rock moments naturally seduced. The Scots’ take on Fugazi’s heady and mesmeric brand of song comes out in the album; they instill Nerd-Rock too- dichotomous discipline and crowd-pleasing recklessness make the album such a contrasted gem. The last British influence I will name is Radiohead. The quartet instill shades of Radiohead’s genius and staggering songwriting. In terms of albums- just to give you relatable examples- I would say The Bends and In Rainbows are the most pertinent examples. Having been named the most influential band of this generation- by N.M.E. readers- the Oxford legends have made an impression with a lot of modern acts. The Bends is my favourite album of all-time; it is the finest album in history- many can argue; many would be proven wrong. Defying expectations and marking a quantum leap- from the rather mixed results of Pablo Honey– it is an album that shaped music for the better. While Holbrook does not whip out the angst-laden falsetto (as much as Yorke)- he favours a more manly and chest-beating sound- he does possess the same sense of serene beauty and sensitivity. Not some Liam Gallagher-esque knucklehead, our man portrays his own unique blend of softer emotions- funneled through his distinct and striking tones. The band take bits of The Bends; sprinkle it into New Colour– creating some vibrant results. Play Record Erase take on board Radiohead’s cerebral brand of Rock; they turn clichés inside-out and make everything sound fresh and new- the way P.R.E. mingle complex instrumentations with mixed emotions stands them out. There is that undercurrent of melancholy and sadness; the abiding sense and feel is of a band that want to embrace and seduce the listener- take their mind somewhere unique. Like The Bends, In Rainbows came off as a huge surprise. Whilst most assumed nothing monumental would follow Pablo Honey; fewer predicted anything genius would follow on from Hail to the Thief– one of the band’s most underrated works. More complex- and less emotional- than The Bends, In Rainbows was a hugely well-received album. There were no wasted moments or ideas; each track is tight and nuanced- there was a otherworldy quality to proceedings. Abstract sounds and accessible words made the album a stimulating and tantalising treat- breathtaking beauty sat with raw and visceral moments. The studio performances came across as relaxed, assured and tight- the band sounded happy and in-step; gone were the anxieties of their post-OK Computer works. Play Record Erase sound as happy and together; that naturalness and tight set of performances comes across; the group mix beauty and radiance with something darker and more determined- they melt abstract angles with universal messages and thoughts. Although the scenic and colour-filled promise an album like In Rainbows puts through, there is an emphasis on romance and beauty. Even though words speak of comatosed nights, zombies, bodysnatcher, disease; suicide and pain are discussed- the core and beating heart looks at redemptive aspects and love. Words and lyrics worm their way into your mind- including the heartbreak line “I’m an animal trapped in your hot car“- and speak of universal experiences; there is emphasis on the songs- making sure they drive forward and do not lose their sense of loyalty. Play Record Erase have the skill and mentality that means they blend romantic endeavours with vivid and striking scenes; lyrics that stick in the imagination- complex and multifarious compositional elements; the complete shebang! The final band I will mention is Smashing Pumpkins– one of the darker and more shadowy influences. In terms of finding an appropriate Smashing Pumpkins album- to draw to New Colour– the best example is Siamese Dream. Perhaps a heady comparison- given many rank it alongside Nevermind in terms of scope and genius- it is the most apt album draw. Whilst Billy Corgan and his bald-headed oddity spawned some pretty terrible moments- albums after Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness ranged from great to God-awful- on their sophomore album they were inspired. The 1993 masterwork was synonymous with its slackers-with-a-vision charm. Less chemically castrated than a lot of their peers, Smashing Pumpkins’ fuzzed-up riffs were quite the match for Nirvana’s era-defining epic. Although Siamese Dream was created midst turmoil and broken relationships- like Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours- it contains some phenomenal music. Layers of guitars and sound collages sit with consistency and emphatic quality. Ranking alongside Nevermind and Superunknown– as one of the best Rock albums of the ’90s- it is rife with outright outre glisten. More grand than the sacrosanct underground Grunge acts- of the time- the cathedrals and monuments of guitar sounds stuck in the mind- Siamese Dream is a righteous and bold statement from the U.S. band. Play Record Erase make sure their music covers such wide and impressive ground; their guitar notes and layers are insatiably atmospheric and gripping; the consistency and quality is of the highest order- although they do not ascend the heights of Siamese Dream, they have rife ambition and intention. All of these influences can be heard in various moments (of New Colour) but should not be taken as gospel- I mention them to give you an overview. Play Record Erase have their own distinct and well-honed sound; their bond and uniformity is as a result of incredible friendships- the music pays paen to their natural sympatico and intuition.

Germane latency is not an option when you consider Rapture– its early notations are a symphony of intention and unbridled swagger. The guitars strut and sting; the percussion clatters and pervades- the bass guides and navigates. Instilled with a catchiness and unerring confidence, the track provides a contradistinction- few contemporaries lace their embryonic passages with such a fervent hustle. Perhaps appropriately, the first words- uttered by our hero- are “brace yourself.” Telling us our time has come, I get a sense- oddly- of Kurt Cobian. That inimitable delivery during In Bloom‘s verses- the slow and taunting back-and-forth- comes to fruition here. Delivered as a sermon-come-warning, the singer sets the scene- a nearing apocalypse is afoot. Not caring anymore; the revocation of strength leads to a blase and relaxed attitude- as the world crumbles and inflames; our hero is kicking back with aloof disregard. The composition ensures there is sonic fascination (throughout)- the guitars snarl and twist like a Pixies rapture; never too heavy or hard; underpinned with melodic intent. Few listeners will be uninitiated to the power and prowess of the music: it conjures myriad thoughts and themes; tempts and teases- spits out oodles of tantalising moments. Our man looks at “all distractions“; the chorus blooms and blossoms with a full-bodied vocal projection- mixing Foo Fighters, Muse and Arcane Roots. Like Devon’s whacky Prog. sons, the Leeds quartet are deftly able to weave in pathos and humour; brighter strings with more shadowy vocals- that contradiction and commingling adds layers to the track. Throwing so much into the mix, the listener is gripped by its passion and meaning. Human compassion is being eroded and subjugated; the noble crew are surveying a dilapidated landscape- the intensity and urgency in the vocal makes every word’s hair stand on end. Summoned with a blend of coolness and gravel, our hero does not explode or burst- he allows his voice to match and sit alongside the composition; it is well-paced and detailed. As the song reaches the 1:40 marker, a spine-tingling and animalistic guitar growl is unleashed; it weaves and bays for flesh; yawns with malice- vibrates and kicks with bravado. Marrying some of Nevermind-era Nirvana alongside Origins of Symmetry Muse, the band rustle up a hypnotic jam- imbuing it with their own unique and intuitive drama and identity. With a final throw of the dice, our hero lets his voice ring out. When controlled and muted, it is a dark and Grunge-influenced beast; laying in scenes of heartbreak, distraction and disconnection. As the chorus swings around, it expands and opens up- becoming more Indie/Prog.-inspired- showcasing his full range of emotions. As the gamut is run, the song never lets its grip go. It is a tight and muscular offering that never lingers too long; it packs such a punch in under 3 minutes- few acts have such a regard towards economy and length. Quite a startling and intent opening statement, you are primed and ready for what is to come. As the brain-seducing Wars of the Intergalactic Kind makes it way in, our hero is trying to read signs- unable to decipher them, he begins his travelogue with a heavy anxiety. Naivety and blindness are traded alongside double-blind bluff and a curiosity- the vocal deployments matches smooth and sensual with a spicier and more pressing soul. Whereas the opening number ending with a very distinct note- that reminded me of Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun– the progeny starts with more elliptical and nuanced workings. The guitars twiddle and notch; they twirl and spiral- the sound is a Morse Code marionette that has a spacey and cosmic beauty- backed by a pulsed and smashed guitar ellipses, and you get a rich and vibrant sound. “The war is on” is the elongated and pertinent coda; the clarion call and rally cry that precedes a bellicose compositional slam. Letting his voice regress and demure, the band take us into the stratosphere. A swaying and delirious parable is unleashed; it staggers and swaggers- once more- psychotropic and determined, it is a stonewall classic riff. The heady brew bashes the bones and stretches the brain; elastic and impassioned- there is no diaphanous escape to be found. Stadium-ready and kick-ass it matches an avalanche of fire with a tidal wave of hornets- it is the sort of frenetic and psychedelic head-f*** that is capable of healing the blind. Further diversity and subsumed brilliance is added with a Spoken Word passage. Acting as a news report -and urgent bulletin- the newscaster offers some stark messages. The creature-like humans are making demands; unsure what their demands are- updates will be forthcoming. Stepping into Muse’s 2001 clown-coloured size 14s is a brave endeavour indeed- the fact the band pull it off is deeply impressive. Not as all-out bonkers and pompous as Origins of Symmetry‘s most byzantine cuts- Space Dementia, Micro Cuts etc.- it has a feel of Citizen Erased. Mixing the charlatanism of Kabalarian Philosophy with overt operatics, the track is a blissful brain-melter. Our hero’s vocals coo and wordlessly seduce; change course and set up the decibel entourage- one that attacks and pillages with blood-lust intent. With fairly few words, the emphasis is placed on the composition and setting. The notes and guitar slams paint the picture and project the images; intergalactic riffs and snaking contractions keep the song rampant and unerring. Backed by an army assault of smashing percussions- and rythmic-cum-Kim Deal bass work- the band summon a Molotov Cocktail of potency- one that grabs you by the lapel and drags you into its dungeon. Grunge majesty- that the likes of Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana have solidified and synonymised- mixes with spectral Indie touches- the combination seduction dance is an unexpected and mesmerising treat. You can tell how much thought and consideration has been paid to the composition- and song as a whole. It does not lazily play and wander; the riffs and parables are delineated with a perfectionism that is hard to find; the emphasis is on mood and fervency- it is a delicious and salacious outpouring that enthralls and overthrows. Suitable for the Sunday night majesty of the festival circuit, it is the sort of song that could rouse thousands of fans into a delirious frenzy. Conflagration and disturbed robotics come into play; twisted and technological electronics give the song an eeriness and strange charm- after the smash-and-grab bait-and-switch; the song evolves into something more crepuscular and menacing. Subverting expectations, your despondent senses are left to try to redress the aural genocide- Wars of the Intergalactic Kind take no prisoners alive. As the conclusionary moments show yearning and lupine strings play, you catch hints of Pearl Jam and Radiohead- snatches of Ten and The Bends fuse in a riot of celebration and lust. Offering some updates and news flash, our hero looks at the emergency unfolding- his voice has a heaviness and breathiness (that shows appropriate fatigue and exhaustion). The skies are beckoning some killer intruders; the human race is looking up nervously- gotta defend our lives against the invading space warriors. Not done with his missive, our hero has got to “escape this Earth“; get away and find interplanetary consolation. Before we are all brought down, a plan needs to be formulated- you can feel the wrath growing hotter and heavier. With one final kick of the jams, the band offer a concise and tight swan-song- a brief Spoken Word presentation wraps things up and we are done. Following a 1-2 of songs- that have offered so much force, fascination and epic-ness- Heart of Gold provides chance for calm and reflection. Still absorbing the staggering sounds- that have come before- the ebullient and gorgeous burble of the intro. has romantic longing- a bargaining chip against the oppressive forces of rapture and intergalactic warfare. Sun-kissed and echoed vocals have a tranquility and headiness to them- our hero sound far-off and floating. Sounding like he is singing underwater (or inside a vacuum), the serenity and riparian flavours match Folk and Pink Floyd-esque Art-Rock sounds. Never straying from the reliable and tested avenues of space and otherworldliness, the band take their mind into softer and floating territory- the opening moments are a paragon of somnamubulistic luster. Just as you are bedding in for a dreamy sojourn, the composition elevates and ramps up- the same sort of tee-up that beckoned in Gigantic‘s Pixie dust assault. Our hero looks at his sweetheart; someone who wanted more- she has caused him some tribulation and discombobulation. Perhaps declarations are not pained and as wracked- as one might first assume. With her “heart of gold“, the heroine is being given an appropriate amount of dedication and tribute- it seems here is someone who gives more than anyone else. The song’s title is repeated like a manta: with an upbeat and urgent projection, you can hear the breeze and soulfulness in our hero’s voice- he seems less closeted and scared than in previous numbers. As the percussion showcases some cymbal softness and (austere and authoritative measurements); the bass possesses melody, rhythm and heart- the guitar sounds trade wooziness and dexterity. Mingling Pink Floyd’s most ethereal moments (of The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here) you are powerless to resist their charm. After the calmed and restrained openings, the song burnishes and burns with fury- the guitars conduct their business with righteous vengeance. Of course, the song has its loins in romantic quarters- there is no repression or fury here. The swell and lust of the guitars does not scare or fend off- it catches you with its grace and power. Displaying an unending amount of urgency and grip, the band unite in one of their tightest performances. Backed by the band’s heroine, the vocals are given an extra layer of beauty- as they combine to utter the song’s central message. Juddering guitars and anthemic bursts crackles and swell with elliptical pride; the final moments leave a smile on your face- the song’s brevity and insatiable passion leaves you wanting more. Into the second-half, Asymmetry has an ironic title- the song leads with the same pugnaciousness and intention as Rapture. Perfect counterparts and cultural attaches, the two possess the same drive and teeth- here proceedings are even more ramped-up and violent. The composition is a white-hot and lascivious thing- it swings its testicles with scant regard for ethics and refined desire. Pummeling and atmospheric, the mingling of Muse and Nirvana strokes is sprinkled into Play Record Erase’s unique and cultured veneer. Calming and taking the volume down, our hero approaches the mic. Mystique and obliqueness see our man proclaim “We’ve been here before“- my initial impressions turned towards love and a broken bond. Maybe the lovers have been together before- and ended things- and the partnership is not quite as equal (as it should be). Maybe in two different spaces, the distinct lovers are playing things on different plains- the conviction and passion in the vocal performance is among the E.P.’s most gripping. Our hero declares he is caught on the outside; you get pictures percolating and spinning. Backed by a howling and fighting riff, our man is backed by our heroine- the two unite on the vocals to give the track a beautiful two-handed quality. Our frontman’s mind seems weighted and pained; you can tell just how burdened he seems to be- the endlessly compelling performance does not overthrow this assumption. A sense of mystery and openness comes into effect; the lyrics have a quality that means they can be interpreted in different ways- each listener will have their own interpretation of events. Squalling guitars arrive to inject some Grunge fury; the burbling and thunder-storm vibrations give the song snap and crackle. When the words “Was it worth it?” are repeated- by both singers- you wonder what is being referred to. Maybe someone has been cheating and fooling around; being dishonest and disloyal- the amount of punch and underpinned anger (that is projected) makes you think things have come to a head. The voices blend with one another; that message keeps on being repeated- another thunderous burst arrives (as we see our players caught on the outside); your mind becomes a centrifuge of what-ifs and possibilities. As the track comes to an end, you wonder how things worked out- whether negotiations and common voice is arrived at; if things are too fractured and ill to recover and mend. It is great to hear Asymmetry (Acoustic) as it presents a different take on the track- a more reflective and acoustic-led gem. Funky and springing guitars levee the track in; the bass twangs and reverberates with intent. The lyrics and words have a little more clarity to them; the rush and passion of the composition- on the previous number- sometimes overpowered the intelligibility and focus of the vocals. In a soothed and less cluttered environment, you get a more direct and unfettered performance. The beauty of the vocals is very much present; the composition is less determined and overpowering- new contours and dimensions are revealed and uncovered. As entranced and committed to the vocals- and the messages- as you are, it is the strings that compel the mind; that jumping and plash sound is as catchy and committed (as anything else on the E.P.). Showing a more Jazz and Acoustic sound, the song reveals new depth. The ‘original’ is a spellbinding and unforgettable number- the fact the band decided to re-record it shows just how much the song resonates with them. Adding new light and energy into its story, the skiffling and itinerant composition keeps pressing. Our hero’s voice is purer and more impassioned- refraining from the tendency to lift to the heavens with anger. Demonstrating how competent, assured and natural the band are in the live setting, the song has multiple distinctions: it gives fans a chance to hear what they would sound like in intimate venues; how adaptable they are as performers and composers; witness the nuances and depths of Asymmetry. Finger-picked notes and static strums nestle with beautiful and aching strings; the percussion beats like a heart- the community of notes provided is harmonious and deeply exhilarating. When that coda- “Was it worth it?“- is re-appropriated, the duo- of singers- give it a new skin and wardrobe; more romanticised (than spited) you are gripped by the tranquility and power that melt together. In addition to the tracklisting being spot-on and perfectly thought-out, the album’s acoustic numbers- and final moments- are beautifully sequenced. The band do not allow a pause between the two acoustic numbers- the tracks flow into one another splendidly. Like Queens of the Stone Age did on Rated R; The Beatles did on Abbey Road (Side B), here the run-on leads to a constant energy and mobility. Showing they can present and elicit as much power and curiosity when wielding acoustic guitars- as an arsenal of electric ones- the Leeds band ensure the E.P. ends with a softer and more lullaby-inspired duo- after the hailstorm and biblical vengeance of the opening cuts. For We Are Old begins with a catchy and swooning introduction; there is Jazz and Folk elements- it sounds almost like a slowed-down version of the intro. to Just (by Radiohead). Perfectly priming the senses, the graceful and serene tenderness gets into your mind. The vocal here elongates words and stretches sentiments; rather than going for out-right urgency- here a different perspective is offered. Our hero is looking at a subject; seeing if they can see (him) on the other side; “the other side where there is no light.” Falling in line and posing some tough questions, our man is breaking his neck- just looking around. There is some sly humour and wit instilled within the spiked heels of the song’s core; that counterbalance of sharp and sweet makes you smile as well as reflect. Endlessly gripping and flowing, the strings are once more deliciously intriguing and assured. Advising his cohort- or perhaps himself too- to stay inside; it is the only way to say (if they’re still alive). The vivid images and cinematic scenes flood into your brain; as the percussion and strings augment and swell, the song becomes more intense- ensuring its conclusion is as memorable as its beginnings. With an aching wordless vocal line- yearning and romantic- the leads combine in voice; beautifully sparring and making the shivers arrive. It would be great to hear the track expanded and presented (as a Asymmetry-esque number)- add symphonic aspects and layer it a bit. The band showed how great Asymmetry is- as a ‘studio’ cut- and how wonderful it could sound as a live cut. In that same sense, one could envisage the track earning new stripes and glory- were it afforded the chance to be treated and given its bilateral aspects (a chance to shine). Having witnessed six very different songs, you are desperate to hear more- the E.P. leaves the mouth watering. I can very well imagine For We Are Old making its way onto a future disc- as an all-out assault. So many possibilities and opportunities await the band; on the evidence of such an emphatic and endlessly fascinating E.P.- the future is very much theirs.

Usually when an album, E.P. or song has a particular score- a 9.0-9.5- I have a certain amount of things I can say; the paragraph is middle-lengthened. The fact that I have judged New Colour as a 9.7 means I have a lot to say- it is such an impressive work. Before I get down to highlighting the individual band members, it is worth applauding the E.P. in its own context. Able to cause nominal aphasia and stunned silence, it is one of the most immediate and stunning records of the year. Music is designed to heal the mind and inspire listeners. In a week where the world has witnessed tragedy- that has affected everyone- we are need some comfort and assurance. That feeling of loss and tragedy will eventually dissipate; what it leaves behind (and how it affects people) will not- our minds and collective souls desire something redemptive and nourishing. If records like New Colour arrive regularly, then there is little chance for sadness or too much reflection. Being gripped from the very infant moments, the E.P. surprised and shocked me. I was not expecting something so immediate and mesmeric (from such a new band)- only releases by Allusondrugs, Reverend Moon and Little Sparrow have surpassed it all year. I know how hard the quartet have worked on the songs; how proud they are- and rightfully so. The sequencing and production is splendid. When the numbers are harder and heavier, the production is polished (but fairly lo-fi)- it allows the tracks a chance to pervade and shine. Imagining it has been co-helmed by Gil Norton and Nigel Godrich, it fuses the best elements of Pixies and Radiohead- the combinative atmospherics and cinematic sounds. When the acoustic numbers arrive, nothing is buried and burnished- the notes are crisp and clear. Reminding me of Jeff Buckley’s Live at Sin-e album- recorded in 1993- there is an intimacy and closeness that draws the listener in. Many would imagine those disparate sounds are not conducive with harmony- how wrong you would b!. If the acoustic numbers had been placed between Rapture and Wars of the Intergalactic Kind, then the E.P. would have suffered- the pace and urgency would have been uncoupled and disturbed. The heavier and harder numbers arrive in the first half- the second half is more reflective and acoustic-led. It means the mind is bursting and hypnotised at the start; by the middle the soul is inflamed and nourished; the last two tracks grant fulfillment and light to the heart- such is the emotional considerations, you cannot help but be besotted by the E.P. It has plenty of nuance and repeatability- tracks will reveal new elements on future spins. Perfect for the darker and colder days -as the summer nights- there is a huge mix of sounds and genres. The eccentric and unheard-of genius of Wars‘ will appeal to those who yearn for Muse’s halcyon days- when they galvanised their brilliance and seemed unstoppable. This track is probably one of the most distinct and memorable I have heard this year; Rapture has a similar brilliance and hard-hitting attitude- drawing in Grunge heroes like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins; a smattering of Radiohead and Muse. Most bands- who are experts at anthemic jams- are less effective when calmed and romantic- the likes of Arcane Roots and Foo Fighters come to mind. Play Record Erase have more in common with Nirvana and Pixies. On albums like Nevermind- with Polly- and Doolittle; you get some reflective moments of beauty- passion and Pop moments take your breath. The Leeds band’s soliloquies of grace and wit are just as splendid and rich as their fire-fueled wig-outs. Not only does this make their debut such a huge treasure- it bodes well for the future. Showing they’re as authoritative when in acoustic realms- as in the throes of wild warfare promise- the band are adept at mixing genres and sounds into a complete whole. Being a tight and focused E.P., the quartet not only spread their wings- at six tracks it has more tracks than most E.P.s- but remain concise and teasing- no song lingers too long and stretches needlessly. In addition to some masterful producing, programming and mixing- it is the band performances that make the music so alive. Lyrics mix themes of apocalypse and alien invasion- kooky and intergalactic themes that few bands tend to tread. Do not think that we have a Muse-worshiping copycat band here- our heroes nod their head coolly and simply provide their own take on space and war. Able to convincingly compel when speaking of love and reflection, the band show just how much of a range they have- never dropping a step whatever they are documenting. This motility and multifariousness spills into compositional avenues- even more so! Kudos much firstly be levied towards Ben Holbrook. The singer and rhythm guitarist injects so much light and power into the sextet of songs. His vocals never succumb to the histrionics and screeching of Matt Bellamy. Composed and emotive, Holbrook has a distinct and unique set of pipes that means he is a master of overt emotion and dread- as he is when introspective and romantic. Few singers sound at home when they allow themselves such a wide breadth. On songs like Rapture and Wars‘ you get a bona fide leader and corporal- someone who unleashes so much atmosphere and desire. Making sure the listener believes every word- some get pretty out-there and surreal- that is no mean feat; he is able to do it with an apparent ease. Towards the E.P.s final moments- combining with his female cohort- you get a side of beauty and tenderness. Allowing his emotional and touching side to come out, you get the full picture of the young singer. When letting his guitar pervade and hunt, he unleashes a huge amount of stun and ability. Providing perfect support to the lead guitar, so much rhythm, direction and story is offered. Holbrook shows just what a multi-talented player he is; able to elicit so many different sounds and sensations. When it comes to talented, Rachael Koszalinski is certainly on an equal footing. Her vocals add so much beauty and passion to certain moments. Sorry to hark on about Pixies, but the way Kim Deal augments and enlivens songs- listen to their back-catalogue and find out why Pixies suck so much now- Koszalinksi is an essential vocal force- on the acoustic numbers he contributions are sweet and endlessly impressive. Combining naturally and seamlessly with Holbrook, the two make an incredible duo- I hope they blend voices (more) on future discs. As a guitarist she is in a league of her own. In a music scene that is still male-dominated- especially bands- our heroine shows she is as good as her male colleagues. Being a fan of guitarists- in new music- like Carmen Vandenberg, Koszalinski is a valuable asset (to the band)- I can think of few other axe-grinders that have such an ability. The guitar-wielding wonder manages to draw in a host of other names. When intergalactic and robotic, I catch elements of Jonny Greenwood and his OK Computer period- listen to the twisted and distorted moments on Paranoid Android and Subterranean Homesick Alien for a start- and you can hear bits of Koszalinski. She is capable of evoking images of alien conversation and starship warp-drive; robot war plans and starlight fire- in addition to more grounded and common forces. Swaggering, spitting, sexual and gritty; she has the power of a Grunge band leader; plenty of melody, rhythm and Pop-influenced sounds come out- her kaleidoscopic abilities come to fruition throughout New Colour. By no means second in nature is Alex Taylor. The bass bad-ass manages to shift and snake with effortless acclaim; shimmering and driving, he is the backbone of the band. Providing guidance and leadership, his bass makes each song crackle and spark. When we hear acoustic numbers, it is that bass which sticks in the mind- capable of bubbling and skipping with Jazz-like cool; stinging like a suburban viper; few others match his skills and prowess. Able to unleash reverie and delirium, you can always hear Taylor working away- inspired by the likes of Chris Wolstenholme (of Muse), Colin Greenwood (of Radiohead) and D’arcy Wretzky (Smashing Pumpkins), you hear a possible future match. If you listen to the stunning bass work of The National Anthem (from Kid A) and Hysteria (on Absolution) then you can hear they had an effect on Taylor. Elements of Flea’s best work- his performance on Coffee Shop– come out; able to be stunning and hypnotic in the harder and rampant moments- Taylor is equally assured when adding sensual swoon and tongue-licking passion. Completing the quartet is the sticks guardian, Joey Heaton. Having been in contact with him- the band’s conduit for reviews and publicity- I have been taken aback by his passion and protectiveness. You know how much the songs mean to him (and the band) and what an effort has been put in- his performances are universally potent and memorable. Especially impressive on the E.P.’s first two tracks, Heaton does not merely smash and pummel with a dead-eyed gaze- he has a talent and a sense of ambition few others possess. Capable of summoning the bare-chested power of the Grohls and Pearts of the music word- he has an ear for melody, composure and nuance. Infusing some tricky and eye-catching fills into particular moments; changing speed and course during tracks- his thoughts are always committed (to ensuring a track is) as fascinating and gripping as possible. Propelling the band and presenting his full potential; it does cause recumbent sweat. The entire band play with such a kinship and understanding- with the confidence and togetherness of a group with ten times their experience. Each song is so tight and incredible; it is a shock these four mates have been jamming for so short a time- their confidence and talents will grow as the years go by. It means you should keep your eyes focused on the Leeds quartet; a group that have a huge future- grab their E.P. as soon as it comes out. In a week that has seen one of the world’s legendary humans fall- to a horrible and lonely disease- I have been looking around for balm and reassurance; something that tells me everything will be okay- music is providing a maternal shoulder and means of distraction. Hunting around new music, you will find few acts that have such an effect- as Play Record Erase. If you are in need of lift, surprise- and songs that rouse the spirits and contort the imagination- ensure you make a date to snap up New Colour.

Still under wraps and sub rosa; the boys (and girl) of Play Record Erase are excited to unveil their debut E.P. New Colour– it is an entrancing and solid record that demands close investigation. Having formed a matter of months ago, it has been impressive how much ground (the band has covered) in such a short time. Formed from solid foundations- a shared appreciation of music and one another- that sense of unity and tightness is evident in every song. Drawing in elements of Muse, Radiohead and Pixies what you get is a fascinating and nuanced collection of tracks- signalling pure intent and heady ambition. The quartet have a lot more to do and say; you can imagine many more albums and E.P.s arriving from them- their debut signs are incredibly encouraging and prosperous. It is always terrific to see bands come through in general; so much variation and intrigue is proffered by new music’s finest- whatever style and genre floats your boat; there is something for you. With that level of competition being so high, the survival and mortality rates tend to be low. You can always tell when a band are going to fail: it may be a few years down the line; the first impressions hint at imminent entropy and decay. Those that stick in the imagination; offer something different and resonate hard- Play Record Erase are a band with a solid and defined sound. When emailing the band- particular drummer Joey Heaton- you get a sense of how much music means to them. So much work and effort has been expended when putting New Colour together- it has been a hard to get where they have; a lot of sweat and blood has poured out. It is the passion and heart that you can hear in the music- which makes their E.P. such a treat. Were the results patchy and hit-and-miss, you would feel for them- the fact they are resounding and emphatic should ease a burden from them. The band have some work to do in the future (and will look to evolve and galvanise their sound)- there is ample evidence to suggest they will go onto to do some incredible things. Just looking at some of my review subjects- like Crystal Seagulls and The Bedroom Hour- tells you all you need to know. Two bands with a similar bond and unity have managed to make some serious impressions and movements- festival dates and huge gigs. It is not luck or privilege- that has ensured this occurs- it is the quality of the music and the determination that has earned them rewards. Play Record Erase are among the hungriest and most passionate bands about- there is no logical reason to suggest they will not ascend to the same creative plains. I am sure the Leeds quartet are going to want to keep their feet planted- remain realistic- and focus on the coming months. It is clear the New Colour E.P. will gain a lot of support and acclaim- you are compelled and hooked after the first 30 seconds. What left is there to say? Well… it is great to see the university friends commingle with such a naturalness and intuitive flair- it as though they were designed to make music together. Leeds has produced another gem; it is seriously marking itself out as one of the world’s hotbeds for new music- I am loathed to formulate reasons behind this; they just have a knack for producing fine musicians. Before I conclude, I want to raise a final point: that concerns the British music scene. As I look out at artists La Roux and FKA twigs- they are just a small snapshot of what the country is producing. Both bold and arresting female talents, their music surveys love, broken relations and personal testaments- the sheer force and urgency they offer has been seducing critics and intoxicating listeners. Our bands are producing pretty spectacular results. Of course, not all animals were created equally: there are plenty of bum-note bands that are there to fill the gaps- the ones that linger in the mind are showing just what Britain is capable of. So much interesting and diverse music is being offered- by new musicians- that means the next year is going to be interesting indeed. With the Yorkshire mafia supporting its artists; making sure they get their rightful acclaim- it is hard to imagine Play Record Erase having a quiet 2015. New Colour bristles with imagination and potency; that fusion of styles and sounds- all topped off with a thick crust of conviction and passion. Make sure you snap the E.P. up- in a couple of weeks- take time to absorb the work of one of Leeds’ new wonders; a band that are keen to make some rather large footsteps- it looks like they could very well make that happen. Being depressed by the large swathes of manufactured and bubble wrap bands coming out, I always yearn to find something genuine and authentic- a group that understand the importance of a real sound and a real friendship. Do what you can to support Play Record Erase; share their music and messages (when the E.P. is released) and watch them very closely. Here is a four-piece that want to seduce and recruit (as many supporters to their cause as is possible). Make sure you do one thing…

PUT it near the top of your ‘to-do’ list.

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