Track Review: FloodHounds- Twisting and Turning

TRACK REVIEW:

 

FloodHounds

 

 

 

Twisting and Turning

 

9.5/10.0

 

Twisting and Turning is available at:

https://soundcloud.com/floodhounds/twisting-and-turning-1

RELEASED:
August, 2015

GENRES:
Alternative

ORIGIN:

Sheffield, U.K.

The E.P. Bare Bones is available at:

http://www.floodhounds.com/music/

TRACK LISTING:

Bare Bones

Walk at the Door

Twisting and Turning

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ONCE again it is good to be with a band…

that are among the most fresh and vibrant on the scene.  I have bemoaned the lack of original and impressive bands emerging from the scene.  With the year ticking to a close, I am hunting about to see which acts are going to be spiking the imagination in 2016.  As I look around, a few stick in the mind.  Being a new convert to FloodHounds, here we have an act that is capable of enjoying long-term success and a glistening future.  Before I introduce them I want to return to two common themes: Yorkshire music and the mixed-gender band.  Yorkshire is a music county that never fails to amaze me.  From Issimo to Allusondrugs- two names I bandy about when talking of bands- Yorkshire is one of the most fertile and productive areas of the U.K.  You cannot deny how much great music is coming from the north at the moment- perhaps tackling London when it comes to music.  I am never sure what is causing the influx of great music (in Yorkshire) but the communities and musical clans there are encouraging terrific things.  Perhaps there is less anxiety up here; the locals a bit friendlier and less oppressive?  Whatever you attribute the great music to; it is always a pleasure to hear another Yorkshire band come through the ranks.  I have been looking at London a lot and stating what a range of acts there are here.  I am always impressed by the duos and solo acts of London yet the band market is perhaps a little sketchier and less assured.  Yorkshire seems a lot sturdier and more dependable when it comes to the band market and the best sounds out there.  It is not just the consistency but the quality of band music too.  Whereas a lot of southern bands tend to stick purely to Indie and Alterative lines; over in Yorkshire/the north there ius more diversity and consideration.  Softer sounds and electronic elements come in; epic swathes and intimate moments combine- overall there is a lot more depth and intuition.  Perhaps I am over-simplifying, yet I find there is a bit more quality and consistency away from the south.  Before I raise a new point, let me introduce the intrepid FloodHounds to you:

FloodHounds are a fast-paced 3-piece British indie-rock band from Sheffield. Their “gloriously guitar-heavy rock,” takes you from British Indie/Rock to raw American Blues and hits you like a British Black Keys, crossed with The Rolling Stones, fed on a diet rich in Band of Skulls, The White Stripes, Blur and Kasabian.
Floodhounds were picked, out of 1,200 unsigned bands who appliedfor a handful of emerging artist slots at Tramlines Festival 2015 and landed the coveted Leadmill supporting Fat White Family to rave reviews,seewww.exposedmagazine.co.uk/music/tramli…floodhounds/

Make Noise Studios captured FloodHounds’ live acoustic session for Tramlines 2015 – see it on YouTube at bit.ly/1KZRBGy

BARE BONES, the title track of the band’s second EP, has attracted Radio play from BBC INTRODUCING Sheffield, Sheffield Live and a host of other local/online radio shows. A third EP is due out in 2016. The band were also picked to represent Sheffield for national newspaper, The Independent’s isessions series in January 2015.
A video of the band recording of “Bare Bones” at Sheffield’s iconic 2FlyStudios is atyoutu.be/24xT906F1kU
.
Storming local gigs at the Rocking Chair and Plug Sheffield, supporting October Drift, saw FloodHounds playing further afield this year, at the Live in Barnsley’s 126-band Festival in June, and 3 successful London gigs in Camden and Shoreditch in April and supporting DJ sets by the likes of Gus from alt-J at 229 The Venue’s Mayday Festival. At the end of 2015, the band made their debut in Leeds, Manchester and Huddersfield and are hoping to cover more of the UK in 2016. The band are hoping to cover more of the UK in 2016 and have recorded new music with early Arctic Monkey’s producer Alan Smyth at Sheffield’s 2Fly Studios, in November 2015.

FloodHound’s new 3-piece incarnation emerged in late 2014, when founder members Jack Flynn – the vocalist, guitarist and songwriter of the band – and bass player Rhys Owens, were joined by drummer Lauren Greaves”.

FloodHounds are comprised of a female and two guys.  It might not seem like a big point yet few bands actually mix gender nowadays.  Perhaps they never did so it is always great to see.  There are too many all-male bands on the scene it can become a little tired and cliché.  Having reviewed the likes of False Advertising- another near-neighbour of FloodHounds- it is great to see a mixture and balance in bands.  With so few all-girl bands out there- aside from Pop groups; you seldom find all-female Alternative bands- I do love seeing a band that strays away from the all-male model.  Perhaps it seems like an odd point to raise but music needs more surprise, diversity and dynamic.  If you have all men/women the sound and subject matters often are limited and samey.  Whatever your views of band make-up and balance you cannot deny the effect FloodHounds are having on the music world.  One of those new acts that are making some impressive waves, their Bare Bones E.P. shows just how stunning the music is.  Much more detailed, enriching and original than most of their peers, I predict some good things for the Sheffield band.  A lot of new bands seem to be too one-dimensional and limited when it comes to their early movements.  The Sheffield trio has gone to great lengths to ensure they stand out from the crowd and are not just seen as another-one-of-them-bands.  As we go into 2016 it is great to see a young act that is on the rise.  Whether they have plans for more tour dates- or will sojourn to the studio for another E.P. – but they are getting a lot of local love.  It would be great to see them in London very soon and rock the crowds down here.  Having read some social media feedback and reviews- when it comes to their new E.P. – it is clear the music is resonating and having effects on the listeners.  Too many acts are tired and uninspired so we should all be paying closer attention to FloodHounds.  With a tight and addictive E.P. out in the ether, there is definite momentum and public demand.  What impresses me most about the band is that mixture of originality and surprise.  The compositions do not just stand still and wander about: the music mutates and moves; it explodes and calms at will.  The vocals and lyrics have a very personal stamp to them and you cannot compare FloodHounds to too many other acts out there.  Inh a music scene that is bursting with some rather limp and vague bands, it is great to find an act that have distinction and plenty of energy.  I can see them playing the big festivals of the future and making their way into the mainstream.  Whatever they have planned for the coming years, ensure you check them out and investigate their new E.P.

When it comes to properly assessing FloodHounds it is apt to see how they have developed.  A couple of years ago, the band released the three-track E.P. FloodHoundsMoving Pictures is a slinking and seductive song that gets out of the traps with Blues licks and calm vocal.  Moving things with “no direction at all” you wonder what is being attested.  Our man is taking his time and seeing what is going to happen.  There are some mysterious vibes and oblique words that make you think a relationship is being ascribed.  The riffs and composition are catchy and effective: bursting and swaggering along, there is so much confidence and vibrancy on display.  A tight and electrifying band performance there is the sound of a great ‘Britpop’ song- the likes of Oasis would be proud.  Motivation begins more sprightly and showcases a stomping and foot-stamping opener.  Barbwire and meaty, the opening salvo certainly raises the interest levels.  Our front-man lets his voice climb and pervade as he rallies against forces.  Bothered by events, it seems certain people are chipping at him and causing him fatigue.  Aiming to leave the city and see better things, there is that need for escape.  Wanting (a girl) to be his motivation that need for calm and stability is evident.  Another tight and focused jam, the song certainly sticks in the memory.  Memorable riffs, impassioned and tough percussion bonds with some guiding bass to back a passionate and heart-bearing vocal.  The Fall starts with tripping and spiraling riffs that sees our lead talks for being taken from the darkness.  A central figure is taking the fall for things and needs to keep an open mind.  Our man is offering words of advice and wanting to prove himself as well.  The track boasts some great little details and sonic diversions.  Elements of The Coral, Oasis and Arctic Monkeys can be heard although it is the band’s unique voice and direction that rides highest in the mix.  The entire E.P. proves how instant and tight the band is.  With no nerves or weak moments, it is an E.P. that showcases their full talents and how great their songwriting is.

Since the debut E.P. – and arriving at Bare Bones– the band have continued on this course and grown in confidence.  Whereas their debut was filled with great riffs, percussion and bass parts; some stunning vocals and catchy songs- now they have taken that even further.  More softness and introspection has come in.  The overall sound may not have differed too much although the subject matter and lyrics have incorporated new themes and ideas.  Having produced such a stunning and complete debut there was no need to radlicalise their sound and brings in new elements.  What FloodHounds have done is continue from where the E.P. left off and upped the game.  Now the band sounds even more urgent and passionate across the trio of tracks.  Whilst a lot of acts stuff E.P.s with songs- four of five songs that can tend to go on- FloodHounds are concerned with concision and focus.  Their songs are those memorable and brief cuts that stick in the mind long after they have finished.  Although they incorporate some great northern bands into some moments- the likes of Oasis, Arctic Monkeys and such- the abiding sensation is of a young band with their own voice and mind.  Seamlessly fitting together and compellingly tight, they have shown just how consistent they are.

The swansong to their Bare Bones E.P., Twisting and Turning is a song that is hard to forget.  A wave-crash percussion/cymbal bonds with murmuring bass notes to create a moody and smoky beginning.  Not sure what is coming next, the band keep you on your toes and build the intrigue up.  Not going straight in with guitars and noise; we have a song that is more textured and considered (than most Alternative tracks).  That percussion input starts to become a little more in focus and make its voice heard.  Smattering and punching through the mist, the song starts to build and accelerate.  That mixture of ‘90s- the best Alternative and Rock sounds of today- and Blues-Rock skins combine to create something instantly memorable and familiar.  Funky and teasing, the introduction soon explodes and ignites into something frenzied and rebellious.  Grizzled and gritty, each player seems to have equal weighting.  That drum work smashes and creates a hugely sturdy backbone.  The bass guides the song and keeps its disciplined whilst the guitar whips up a storm of colour and passion.  Before the vocal comes in, you get enraptured in the composition that ever relents or loses its magic.  A natural head-banging riff and tight-knit performance draws you in and makes you mind drift and imagine.  When our hero comes to the microphone, the early sentiments are curious indeed.  Our man is (asking his subject) to have a look around.  Things used to be “better than this”- whether referencing a town or situation in life- you start to picture your own version of events.  With his voice clear and focused, the performance is determined and strong.  Making sure his words hit the mark; our lead lets his voice whip a myriad of themes and possibilities.  When the words “open your mind/but don’t let your brain fall out” you get a mixture of humour and cutting bite.  It seems like an acquaintance or love is being spoken to; someone that has made some bad decisions or is stuck in a rut.  With those kind of words falling out, you imagine (the song’s subject) has made some bad choices and does not freely let their intelligence get in the way of logic.  The core/subject is mired in delusions and confusions; their ignorance and lack of wisdom galls out hero.  I get the impression an ex-love or relation is being spoken about, although I could be wrong.  That anger and fatigue is evident as the band creates an appropriate sonic backdrop.  Little Blues-Rock licks and bass rhythms combine with the sturdy and passionate drum work.  “Lock the doors/break the law…” is delivered with pace and consideration- words you sense are important to the lead- and there is that building sense of anxiety and discontent.  Keeping cards close to chest, there is never any historical explanation- what has caused this chagrin and events that have transpired.  Whoever is being talked about it seems they had grand ambitions- “you thought you could change the world”- but not are being forced to run for their lives.  It does not seem to be a purely relationship-driven investigation.  Maybe there is a musical aspect or someone close to the band.  The attention of focus will turn the world upside down and be on their way.  Our lead will be right behind them- whether a malevolent claim or a supportive shoulder- there is some contrast and mystique coming in.  Maybe there is a sense of empathy and support although one suspects the teeth are out and there are lingering resentments afoot.  The vocal does not needlessly explode or draw blood; instead it remains dignified and focused on the job at hand.  The band creates a whirling wind of energy that pulls in the varied emotions and stresses of the lyrics.  The composition does not simply strum and aimlessly wander; instead you get a catchy and kicking jam that   makes you smile and puts you in mind of Blues-Rock acts (like The Black Keys and The White Stripes).  Ensuring that melody and musicianship stand alongside lyrical originality and passionate vocals, Twisting and Turning does not relent its plight.  Our hero was young and naïve once; he ate up “every word that you sold”.  Maybe a woman leading him astray- and making promises she could not keep- or a wise elder who has come into disrepute.  My mind is always split between romantic ideals- and two parties in different places- or a musical plight- and our hero being fed falsehoods and deceived.  When the line is delivered with particular emphasis- “tempt all your followers to go and/follow you”- you cannot help but thing of some musical avenues.  Perhaps a false prophet or jumped-up wannabe; there is that recrimination and annoyance in the lyrics.  Maybe someone who is not what they are cracked up to be, Jack Flynn’s words seem his most personal and important (on the E.P.).  It is his vocal and guitar work that manages to convey this anger and irritation to the full.  Constantly supported by some exceptional production- that perfectly blends the instruments and ensures each note resonates fully- his bandmates perfectly support the lead’s plight and add huge force and nuance to proceedings.  Lines such as “light a match and watch it fade” are delivered you feel there is perfects over-ambition- a musician with ideas above their station- or maybe a relation that has fallen foul.  Throughout, there is that split-meaning and obliqueness that puts your thoughts in two camps.  The final moments see the instrumentation come into play- after the chorus comes around once more- and demonstrates how tight and close-knit the band is.  Those percussion sounds create a tense and nervy heartbeat; something that hisses and bites.  The bass creates melody and rhythm whilst driving the overt emotion and anger through.  Our lead’s voice-and-guitar combination aptly promotes a sense of hostility and judgment without being preachy or overly-cruel.  With that chorus making its voice heard one final time- and gaining extra relevance and potential- you have a song that leaves some questions hanging whilst answering a lot.

Twisting and Turning is a track that undresses and highlight’s a subject that has caused heartache and seems to have caused a lot of problems.  Initially I was thinking of a relationship that has gone sour perhaps.  As the song progresses- and the lyrics start to expand and progress- it seems like a male counterpart or colleague is being addressed.  It is that mystery and openness that makes the song such an interesting and dramatic thing.  Jack Flynn has written one of his most personal and memorable tracks to date.  A song that can be understood by all- we have all found ourselves with similar concerns- his pen and sharp tongue are at their finest here.  That inimitable and stunning guitar work ensures each word and thought is given the maximum degree of venom and potential.  Not just reserved to attack and drive, the guitars manage to go from Blues-Rock catchiness to something more restrained and calmed.  Rhys Owen lets his bass guide the song and ensure it does not become undisciplined and unfocused.  Creating melody and drive, the bass keeps the layers together and drives the vocal into the bargain.  One of his best performances on record, it would be good to hear more of Owen in the future.  Lauren Greaves ensures her drums are not pushed to the background with a performance that is packed with pummel, gravity and melody.  Managing to summon all sorts of possibilities and emotions- she is adept at changing course and conjecture to match the lyrics- you have a drummer with great imagination and strength.  The entire band combines wonderful throughout to deliver a song that is packed with nuance and stunning moments.  You will find yourself visiting it again and again to capture little bits and pieces.  Once the full force does take effect, ensure you investigate the rest of Bare Bones.  Special mention to the producer, engineer and sound guys who ensure the song is perfectly blended and put-together.  Each instrument and layer is perfectly realised to ensure it is not just the vocal that stands out- the entire sound is promoted and given a necessary spotlight.  Few bands get that balance right- ensuring the vocal is not mixed too low down and the sound is crisp- yet FloodHounds have a sound that is professional without being too polished and fake.  Plenty of grit and grime is allowed without the proceedings sounding amateur and insincere.  A terrific accomplishment from a young band with many years ahead of them.

I opened by saying how few bands stick in the mind and how few original ones there are.  In London and the south we have a few great acts, yet when it comes to those who stick in the mind, I feel Yorkshire and the north are really leading that charge.  I was amazed by FloodHounds’ debut E.P. and was surprised to see they have topped themselves this time around.  Bare Bones is even sharper and more addictive than the debut: bristling with ideas, confidence and commitment; you cannot deny these guys are on the way to something special.  With a sound that is ready-made for the festival stages, it will be great to see where they head now.  The band market is the most competitive and full there is at the moment.  Every week we are witness to new acts coming through which can make it hard deciphering which are worth sticking with.  Sometimes geographical proximity and media recommendations lead us to music; it is hard to really discover all the best acts out there.  Luckily social media can come to the rescue a lot and point you towards some real treats.  Twisting and Turning is a snapshot of a young band that mean serious business.  You can hear that determination and passion in every note and throughout every line.  A group that love music and have soaked in a lot of its best moments; who would bet against them going all the way?  Although these are the early days for them- and they have their best days ahead- it will be great to see them on the big stages.  Gathering a lot of kudos and support from the local crowds they have a sound that translates across the globe and can be appreciated by all.  Let’s hope the Sheffield three-piece carry this momentum into 2016 because if they do, they have the potential to be one of the best upcoming acts about.  Before finishing, it is worth going back to my original points about Yorkshire and mixed-gender bands- perhaps pulling in production and the nature of sound.  Yorkshire is once more showcasing just how much of a music hotspot it really is.  I am not sure whether it is the landscapes, communities or fellow musicians that have promoted this productivity and quality.  As mist eyes look at London- the media tends to focus here too- more eyes should be cast towards Yorkshire and the north.  Perhaps it is a coincidence, yet I would be fascinated to see why Yorkshire is producing so many great acts.  When speaking with Damien Hughes- part of the Leeds band Allusondrugs- I posed the same question.  He said there was less anxiety and strain up there.  The lesser population numbers- consider the crowd and bustle of London- there is certain levity and degree of space there that can translate to musical freedom.  The friendliness and community musicians show (in the north) is also a factor as is the lack of pressure from the media.  Whatever the reasons behind the trend, it is great to see FloodHounds come into the fold and do their thing.  With their boy-girl formation- bucking a trend of all-male acts out there- we have a band that certainly mean business.  Like Echo Boom Generation and False Advertising- two bands that have boy-girl make-up- the sound is harder and heavier.  Crafting riffs and memorable compositions is no mean feat, yet the Sheffield band makes it sound completely natural and effortless.  Kudos must go to the production, engineering and mixing of FloodHounds’ sound.  Few reviewers and fans take the trouble to investigate the actually sound of a record.  The people behind the scenes make such an impact on the overall sound.  FloodHounds’ music is tight, measured and wonderfully produced.  Without the expertise and guidance of producers and engineers, you would have a very different sound on your hand.  It is perhaps an odd point to finish on but it is vital when it comes to FloodHounds.  That radiant and wonderful sound- that mixes Blues-Rock stylings of The Black Keys with ‘90s glories- into something original and daring.  Ensure you take time out to listen to one of the best British bands coming through at the moment.  Twisting and Turning is a brief window into a young band with a lot more to say.  In a music world that is being crowded with bands and artists ensure you stay close to…

A group that will go a very long way indeed.

 

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Follow FloodHounds:

 

Official:

http://www.floodhounds.com/#homepage-section

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/FloodHounds/?fref=ts

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/FloodHounds

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/floodhounds/

 ________________________________

Music:

https://soundcloud.com/floodhounds

______________________________

Videos:

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

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