Rip Me Apart
March 28th, 2016
FOR today’s investigation I get to come back to a band…
that provided much excitement in 2016. I have been searching for great bands this year- among the throng of rather bland ones- and seeing which ones will be making big moves this year. I have been reading a lot of articles that make predictions about new music. There is a fear the best of the ‘new acts’ coming through- those on the ‘ones to watch’ lists- are rather unspectacular and overrated. When I look around the promised artists for this year: There is a bit of suspicion there will be some disappointment and familiarity. I feel the media is too quick to proclaim artists based on rather shonky foundations. Rather than looking for forward-thinking and ambitious artists- which sound different and rebel again the middle-ground- the press tend to look at acts that fit into pre-defined moulds and expectations. While the likes of B.B.C. have tipped a couple of good acts: There is still a depression lack of genuine musicians coming through. Another report I read- cannot remember the website- stated Rock music is well and truly dead. Whilst there is some truth in the fact- it is not as explosive and stunning as it once was- there are some great new acts emerging. I think the problem arising when you look at the sheer number of artists out there. Given the music that has come before- the huge array and invention- it is harder to create something truly original. Rock and Alternative are genres that have so many participants- each of them doing their own thing- it is very difficult to reinvent the wheel. You can find some quality but when it comes to doing something truly unique: How easy is it going to be to find that? We (as music lovers) have high expectations of our new musicians. It is unrealistic to expect something world-beating from every musician you come across. If you lower your expectations to realistic levels: There are some artists poking through that are going to shake music up. I mention Scout Killers- no muted praise at all you understand- as they’re an act that are gaining a lot of momentum. Within the sardine can of the Rock/Alternative market: These boys rank alongside the best and brightest groups coming though right now. Scott Cox, Beau Stevens, Julien Morrez; Josh Ellis and Chris Phillips are the scout-killing boys that have been playing for a little while now. Looking at them- and the fact they originate from the Bristol/Bath areas- gets me thinking about the geography of our best bands. I have been spending a lot of time- as I will this and next week- investigating London acts and how well they are doing. Whilst the capital is spawning some tremendous solo artists, there are few stand-out bands coming along. I find the best U.K. bands are stemming from parts other than London: The focus has shifted to other parts of the U.K. Away from Manchester and Liverpool- two areas that are still giving us so many good bands- the likes of Bristol and Bath are showcasing some terrific talent. Looking at Bristol- and the great artists playing there- the likes of Spectres, Idles and Trust Fund are definitely worth watching. Rebecca Clements, Turbowolf and Groan Dogs make up a list that sees variation and ambition in spades. Last year I had the chance to look at Stand Your Ground: The five-track E.P. saw our heroes create something enduring and hugely exciting. Focused, tight and bursting with epic tunes: It showcased maturity, depth and musical intelligence. There has been a bit of a gap between recordings: Glad to say the boys are back with a new single. Before I get to that, it is worth looking at what the future heralds. With the likes of The Family Rain- a promising band coming out of Bath- growing in status: More eyes will train themselves the way of Bath and Bristol. London is still that nirvana for performance and critical attention: I hope the quintet will come and play here and give the crowds a chance to witness their music in the flesh.
At the moment I am formulating a radio station: The intention being to play brand-new music alongside classics and lesser-heard gems. Inspired by a lack of radio variation- few stations champion unsigned acts- I feel the likes of Scout Killers deserve greater exposure. Away from social media and the like- SoundCloud and YouTube- there are scant chances to hear their ilk across the airwaves. Perhaps it would be too subjective playing new musicians on radio: You have to draw the line somewhere and so many acts would still miss out. That said, there is a chance begging I feel: Our best and most inspiring bands are not being given a platform to get their sounds heard by a wider audience. Those problems may not be reconciled quickly: For now we just have to appreciate chance discoveries and ensure we keep promoting great acts. Scout Killers are going to be releasing their new album this year and it will give audiences a chance to see how they have developed and progressed. Having cemented a solid and crowd-pleasing sound across previous released- their E.P. and singles- I would not expect too much change. What you get from the Bristol/Bath collective are well-defined songs that have universality alongside personality. Those central performances- well rehearsed and compelling throughout- prove just how passionate the band is and how much they want to succeed. Too many bands arrive and do not put the necessary graft and work in: You start to wonder whether they want to inspire and stick around in music. Scout Killers have an honesty and hard work ethic that singles them out as serious players this year. If you want a divining rod that leads you to water- rather than the arid desert that some media outlets guide you to- social media still has some potential. Not as disciplined and organised as it should be- another issue that gets me ranting freely- it is a good way of discovering great artists. Scout Killers will be busy this year releasing material and taking it on the road. If you are a fan of the best Indie/Rock/Alternative has to offer; ensure you take time to check out these guys.
Scout Killers have been performing for a few years now and already produced an album and E.P. In terms of their evolution, one should look back at Stand Your Ground– their latest record that was unveiled last year. The title track shows those atmospheric and magisterial vocals soar over a nervy and building composition. Militaristic drums keep the pace and intensity at fever-pitch. The guitars wail with carnivorous intent whilst the band evoke memories of early-Oasis and the vocals reach exhilarating highs. A song that crawls and bays at will: Few listeners can deny the intent and ambition from a band completely in control. Defiant and against-the-world: It is an anthem that inspires fists-aloft proclamation and chorusing. Elsewhere, Time and Again provides Acoustic blends and lightness into the E.P. After an intriguing introduction you are witness to one of the most cinematic and memorable tracks from the boys. Gorgeous and romantic in places: The vocal comes in and shows our hero at his most sensitive and restrained. Looking at pain, splits and heartache: That darkness and weight is on his mind throughout the song. Being Scout Killers, you never know how the song will develop. Keeping things just below the level of ‘combustible’: It is a track that has U.S. strains to it- the likes of Counting Crows and Pearl Jam can be heard- that will appeal to a wide audience. Those Eddie Vedder-esque vocals come out in the finale, Cease and Resist. Judas Priest-esque guitar squeals back a track that is the band’s Hell-fire mandate. Animalistic and savage: You have a song that is packed with meaty riffs and spectacular noise. In the grip of an out-and-out epic; you get lost in the impassioned performance and immersive lyrics.
Rip Me Apart unites the band’s previous work- more in common with their E.P. rather than earlier album- and takes their music a step further. The intensity of Cease and Resist is in there: The boys incorporate subtlety and emotion into a song that has a lot of layers and fascination. Our lead’s voice is more developed unique- fewer touches of Vedder in there- but still retains that gravel and potency. The band themselves seem ever more bonded and unified- such a tight and hypnotic performance- whereas the song mixes urgency and nuance. The first play hits you hard and true: You need a few spins before all the components and sides coalesce truly. Scout Killers seem imbued with ambitions of success and longevity. They have not created a new song that sticks to their sound and does not move it along. The five-piece have infused new lyrical bents into the mix- whilst keeping the subjects of heartache and pain in there- whereas the composition is among their most inventive and festival-ready. At the heart of everything is the originality and desire. I have mentioned bands like Pearl Jam and Oasis, although to be honest, there are the faintest of touches. If you like your bands to be their own boss- and owe a debt to no one- then keep your peepers on Scout Killers.
Rip Me Apart is a six-and-a-bit minute of fascination. The warped and echoed electronics- sort of an ultrasonic cosmic sound- gets the hairs standing up right from the outset. Almost tripping into Electronic territory- that would be an interesting avenue! – our front-man is teed-up by a percussive smash and guitar strike. Keeping the composition supportive and guiding- rather than an immediate blitzkrieg- it gives the vocals a chance to shine. Those inimitable and chocolate-rich tones- Eddie Vedder still has influence yet our man sounds more himself here- give importance and emphasis to the lyrics. Initial feelings look at “endless lies”, broken ribs and blackened eyes. That violence and chaotic unfolding provoke instant images and speculation. Our hero looks for meaning- the “truth untold” will never be known- with anxiety and uncertainty here. That vibrating and echoey vibe keeps the song dangerous and unnerving. Ensuring every listener cannot escape the unfolding drama- and the soul-weighing predicament our hero is facing- the band unify and sound completely in-step. The percussion has tribal elements and a bellicose undertone. There are pattering beats and pulsating electronics entangled in a rapturous seduction. Riding a charge, our hero is being eaten alive and feeling the force of some harsh premonitions. There is a girl that is at the forefront: Whether a former girlfriend or a current love; our man is trying to escape hurt and pain. Maybe there has been some breakdown and a parting of the waves- a rather harsh and acrimonious split- where he feels “that rage again”. Walking into the “lion’s den”; there are epic images and huge emotions at work. Clearly, there are some big issues and problems between the two. I started to wonder what is being assessed- these visions and predictions- and start to pick the lyrics apart. Ensuring the lyrics resonate and get inside the head: Our hero produces one of his most entrancing vocal performances. Keeping his emotions in check, they soon expand to biblical heights. Proclaiming “This is the end!” you get a sky-scarping performance that turns the volume up to 11. The band combines in an orgy of metal, skin and fire: A startling and head-splitting commingling that comes as a shock. Properly evoking the intensity of emotions- and the fracturing of relations- you have that explosion and howling execrating. One of the most immediate and unforgettable musical gestation I have heard in a long while. Just as you think the song will collapse in a breathless heap; the mood dips down and the calm arrives once more. Whether sarcastic or plain fed-up, our hero directs his words: “Hello there, good to see you again” as his thoughts turn to the regretful and accusatory side of things. It is clear this girl has caused scars and irreparable damage. In his mind now and again: Our boy is glad she got hers- maybe justice or a new lover- in the end. It is a fascinating few lines that make me wonder how the girl is faring. Maybe life has caught up with her and she is being punished- getting a taste of her own medicine- or maybe there is genuine intent in the words. Perhaps our hero has been self-immolating and not been free from culpability. Maybe his sweetheart has moved on and has a new life: This is causing him some peace at the very least.
Given the intensity that preceded these words: One suspects there’s some cynicism and irony in the lines. In need of answers, that quest for truth keeps coming through the mist. Living “a lie” there is that need for détente and reconciliation. Lying awake by unanswered questions- why things broke up and what went wrong- our hero cannot keep “asking why”. Maybe he has kept his distance and being restrained so far. When the composition erupts and that vocal ignites: You cannot help but hear that pain and torment come to the surface. Wanting to march to her house and demand explanations: You start to sympathise with his plight and feel recrimination towards the heroine. The girl made our man a boy- that regression to a fearful and uncertain state- and has taken so much. Making him choose avenues he did not want to explore- and breaking his heart into the bargain- the issue of deceit is given fresh voice and new initiative. I love how the song has a quiet-loud dynamic that runs through it: Reminding me of Grunge masters like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden; you are transported to the ’90 and that heyday of rebellion and leadership. Scout Killers sound like a genuine article: They do not copycat any band; instead, they evoke their memory through their own spectrum. Our hero wants to change places with the girl: Give her a chance to see how he feels and how she has put him in the ground. The deathly hallows and haunted spirits hover around: There is no retreating from the anger and vitriol emerging. Being ripped apart like a carcass in the noonday sun: Every time that demonic vocal brims with pain; you feel helpless to resist its power. The band is consistently impressive and gilded throughout. Those rifled percussion notes are backed by concrete and lightning-strike guitars. The bass drives the song and keeps everything disciplined. That warping and pulsing electronic beat keeps its voice heard: The combination of instruments and ideas gives Rip Me Apart endless wonder and depth. Few bands go in heavy and hard and do so authoritatively. By the closing moments- as that chorus comes in again and the final words expelled- you start to wonder how things worked out.
The boys of Scout Killers have created their most combustible and astonishing moments to date. Bringing in all their previous sounds- from their album to E.P. flairs- you have a song that highlights their core strengths: That unique and fire-brand sound; the originality and innovation alongside the tightness of the band. Our lead has his velvet and atmospheric voice at its very peak: Recalling painful and regretful unfolding; you have a song that would sound much weaker in anyone else’s hands. Able to softly inspire and seduce: That voice explodes and roars with intensity and huge passion. Few singers have such a breadth and quality to their voice. A vocal capable of making everything sound fascinating and compelling: I can think of few other singers that leave such an impression on the mind. Kudos goes to the rest of the band who are at their finest too. The guitars mix intense rage with something settled and composed. Perfectly bonded and intuitive: The guys have that connection and passion for one another that translates into a mesmeric jam. The percussion provides bullets, storms and beating hearts: A cornucopia of emotions and colours; the drums add so much spark and nuance to the song. Ensuring the bass guides proceedings and ties it all together: You have a performance that augments the song’s qualities and inspires the band to up their game. Altogether, Scout Killers are at their most adventurous and stunning. The production on Rip Me Apart allows all the elements and ideas to come together. Never mixing anything low or missing anything out: Here is a production that perfectly bonds the cinematic and emotional polemics into something focused and dramatic. Whether Rip Me Apart will be an album lead-off- or a song lower down the mix- it is sure to have some serious radio play and fan support. Huge congratulations to a phenomenal band that becomes stronger and more amazing by the year. It is clear 2016 will be a year that will see them ascend to some rather giddy heights. Do not be surprised to see the lads gracing the stages of Glastonbury and Camden Rocks Festival very soon.
It seems Scout Killers grow in confidence and commitment with every fresh release. Although Rip Me Apart is not accessible to the public for a couple of months: People should prepare themselves for something quite special. If you are an older fan of the band- and have followed their progress from the early days- there will be familiar touches and pleasing consistency. Not changing-up their sound too much- instead bringing in new subject matter and urgency- you will be excited to hear the guys at the top of their game. Anyone new to the five-piece will find that blend of ubiquity and uniqueness. A sound that could easily slide into the festival rotations- and find itself played across mainstream radio- their songs dig deeper and sound like nobody else. I started by contemplating the state of Rock music and the proclamations made by the media. Whilst the likes of B.B.C. are hardly gospel when it comes to the up-and-coming best: They do provide a useful guide to what this country is producing. This year- when it comes to said lists- has not seen too many bands feature across them. I am not sure whether there has been a dip in interest- people starting to turn to solo acts- but there is a little fatigue for sure. Maybe the sheer number of bands coming through has exhausted public attentions. The mainstream has hardly given us too much this last year: The best music from last year was (largely) created by solo acts. Aside from the likes of Blur and Royal Headache- creating two of 2015’s finest albums- it has been the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Courtney Barnett and Jamie xx were the big hitters. Perhaps our newer (mainstream) bands were too caricaturing and generic: Sticking to familiarity is not the best way to gain reputation and longevity. Even the new solo acts coming through- the sort tipped for greatness this year- seem too honed-in and safe. Perhaps there is trepidation and a need to fit into boxes: If you have a radio-friendly sound- that can get you airplay at least- it is wiser than being too unique and original. I don’t know, but what I do now is that music needs more progression and boldness. The solo acts I mentioned- Jamie xx etc. – made immense albums that showed individuality and incredible talent. More musicians need to follow their leads- not literally; more a guidance- and make albums that impress those who prefer their music with colour and nuance. In the band market, we still find too many acts who do not want to do anything nee. Scout Killers are going about business a little differently. Taking tried-and-tested Indie/Alternative sounds as a basis- they have some clear influences- they make music that is very much particular to them. I can see them doing some good things this year. Whether they will be touring across the U.K. – or keeping things fairly local- I am not certain. What is clear is their musical development and intentions. Rip Me Apart is their latest (and brightest) statement that will inspire other bands coming along. Whilst their best days are still ahead of them- they’re a band constantly improving- all the signs are very encouraging.
Tight and measured; catchy yet emotive: The five-piece have nailed all the key considerations (with regards penning a great song). That anthemic quality lingers within introspection and anxiety: Here is a group that understands what it takes to connect with an audience. Before I get this review completed, I wanted to circle back to the Bath/Bristol bands coming out. I have stated how hegemony belongs to London- when it comes to the best of new music- and a lot of attention is focused here. If you want to discover the freshest and most impressive bands about; you’d do well to look further north. Whilst Bath and Bristol (the latter especially) have birthed classics band such as Portishead, Massive Attack and The Cortinas: The cities are seeing a new breed coming through. Perhaps not as experimental as the listed- not with regards Trip-Hop/Electronica at least- there are some fantastic Rock and Alternative bands compelling me. I have been looking around the radio and the Internet for a band I can invest in: Something special that offers potential for long-time output and curiosity. I have grown tired- as have many others- of the mass-produced bands coming out. Every one of them seems to be tipped as ‘The Next Big Thing’ and is frankly quite depressing. I understand how much competition there is out there- and how hard it is to stand out in a packed music industry- but the media needs to calm down slightly. If you look at Scout Killers, you have a band that has that potential: The guys have the ammunition to be performing for many years to come. The boys do not seem too bothered- at this stage, it seems- with getting their names in every magazine and on every station. They are forging their music and making encouraging steps. It may be a few years down the line, but I can see Scout Killers being a festival proposition. Against the charge of riff-heavy artists coming out- that provide little soul and depth- you have a group that have more emotion and sides to their art. If you have not heard Stand Your Ground– go back and listen to that E.P. – you should be excited for Rip Me Apart. It is a glimpse into their album- I think there is one due this year- and shows new confidence and inspiration. Stronger than they have ever heard: I can see the guys featuring across Radio 6 Music very soon (as a permanent fixture). In the modern climate, that is a…
VERY impressive feat indeed.
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