Monday, 24 November 2014

EP Review - Medals - Dancer


Originally conceived whilst JP Reid; front man of Sucioperro; was on a break from touring, Medals has proven to be a way of expanding and developing JP’s art of mixing and producing great music, with the band now extended out to include Marieanne Fraser, David Aird, Mike Logg and Fergus Munro.

The new EP Dancer  has a little something for everyone on it.  First track I Used to be a Dancer  has a very pop-electronic feel to it.  The harmonies on this track are excellent and the bass line has a real kick to it, which combined with the drums is a touch of genius.

The second track on the EP, Sing on the Same Day Parade,  has some tremendous synths and beautiful guitar parts.  The harmonies again on this track are incredible and the song just continues to build and build into a brilliant breakdown, which is quite stripped back with just guitar and vocals before it all kicks back in. This track is a particular highlight on the EP.

Fingers  is slightly more stripped back than the first two tracks with the main focus more chilled out acoustic guitar and piano.  It is a really relaxing and soothing song with the vocals on this track really making for something special.

Closer I’m Ready For My Close Up  is more along the same lines as the first two tracks. Upbeat and with some brilliant percussion sections and a killer bass line the song features the same chorus line as I Used to be a Dancer  however has a totally different feel to it.

This is a tremendous EP and a great one to wrap your ears around.

- Martina Salveta

Medals - Dancer  is out now via Medas For Everyone and can be downloaded via iTunes.

Album Review - Turning Plates - The Shouting Cave


F
or children born today, or indeed within the last 15 years, the world in which they will grow up in is incredibly connected, instant and open.  Through the evolution of the Internet, information can be obtained freely at the touch of a finger, and shared with fellow humans on the other side of the world with ease, however obtusely secrecy is swiftly becoming a concept of the past.  In terms of day to day life it is undeniable the Internet has enriched human society, but in terms of our evolution as a species, the web is in it's infancy and no one can really know what this man-made behemoth has done, or will do, to human beings long term.

In the words of Turning Plates, "the Internet is the purest reflection of humanity, a world built entirely of our own thoughts, emotions and desire".  The concept forms the basis of their debut album This Shouting Cave,  the title itself perhaps a nod to the concept of social media where users shout into the vast emptiness of the Internet in the hope of being 'Liked', 'Retweeted' or 'Blogged'.

Opening with the appropriately named Avatar  the band begin on the journey of telling individual stories within this grander scheme.  The track gently meanders along until the three minute mark where with a few strums of the acoustic guitar it bursts into life.  Havoc  opens with vigorous plucking which soon are keeping time with piano and trombone in a wonderfully orchestrated piece.  There are hints of Danish alt-rock band Mew at play in this track, particularly in lead singer Duncan Sutherland's vocals.  "They came guns a-blazing" he sings, aptly describing the effect this track has two songs into the album.

Things take a different turn into A Hymn For Our Quickening,  a clarinet led track which soon layers and evolves into a aural extravaganza.  The depth and complexity of the music is no surprise, with no fewer than five music degrees between the band and strong roots in classical music.  Contemporary links are not buried beneath this though, with influences such as Sigur Ros, Radiohead and Mogwai all fleeting in and out of the music.  Next track Animals  opens a darker vein with a sulking feel thanks to the drum beat and reticent bass line.  "Ideas are soft, and we are coarse, we are just animals" yells Sutherland, reminding us not to elevate ourselves too high, before a truly stunning violin laden outro, leads into the first single Falling LivesFalling Lives  continues with a darker mood, thanks to the echoing drum beat and the uneasy static beneath the track throughout.  The influence of Mogwai can be felt here, with the band allowing the song to continue with patience, not rushing or allowing the momentum to wilt.

Wild Roots  acts as a natural break in the album's flow, allowing the solemness of Falling Lives  to wash away before the more fast paced Evil Man  takes over.   Witches  follows, and again to my ear reminds me of Mew.  The track evokes notions of Macbeth style 'hubble bubble' with it's eerie piano.  The album, as discussed already, is interconnected and thematic but each track on it is capable of standing on it's own.  However, taken individually Evil Man  and Witches  are the weakest of the tracks out of the eleven.

Rare Air  picks up the baton with emphatic effect.  A spirit lifting, rousing, heart swell kind of track; the cello and violin joining in harmony amidst the many climaxes on offer here.  The track is a real highlight, showcasing exactly why Turning Plates were granted money from Creative Scotland to release this album.  This is music that NEEDS to be heard.

Penultimate track The Human Isle  seems to describe the interconnected nature of human beings via the Internet, joined across networks, a sea of ideas and dreams.  The mood of the track however, with it's dark cello and piano, suggest that this is not necessarily a good thing and invites us to ponder just what The Human Isle is, before leading out to the sound of lapping waves.  The waves are joined by a forceful gale and foreboding piano as album closer Things Grow  draws a line under the bands musing on our online world.  "Things grow legs and run wild" chants Sutherland, over and over before the track explodes into the kind of multi-instrument jam one imagines orchestras must have when the conductor isn't looking. 

Things do indeed grow legs, and with the intense quality on offer over the course of The Shouting Cave  one can only hope that Turning Plates are one of those things.  Their music deserves to run wild.

- Neil Wilson

Turning Plates - The Shouting Cave  is out now an available on CD here.


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Single Review - Felix Champion - These Four Walls

Felix Champion are a post-hardcore and alternative-rock band following the same pattern of collective geniuses such as We Are the Ocean.  Armed with both a fiery temperament and well-written lyrics, combined with a dynamic rhythm, they are on their way to conquer the post-hardcore forefront.

And with a track like These Four Walls, a well thought out succession of rumbling riffs and rocking vocals, it’s no wonder.  They casually alternate between hardcore and pop-rock with ease.  It is a heartfelt tune which was brilliantly put together and magnified, thanks to the band's wild chemistry.  It is an electrifying anthem to push to high volume and even to wake up the neighbours to. 

Far from being repetitive, Felix Champion managed to be both audacious and persuasive, in addition to be lively yet personal.  A song like These Four Walls demonstrates once again the potential of their craft and their sincere originality.  Their live performances, which are truly pandemonium, are a must-see and their music undeniably screams talent.

If Felix Champion continue to impress and to make people talk about them, four walls will definitely not be enough to contain their talent... and we thank them for that.

Alexandra Andréoli

Felix Champion - These Four Walls is out now via Bloc+Music and is available on download here.
Their debut album, This Lateral Life will be out on Monday 24th November 24th.

Single Review - Prehistoric Friends - Wisdom Tooth

Prehistoric Friends are a brilliant collective who can fill anyone - even the coldest heart of stone - with enthusiasm thanks to their dreamy melodic sense.  Thus, their second single Wisdom Tooth is an authentic and genuine ditty and a perfect foretaste for their forthcoming debut album.

Wisdom Tooth is both a sweet and lively taste of pop-alternative music.  It all begins with a flavoursome introduction, an intriguing and melodious tune, then, as the vocal softly appears, it takes us to a trip in the atmosphere.  As the song evolves, a multitude of feelings are expressed until it dazzlingly climaxes and by the end, all that’s left is a certain kind of hope.

The bona fide vocal gives the song its full scope and the feeling of unity is magnified thanks to the multi-instrumental cohesion.  Thus, the synthesised rhythm is enchanting and displays an honest ensemble.  In that sense, Wisdom Tooth is undeniably an uplifting and mature masterpiece concerned with tradition.

Prehistoric Friends tug at heart-strings but with a pleasant delicacy and a subtle charm.

Alexandra Andréoli

Prehistoric Friends – Wisdom Tooth is out now via Yetts Yeti and is available on download via Soundcloud.

The band recently did a live session for Scottish Fiction.  Check out their performance of the new single below:

EP Review - in:tides - Yours Is The Earth

Yours Is The Earth is the atmospheric debut EP of post-rock band in:tides.  This four members collective, originally from Glasgow, are full of promises and their tunes offer breathing space, a pure moment of mind-blowing instrumental music.

The EP is composed of four epic songs and starts with A Moment of Clarity, a harmonious track, both beguiling and calm.  The soft pace, clean drums and guitars, embellish the song and make it an authentic track, a peaceful melody and a transparent story.

Porcelain Waves is a stroke of genius, a truly inspiring post-rock track which carefully and genuinely matures.  It is longer, louder, even heavier, yet, because the guitar and the drums are in symbiosis, the song is a fulfilling experience.

Yellow Leaves From Maple Trees is full of colour and imagery, thus, it makes it possible to picture the leaves gently falling off the trees.  Thanks to this melody, the band captured the perfect moment when time stops - and it truly works like magic.

Title track Yours Is The Earth is a blazing experience, a fascinating taste of rock experimental.  It is hard to believe that it is already the last song of this astonishing EP but it is a flawless finish with both the right notes and the perfect rhythm.

in:tides produces the type of ambient melodies which will make you feel infinite.

Alexandra Andréoli

in:tides - Yours is the Earth is out now and is available on download Bandcamp.  The record recently won Post-Rock Album of the Week on Reddit.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Single Review - Copper Lungs - Cloud Nine

After the release of their admirable debut record last April, Copper Lungs are back on track with a fresher and louder single.  Originally from Dundee, the four members of the band have a positive energy which can be found in their music and which spreads quickly to fill the hearts of their listeners with a pleasant thrill.

Cloud Nine has a brilliant vivacity, the rhythm is catchy, the voice is easy-going and the lyrics are inspiring.  Thus, it has all the necessary ingredients to become a pop-rock anthem, and it even has a small pinch of indie music, which definitely brings out an unrivalled and spicy flavour.  It is a well-prepared recipe and a pleasure to music lovers' ears.

The song has a changing pace but it manages to be coherent, since it has been carefully structured, and the combination of drums and guitar is undoubtedly well-mastered.  The band have a rather basic set of instruments, two guitars, a bass and drums, yet, each member is unique and indispensable to create this blazing harmony of sounds.

Copper Lungs definitely have an impeccable chemistry that will leave you breathless.

Alexandra Andréoli

Copper Lungs - Cloud Nine is out now via Thin Hippo Records and is available on download via Soundcloud.

EP Review - Poor Frisco - Ghosts

Ghosts is the new five track EP from the spontaneous band Poor Frisco.  It is a lively acoustic mix of alternative-rock indie songs which feature heavily in their live sets.  Their lyrics and sounds offer a taste of candour which, after a while, turns into a certain bitterness and expresses a much darker side.

The opening title track sets the mood of the EP - it’s rhythmic, punchy and straight to the point.  The series of succinct lyrics and the sudden ending make it both convincing and well-structured.  In the same pattern, Brothers Grimm, is a rather simple, yet, effective song.

Carry On and Change Your Name, are two dark ballads, in fact, do not be fooled by the cheerful rhythm and the sweet voice because, behind them, two tragic stories are hidden.  Those two songs perfectly display Poor Frisco's talent to portray emotions.

Riot Police starts slowly and, while listening to it, we are living the sombre short story told by the lyrics.  Although it lasts approximatively one minute, it remains loud and sincere.

For all that, Ghosts is a collection of memories, of experiences and feelings, of people who used to mean something.

Alexandra Andréoli

Poor Frisco - Ghosts is out now and is available to stream/download for free or pay-what-you-want at poorfrisco.bandcamp.com