Friday, 30 June 2017

Futumche! - Gazing into misery (EP review)

Futumche! - Gazing into misery (EP review)

Year - 2017

Futumche! are a 3 piece experimental rock group from Coventry, Gazing into misery is their sophomore release.
Opening with a slowly picked bass line by Jaz Rai, the rest of the band soon join and add to the unique song that is Gazing, the song leaves the listener in a daze as the writing style swaps from a thudding, almost nursery rhyme rhythm to a slow reverb laden sound that switches from dreamy to ferocious in seconds. Futumche! straight away show they are odd but not a gimmick, a sound that they hone into their own, making it their own creation. With Rai, previously of punk band Bad mouth men, and guitarist and co-vocalist Steve Clarke, also of Coventry rock band Superhooch, using their very different styles to create a juxtaposition in tone that leaves a listener intrigued. Gazing ends with a beautiful guitar section that is completely different to the rest of the song's thudding rhythm. The EP's "A side" is opened very strongly.

Misery fires out next with a very punk inspired tone, with gritty distortion, a catchy bass line and Brandon Garrigan's drums holding it together, keeping a steady rhythm as Rai shouts "I can't be happy, you can't be happy now!". The punk inspiration on this track is overtly clear and it sounds great, but Futumche! prove they do not stick to one formulaic style, slowing down into a more gloomy aggression as both Clarke and Rai shout in unison "trapped inside your misery!", all while Garrigan savagely hits his kit. A memorable track, even if it is unconventional from a "catchy song" point of view. The band's weirdness and aggression shines on this track.

The rest of the tracks on the EP are put under "side B", these tracks being recorded in various locations and then being Mastered by Clarke. Laer opens up this "side", a distorted attack of various experimental sounds that is followed by the much more mellow track, Forward, an instrumental track that has an infectiously memorable bass line.
Wait Inside is a strong track, with synth and droning spoken vocals; Wait inside feels like Kid A era Radiohead if Thom York had a deeper voice. possibly the EP's second best track behind Misery, Wait inside is a unique journey that  any fan of  Radiohead would appreciate.
 Futumche! close the EP with Through the mountain, a calm acoustic guitar led instrumental that is very relaxing and ends the EP in the complete opposite to how it starts, showing the broad range of writing talent the 3 piece have.

Gazing into Misery is a surprising and undeniably strong debut that shows that 3 people can make a full sound, with no section of this EP feeling "empty", and Futumche! have made a sound that is their own and no-one else's, splicing together various influences into one EP. Futumche! are unusual but it only adds to why their music is so enjoyable. Futumche! have a promising sound and overall Gazing into Misery is an outstanding sophomore effort.

Daniel A. Clarke

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Slack Alice - Wiseman (single review)

Slack Alice - Wiseman (single review)
year - 2017

Wiseman - Fuzz laden rock n roll that kicks life into the genre

Wiseman is the debut single by Coventry hard rock band, Slack Alice, who formed late last year, in their small time as a band they have opened for Phil Campbell's (Motorhead) band - The Bastard sons.
The song opens with a distinctive bass line that clearly has a fuzz pedal used on it producing a rumbling and somewhat classic sound, giving a stoner rock and psychedelic vibe to the song. Wiseman screams hard rock conventions with fast paced pummelling drums that are locked and tight with the bass lines, all topped by Wiseman's grizzly heavy guitar lines, the musicianship on this track shows off Slack Alice's high quality  of skill as song writers and at playing their respective role within the band, the great production also gives clear clarity between each instrument and the vocals sit just right in the mix, not being drowned out by the furious distorted attack of the song.

The vocals are a high wail that show clear influences from the 70's rock scene and are easy to listen to, not being grating - this being a common problem with bands with higher pitched vocalists. Slack Alive over come this and produce a very strong and memorable debut single that feels uncanny, sounding similar to 70's rock whilst adding a new tone and feel to their sound that keeps classic rock and newer rock fans interested.

A great debut of fast paced rock and roll distortion and high pitched vocals, with a nice guitar solo fitting in comfortably half way through the song. A band that show clear potential to be something big!

*Wiseman will be released on Friday 23rd June*

By Daniel A Clarke

Monday, 19 June 2017

The Majik Bottle - Superhooch (EP review)

The Majik Bottle - Superhooch (EP review)
Year - 2017

A blazing and ferocious sophomore effort from Coventry band Superhooch

Superhooch set off strongly with The Viscous EP, an EP any band would find difficult to follow, however Superhooch have followed up their debut incredibly well, by retaining their unique sound but also by adding in new, more complex techniques to their music...
Fast Cars and Blank Faces starts off the EP, with growling dual guitar riffs from Chris Worsley and Johnny Kingham, but not in a pretentious "play fast to look good" way like bands such as Avenged Sevenfold do, instead the duo incorporate a very doomy feel to the riffs, but manage to keep the stoner psychedelic sound that featured on their debut. This clear new musical influence keeps The Majik Bottle interesting and not just a rehash of The Viscous EP with both Fast Cars and EP closer Lost in the sky feeling like a doom metal song spliced with 70s rock, a combination that proves to work well.

The Lizard is something completely new for Superhooch in that the song does not fit with the rest of the EP, having a catchy bass line by Steve Clarke rumble in the background as Jonny Worsley sings over the top, not fitting in doesn't make it bad by any means, as unique songs show off the creative ability of a band, definitely not the EP's strongest point, but still an enjoyable, albeit odd, song.

Worsley's vocals are stronger than before, and no songs show this more than Stigmatize, a fast paced attack that builds up the anticipation for follow up track: Slow Burn. Slow Burn is easily the strongest song on the album, both musically and vocally, Worsley shows off a wide range and gives off a convincing and emotional delivery. Clarke open ups the  track with, what appears to be, a Sabbath inspired bass riff that is heavy but also catchy, showing off their influences but not ripping them off, a task many artists can never manage (and end up just straight up stealing from other bands). Throughout the track Clarke fills in with smooth and technical bass lines, theses connect and lock with Peanut Marshall's drums that are heavy hitting and fast, feeling even stronger than his drumming on The Viscous EP, as a whole the rhythm section never disappoint on this album.
The Guitar work is also deserving of praise, both Worsley and Kingham play soulfully but technically at the same time. Worsley's rhythm work is heavy and blares through whilst Kingham's guitar playing appears much more based around 70's and 80's heavy metal/hard rock style. These two styles work very well together and add to the size of the band's size, on tracks like Slow Burn it is hard to believe that this only a 5 man band making such a big sound - the two guitarists synch in a way that shows tight musicianship and a good working relationship in song writing.

Numbskull follows, and it is not disappointing, and considering it follows the best track off the EP, it shows the song is worth praise. Sounding aggressive, this is a fiery and bloody track that's tone is made by the vocal delivery of Worsley and the guitar work of Kingham and Worsley.

The Majik Bottle closes with the first single off the EP, Lost in the sky, a track that heavily features Chris Worsley on vocals alongside his brother Jonny. This adds a nice change to EP that doesn't make it boring or monotonous. An odd combination of doom metal and psychedelic rock, Lost in the sky deals with drug use/abuse and it switches in tone, going from a almost tortured retelling of drug use during the verses, then during the chorus the 7 minute epic changes into a fast paced offense that has Worsley wailing "We're dancing on the line drinking SUPERHOOCH", a great reference to the band's name which is named after an alcoholic drink. A great song that closes the EP leaving the listener wanting more. A 7 minute song that remains interesting throughout is a sure sign of great musicianship and song writing ability.

The Majik Bottle tops The Viscous EP, a surprising feat, considering the strength of that release. The new writing styles work well for the band and prove they don't rinse and repeat their songs, easily one of the best independent releases from a rock band that clearly have a passion for their art, all the songs are produced well and are mastered by bassist Steve Clarke, clearly the band didn't want to just write great songs, but to also have them be of a high production value, something many unsigned bands do not do (or can't do). Overall The Majik Bottle is a hard hitting mix of genres that forms 6 truly brilliant tracks, and also offers a new best song for the band - Slow Burn.
Superhooch are one of the best bands on the Coventry music scene and deserve a high amount of attention and praise for their efforts that have so far, never fell short.

by Daniel A. Clarke

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers - The Search For Franks Brains (album review)

Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers - The Search For Franks Brains (album review)
year - 2017

The Search For Franks Brains is the sophomore effort by Charles Dexter Ward and The Imagineers, a nostalgia enducing rock outfit from Coventry.
Opening their album with a bang, the listener is greeted with a booming distorted guitar that grabs attention straight away. God Knows Stomp opens the album and allows a new listener to hear the truly unique, yet oddly familiar sound of Charles Dexter Ward and The Imagineers. Charles Dexter Ward's vocals are, like the guitars, a screeching force of fuzz and distortion, this makes the vocals and strong muscianship intertwine into one. A strong opening track.

The band's riffs are heavy with distortion but retain a bluesy 70's Zeppelin vibe that will sit well with any fan of classic rock. However do not think this band are simply a 70s hard rock revival band, these guys bring something new to the table, especially in the aforementioned vocals, while not exactly melodic, they're hard rock vocals that attack, hitting their listener into a trance as the song booms on.

Apocalyptic is an impressive show of musical ability, the song acts as a psychedelic journey that feels as if it's a stoners classic in the making, captivating and fluent. smooth lead guitars, fuzzy bass and a to the point drum beat. Together this band hit the nail on the head and do their job, particuarly on Apocalyptic
Charles Dexter Ward and The Imagineers are by no mean a one trick pony, they can go from slow psychedelic stoner rock to a full on hard rock offence shown on fast paced gems such as Franks Brains, where the drum beat is ferociously quicker and Ward's vocals feel incredibly focused (a song worthy of being a single) and Merlin's Beard, which is a highlight, the guitars are fast to get the listener head banging along. the guitars are paired with a thudding bassline that is brilliantly locked in with the band. Merlin's Beard is the band at full force and a song worthy of serious recognition.

The Search For Franks Brains is an impressive second album that does not disappoint, it's focused, the musicianship is tight, unique but with a hint of nostalgic 70's vibes thrown in and the vocals - odd, yet amazing. They're a fuzzy screech that fits in so well with the music it creates a flow that will keep any listener focused, thrilled and most importantly happy they just discovered an up and coming band that have the talent and ability to become a new star in the rock scene. Don't believe anyone who says "rock is dead" when bands such as Charles Dexter Ward and The Imagineers are making music. Check out this band.
Highlights - Apocaplytic, Merlin's beard, Franks Brains, Graverobber Blues.
By Daniel A. Clarke 

Monday, 12 June 2017

Mussel Head - Mussel Head EP (EP Review)

Mussel Head - Mussel Head EP (EP Review)
year - 2017

Mussel Head is the debut release by Coventry based grunge/alternative rock band of the same name.
Opening the EP with Monkey Bone the band use a steady drum beat and melancholic vocals that display a depressing tone, but thankfully are not overly "heart-broken" like bands in the Emo genre, from the get go the band show a talent of creating an emotional vibe that is not too whiney or agitating to a listener. The band all come in for the chorus with explosive guitar riffs and heavy grunge vocals that sound as if they're straight from the 90s Seattle scene. A strong way to start off the EP, keeping listeners interested for the second track..

Ache starts off on a much heavier note, then quickly juxtapositions to a smooth melodic light guitar riff with the similarly melancholic vocals, but again this track goes into a atmospheric distorted attack of frustration as the band seem to let out their anger. Ache feels less grunge like than Monkey bone, offering a heavier alternative rock sound that will certainly induce mosh pits during the chorus. The best part of this song is the atmosphere in the vocals and guitar, they connect and land well with the listener. only two songs in and Mussel Head manage to show off their instrumental skill.

Criminal Run is a, like the previous tracks, rather bipolar, going from reverb guitars to screams and crunchy guitar riffs - this may put some off, as some do not enjoy tracks with contrasting styles/tones, however for what Mussel Head appear to be going for, it works. It shows angst, but in a mature and clever way, this isn't a band of 15 year olds screaming about their girlfriends leaving them, Mussel Head are better than that, instead they use bright lyricism that is consistently strong throughout the EP.

Five Penny piece is a strong track, opening with female vocals, adding a different sound that keeps the listener interested, making Mussel Head not repetitive.
The instrumentals on Five Penny Piece are much more melodic but build up to a great climactic ending that makes the song easily one of the highlights from the already strong EP.

Mussel Head close the EP with Foreign Voices, a song that is lighter in sound and much calmer too, it works as a great ending to the EP, with a brilliant guitar solo closing the song, Mussel Head did the difficult job of ending the EP on a strong note, just like opening in a captivating, the band have clearly understood the importance of having a satisfying ending to any EP/album.

Mussel Head are clearly a strong band destined for great things with a sound that is unique but also borrows from the already loved grunge sound, making it easily accessible for a new listener. A great first EP with impressive production and direction, this band could be the next big band on the alternative scene.  Mussel Head are an act to watch.

By Daniel A Clarke