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Carrie Tree at the main stage of Sunrise Celebration Festival 2nd June 2007 - Picture by UseYourEars.com
Pic Title: Carrie Tree at Sunrise Festival
Poster: MusicMan
Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 8:06 pm
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[ Album ]
 †Poq - Red Admiral Reply to this News Item Print this Topic E-Mail this Topic
Posted on Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:27 pm by HelenGroom
REVIEWS Poq, and indie electronic four piece from Wales have been winning air play and plaudits all round, and have just released their first single on Housefly Records.

The attention is fully deserved, as these boys have come up with a sweet, intriguing electro-pop sound that makes you itch with anticipation for the full album, due some time next year.

First single Red Admiral somehow blends old fashioned pop sensibilities, with a buzzing synth line that makes you want to both close your eyes space out, and at the same time, throw ridiculous shapes on the dance floor.

But Disko is the stand out track here, with echos of the best of Hot Chip, Tunng and previous Poq demo, The Hitec. It has a great, dirty, hook, with a soft vocal and strummed guitars on the top, with the juxtaposition working brilliantly.

Safe In The Ground has the same gentle-yet-funky feel to it. The whole effect is to leave you wanting to hear more, and to see them live as soon as humanly possible.

Find out more at www.myspace.com/poq or www.houseflyrecords.com.

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 †FictionPlane - Left Side of the Brain Reply to this News Item Print this Topic E-Mail this Topic
Posted on Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:24 pm by HelenGroom
REVIEWS FictionPlane - Left Side of the Brain

Kicking off with a funk-inspired base line on impressive opener Anyone, FictionPlaneís Left Side of the Brain is a somewhat mixed bag.

There is a lot to like here, and a lot that promises more, but it feels a tad disjointed. The influences are varied and easily identified, but there is little to put your finger on and say is a definitive FictionPlane sound.

That said, FictionPlane sound like a band with stadium-filling ambitions, making songs with a big, sophisticated sound. Everything here has a slick, polished, modern rock, easy-to-like feel to it, and just screams radio-friendly. But equally, there is nothing here to reach out and grab you by the throat and force you to listen. You get the feeling, given luck and the right circumstances, that they could morph into a giant, radio-conquering leviathan of a band, or they could just as easily slip away.

The vocal line on Death Machine is frankly disconcerting, so much does Joe Sumner sound like dad Sting, but donít let the dead vocal ringer disguise the fact that it is a great voice, and a great track. Sumner keeps the melody strong on top of some ferocious rock guitar.

Anyone sets the tone for a strong opening section of the album, and the white reggae-influenced Two Sisters bounces along nicely, even if the subject matter feels a bit tired.

Ultimately, it is the filler tracks in the middle of the album that let the whole down. Title track Left Side of the Brain, Cold Water Symmetry and Running the Country all wash over you in a crowd of indifference.

Drink, on the other hand, provides a lovely mellow interlude, and Cross the Line, with its shout out chorus, and Fake Light from the Sun, with its melanchony tones, provide a strong finish.

Itís a fine album, with nothing to majorly dislike, but equally, little to grab on to. It is a well-accomplished album, slick, enjoyable and well-produced, but on balance, slightly faceless.

www.myspace.com/fictionplane

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 †Lucius - Say It Again Reply to this News Item Print this Topic E-Mail this Topic
Posted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:19 pm by HelenGroom
REVIEWS Say It Again by Lucius begins promisingly enough, but unfortunately never lives up to its first few bars. It is a straight-forward rock track, which, while competent, will not linger on the mind of most listeners.

The guitar line is the most interesting thing here, with changes of pace, and strong riffs, but the vocal and the lyrics really let this track down. The chorus feels overly repetitive and yet bland at the same time, probably not the combination they were aiming at.

Lucius, a three-piece from Wales consisting of Luke Morgan, Mike Gibson and Stuart Moore, formed initially as a solo project in late 2004 before expanding to the current line-up.

Make up your own mind at www.luciusmusic.co.uk or www.myspace.com/luciusmusic. Say It Again was released on October 29th on Ditto Music.

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 †Axisgallery - Boy Cum Over Reply to this News Item Print this Topic E-Mail this Topic
Posted on Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:17 pm by HelenGroom
REVIEWS You get the impression when listening to this track that Axisgallery wanted to pack every musical idea they have ever had into just four minutes. Which would be a bit difficult seeing their English-Italian background and international smorgasbord of influences.

The result? A track which bounces wildly between musical genres, leaving you quite excited by what youíve heard, but actually a bit confused.

Beginning with some nice, dirty electronic sounds, the vocal kicks in gradually, and everything is sounding good. But then the vocal starts going off course a bit and some wailing guitar kicks in and youíre not really sure where Boy Cum Over is going. There is an extended wondering middle period, before the electro comes back a bit more, and then the song meanders its way into the twilight.

It is a complete mish mash, but at least it is interesting to listen to. It shows ambition, and was the vocal less amateur sounding, and the guitar left to men in tight leather trousers, this could have been something really special. As it is, well, there is hope for better things to come.

Find out more at www.myspace.com/axisgallery or www.axisgallery.co.uk. The band have just released their second album Digital Orgasm, and tracks can be downloaded from iTunes.

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 †Make It Better Later Reply to this News Item Print this Topic E-Mail this Topic
Posted on Tue Oct 16, 2007 11:14 pm by HelenGroom
REVIEWS Make It Better Later Ė Music By Numbers

How do you describe a band which manages to combine ska, reggae influences, blisteringly fast lyrics, a smattering of punk sounds, and a violin?

As if their smorgasbord of influences of sounds is not enough, the music also ranges from gritty political issues to songs about Ninjas, starting off their debut, self-produced album Music By Numbers with Headlines and Lies, of which you can guess the subject matter.

For most of the way through it is not the most lyrically sophisticated or polished of albums, but then along comes Pirate Song, which depending on your leaning in political spheres, is either genius wrapped up in a sea shanty, or a deeply offensive music analogy.

One of the more charming tracks here is Guys Canít Dance, which sounds quite poppy really. Just watch out for the falsetto at the end, which is swiftly followed by an audio gem in the form of South Parkís Cartman introducing Eric, a song rather forgettable apart from the guest appearance.

No Credit sounds like a more frenetic version of something Sugar Ray or Fountains of Wayne might have produced, mixing a delight in the minutiae of life with a poppy sound. The changes in tempo throughout do keep catching the listener off guard though.

Clive, with its electro distort on the chorus also provides a welcome change in pace, and with lyrics including Scallies, pink drinks and alien fur, is well worth a listen.

Ones to skip over are One Too Many and So Indifferent, which really does speak for itself. Soul Train, far from recapturing the brilliance of the US TV show, is dreary, tiresome, and makes you not want to listen to the rest of the album.

Music By Numbers certainly has charm, but the album has a distracting rough-at-the edges feel to it. The band makes a point of emphasising their rapid journey from formation, to EP, to touring to an album. Unfortunately, they could perhaps have benefited from taking a bit more time over the whole thing.

Released in July, the album is available on Periphony Records/Party House through www.myspace.com/makeitbetterlater and www.makeitbetterlater.com.

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 †The Deodates Reply to this News Item Print this Topic E-Mail this Topic
Posted on Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:16 pm by HelenGroom
REVIEWS Radio-friendly, mildly amusing, summery sounding, if not utterly ground breaking, The Deodates have produced an entertaining and catchy track in Before The Bench.

Treading a fine line between feeling slightly chaotic at the same time as achieving a tight, together sound, their songs are drenched with punk and soul-influences. It is not fancy by any means, but you get the feeling that they had damn good fun recording it, and in turn, itís music that makes you feel good as you listen to it.

The Salford-based duo has also come up trumps with Hippy Crack, another one which definitely gets your feet tapping. Their live, funky, energetic sound should see them being a crowd winner, as well as bothering AC radio playlists at some not too distant point.

Before The Bench/Hippy Crack is available on Taboo Music through iTunes, and you can find out more about the band at www.myspace.com/thedeodates.

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 †The Crucible Reply to this News Item Print this Topic E-Mail this Topic
Posted on Mon Oct 15, 2007 10:15 pm by HelenGroom
REVIEWS Who said prog rock was dead? Not in the slightest if The Crucible have anything to do with it. Coming across as the love children of Pink Floyd and The Stone Roses, this will not be for everyone.

Single Maybe Reality, One Day can sound a bit tired in some places, but is then rescued by a truly epic instrumental section. It is not the most tuneful, or adventurous of things ever heard, but it is ambitious, and done on a grand scale, which should be applauded.

B-side Bubble Tea is a different kettle of fish, starting as an almost bluesy, gentle little riff, mentioning Quality Street and Smint, and bouncing along very nicely thank you very much. Until a heavy guitar line kicks in like a gut punch, totally transforming it from a pleasant little ditty into a track that the son of Satan himself could have penned. Make no mistake, thatís rather a good thing in this case.

Itís slightly schizophrenic, but somehow it works, and leaves you intrigued as to what they will offer up next.

Find out more about the London-based trio at www.thecrucible.biz, or www.myspace.com/thecrucible.

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 †Rodney Branigan Reply to this News Item Print this Topic E-Mail this Topic
Posted on Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:25 am by HelenGroom
REVIEWS The first thing to say about Rodney Branigan is that no recording can do justice to his live show. The man has incredible stage presence and magnetism, and the fact that he plays two guitars at one just adds to that. Thatís right Ė two guitars. Seeing really is believing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usp-edtVfFI)

Opening track Man 2 Guitars on album Live Across America showcases his guitar skills, showing some Jimmi Hendrix style guitar chops, only in a Texan-infused, country, contemporary-folk style.

Pent Up Fear will get your feet tapping whatever your mood, with a harmonica solo that is deeply funky, contrasting strongly with Nice To See You, where Branigan has strings in support. Unfortunately the latter is not the strongest song here, coming across as a bit simple and repetitive lyrically. Back To Strife is also less than perfect, with little to make it stick in the memory.

Far better is She Bled, which has a beautiful melody and even more lovely lyrics Ėa real treat.

Rounding off the album The Plagiarism Song showcases his amazing story telling ability, and the humour in his live shows (the man is damn funny). It is also one of the few tracks here where Branigan lets rip vocally Ė he certainly has some lungs on him.

Branigan is a huge talent Ė you feel like you have uncovered a real gem the first time you see him play. Listening to some of the spine tingling moments on Live Across America just whets the appetite for hearing what he can produce in a studio environment.

Heís been knocking around the UK a fair bit recently, so go to www.myspace.com/rodneybranigan, www.rodneybrainiganmusic.com or label Little Wooden Boy Music for more information.

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 †Freerunner Reply to this News Item Print this Topic E-Mail this Topic
Posted on Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:21 am by HelenGroom
REVIEWS Essentially, this is very chart friendly, energetic indie rock pop. Shouty choruses, discordant guitar riffs, Kooks-esque vocals, interesting rhythm changes, and bundles and bundles of energy Ė these boys have it all. If teenagers arenít screaming for them within a matter of months, Iíll eat my own hair.

That said, they do need a bit of polishing. Perhaps the CD single doesnít do them justice, as they sound tighter playing live (lead singer Robert comes across like a mini Johnny Borrell). Some of the songs, while musically quite interesting, verge on the side of having too much going on. But in contrast, the repetition in the choruses, which sound good live, tend to wear a bit thin on the stereo.

Single She Get It is available for download now and is well worth a listen, as is Friday Donít Need It (which sounds Futureheads-y with its clipped vocals and harmonies). Cold, where the band show their more sensitive side is a bit average, but again shows that this band play in a variety of styles. Give them a bit more time and theyíll have the epic, emotional choruses down pat.

Essentially, donít be surprised if you hear more about this band sooner rather than later. Contact them at www.myspace.com/freerunnerband or through their management steven@funkyasfunk.com.

This news item has 4781 Views and 1 Comments. Post your comment

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