With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

Mayhem Virgins – Worry Party May 13, 2020


This is the eighth post in the Mayhem Virgins series  It began in November 2017 and only covers artists that I have never mentioned or featured before. The honour this time around goes to Worry Party a delightful ambient electro combo from the north of England. The band consists of Steven Chell on vox, guitar and keys, guitarist Chris Old, vocalist Laura Hilton and Glenn Whitfield on bass. Their sound is akin to symphonic film soundtracks with angelic ethereal vocals gliding masterfully over a chilled electro backing. Their first EP, ‘Souvenirs’, was released in March and contains four tracks; “Traveller”, “Beach Blood”, “True North” and “Waves”. But that is not all you get, there are remixes and instrumentals of each track. As an extended listen it is stunning. It saw me through a large part of my supermarket night shift recently. It also works as a beautiful soundscape to sit down and chill with a Jack Daniels on the rocks late at night when the rest of the world is mostly quiet.

I can hear a snatch of Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro in Steven Chell’s voice, especially on “True North”. The sounds bring to mind the likes of Mogwai and Four Tet for me. Apparently, ‘Souvenirs’ began life as a passion project never intended for release, it was written and recorded over the course of six months in Steven’s spare room. Then after feedback, it was reimagined and will become the core of more full-band electronic gigs going forward, well at least when COVID-19 is killed. Worry Party issued a surprise new instrumental track “The Reef” very recently and it adds to that sublime cinematic scope showcased on the EP. They have also recorded a wonderful cover of Placebo’s “Nancy Boy” that I think is one of the best covers I have heard in quite a while. For me a cover needs to be very different from the original and Worry Party have taken the song somewhere else completely, I would love to know what Brian Molko thinks of this version. Laura Hilton’s vocal performance on the song is as close to perfect as is possible. I get a sense of Beth Gibbons in her delivery too. It is well worth getting Worry Party in your life, you will not regret it!

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‘First Contact’ – AXLS March 18, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 8:46 pm
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AXLS say in their press release that they draw on old school electro such as Kraftwerk and the Human League but also on more recent explorers of the genre such as CHVRCHES and LCD Soundsystem. As a fully paid-up member of the old school electro appreciation society I regularly dig out my John Foxx, Gary Numan, and Depeche Mode albums. Needless to say, I had high expectations of this band and their debut and trust me I was not disappointed.

The opening track “Magnificent Emptiness” is a fabulous brooding intro that any band would kill to walk on stage to. This leads into the first vocal track “Alone”, which paints a bleak electronic picture of a desolate world. This is a great lead-off track with a superb melody. “Snowblind” is a pleasing earworm of a tune with great hook. Next track “Integration” pulls on a New Order vibe with some great bass work from the wonderfully named Conrad McQueen whose low key work throughout gives the music a great resonance. The mesmeric vocals of Victoria Ownsett are poured over a strong beat in every song and although not mixed prominently are always the chief focus of every track. Unexpectedly the central section of this song has a moment when the beat drops out and gives “Integration” a chance to build to a fascinating climax and makes it one of the strongest songs on the album. It’s excellent Kraftwerk /Depeche style fade courtesy of synth wizard Chris Simmons.

There are lots of songs called Heaven or with Heaven in the title. This one is one of the better ones. It has a beautiful melody with a less intense electro feel and a clear pop sensibility. A melancholy track with a hint of New Order again and a strong touch of Blondie in their pomp. Captivating stuff. This album gets stronger as it moves along. The ideas seem bolder on the later tracks and more intricate. “ICBM” brings together all the strengths of this brilliant trio. Melody, Beat, Atmosphere and devilishly catchy hooks abound. Once again the Kraftwerk feel is strong. On “Alias” the rhythmic aspect of the track is superb. What is great from my perspective is that this is not nostalgia, this is truly innovative stuff. “Battle Song” gives off the feel of the wondrous Yellow Magic Orchestra and is surely destined for a film soundtrack appearance. I know there is a game associated with this music but it stands up strongly in its own right. I ‘m a sucker for a catchy synth melody and this album has them by the bucket load.

This music stands multiple listens, a rarity in a good deal of music these days ( old codger alert!). There are many layers to this bands approach. “Ripples” draws the album to an elegiac close and I really didn’t want to get to the end of this one. As debut albums go ‘First Contact’ is right up there with some of the best recent offerings. I shouldn’t show bias but I know that this band, like myself, hail from the North East. Actually, yer know what, I don’t really care where they come from, I am much more interested in where they are going and I will be following with interest. More please AXLS and soon!

This review was written by Paul Bamlett.

All the photos were “borrowed” from the bands FaceBook page, We are happy to credit the photographer. The videos were found on YouTube and again we are happy to credit you if it is yours!

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