With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

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

“Mannerism” – Cat Ryan April 4, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 7:27 pm
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Cat Ryan is an up and coming trio fronted by their multi-instrumentalist lead singer Mary Anne. This track “Mannerism” is a very pleasant lilting melody led off by some wonderful jangling guitar work that has a touch of the Smiths about it. Billed as an Art Rock/Modern Shoegaze band they will appeal to those of you who are into the mighty Wolf Alice. Tom Robinson has said nice things about them on his show and on this evidence Cat Ryan absolutely has what it takes to go places. More, please!

Written by Paul Bamlett 🙂

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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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‘PENGSHUi’ – PENGSHUi March 9, 2020

Filed under: Review — justwilliam1959 @ 3:49 pm
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Pengshui,s first album, on MVKA Records, is a dangerous mix of punk rock ideals and a grimy attitude. It’s a vicious cocktail of monstrously bangin’ tunes with great rhyming over the top. “Wiseman” is one of the outstanding tracks a little more cool than its raucous mates.

Throughout the album, the energy level does not drop for one nanosecond. “Leave It” with its challenging language and “No Joke” both carry a heavy flavour of violence laced with more than a hint of the late great Keith Flint’s coruscating vocal style, fired out over a spectacular looping riff. “Rise” is carried on a frantic backbeat and “Control” builds to a spectacular full-on climax. On “Blame” the double-tracked vocals bring added menace and when the band says “Nobody Cares” you know that they are tapping into the fearsome style of none other than Mr. John Lydon. The absolute highlight though is their superb and respectful take on the Prodigy track “Light Up The Sky”. Pengshui absolutely brings something new to this already great track. Live I can imagine these boys will more than fill the room and the mosh pit must be a thrilling place to hang out. Fatty, Illaman and excellent drummer Pravvy Prav have tapped into a new energy source and on this evidence, they are gonna drain every last drop. This music is for real with a no-bullshit attitude to all the hangups and problems of now.

A little more variation in the vibe would be nice but if you want mega loud tunes with gargantuan riffs and in yer face rhyming then this trio surely brings the noise in no uncertain terms.

Ave it!

This review was written by Paul Bamlett

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