Category Archives: REVIEWS

WOLF PRAYER: ‘Desert.’

German based band wolf prayer release their debut album, ‘Echoes of the Second Sun’ this coming Friday, July 5th.

From the sound of ‘Desert,’ the recently released ‘sampler’ track from the album, one could be forgiven for describing the band as being of ‘stoner’ persuasion. But wolf prayer won’t commit to this tagging, although not completely denying it either. The album, I’m assured, contains some surprising tracks. I’m intrigued.

For now though, I’m happy to have ‘Desert‘ on repeat-play. It has a really expansive feel to it, incorporating as it does, elements of stoner (yes) psychedelia, space rock and heavy blues.

Our second single ‘Desert’ reflects the feeling of being alone and wandering through an empty desert with no specific destination in mind.” the band explains. “Friends and family members would like to help you, to find back onto the “right path”, but you keep asking yourself: “Is this really the right path for me?” Everybody can identify itself with this situation or mindset at some point in life: the feeling of being the only one getting beaten down, to lose your grip. But in the end you are not the only one experiencing this, and you are never totally alone.”

That, my friends, is a quick five and half minutes!

(The album ‘Echoes of the Second Sun,‘ is released on 5th July 2019, via Barhill Records.)

BANDAID BRIGADE: ‘Travel Light.’

Bandaid Brigade are a new band out of somewhere, USA. The press bio doesn’t say. Not that it matters. But given the band’s instigators are Zach Quinn, of hardcore punk band PEARS fame, and Brian Wahlstrom (ScorpiosGods of Mount Olympus) then I’ll take a punt on New Orleans and California.

The band’s makeup is completed with Paul Rucker (Street Dogs) on drums and Chris Fogal (The Gamits) on guitar.

Now, given the pedigree, you, or at least I, would expect any such collaboration to result in something, well, punk based.

But see, that’s the trouble when writing of bands with connections to the American punk scene of old – and especially any who have had connections to Fat Wreck Records and worked with the likes of Lagwagon. They just didn’t seem to take life too seriously. You could never be sure what to expect next.

And so it is with Bandaid Brigade. With the release of their debut single, ‘Travel Light,’ the band seem determined to laugh in the face of genre convention. See? Even with something serious like releasing the lead track from their forthcoming album, ‘I’m Seperate,‘ they’re still laughing.

Details of the album are scarce at the moment, and given what I’ve written so far, I hesitate to suggest the following video is typical of what to expect.

The humour of the video, yes. Song style? Who knows?

Travel Light’ is about as far removed from the hardcore punk of PEARS as you can get, but you don’t have to listen too hard to pick up on some delightful pop punk vibes mixed in amongst the 80s disco beats.

The video is of course, both fun and excellent. But I listened to the track a few times without the ‘distraction,’ and you know – this song is catchy as f***!

I do tend to think Bandaid Brigade are more making some kind of ironic comment on the state of mid-80s, commercial music than seriously hinting they are headed off in that direction.

But if they are going that way, I think I’ll join them. It could be a right laugh.

OH HIROSHIMA: ‘Oscillation.’

Oh Hiroshima are a Swedish post-rock band of considerable pedigree and loyal following.

Initially operating as a two-piece, out of Kristinehamn back in 2007, they doubled their numbers four years later in order to become a fully fledged, functioning live act.

It’s now four years since Oh Hiroshima’s sophomore album, ‘In Silence We Yearn,‘ but they’ve not been sat on their thumbs! Much of that time has been spent writing, experimenting and honing the seven tracks that are to make up their third album, ‘Oscillation,’ which will be released through Napalm Records on 26th July.

Their music in some ways reminds me of Mogwai, with their producing loud, sweeping soundscapes that I’m sure evoke different images to different listeners. In that respect, their music is very ‘personal.’

The two following tracks from the forthcoming album have been released as ‘tasters,’ and ‘Oscillation’ can be pre-ordered through both the Oh Hiroshima Bandcamp page and Napalm Records – where I see they have some pretty sexy, gold coloured, double vinyl limited editions available!

JAY CLARK BAND: ‘The Time Is Now.’

The Jay Clark Band (or JCB, as they are often referred to) are a five-piece rock / country rock band from Dayton, Ohio.

Their third album, ‘The Time Is Now’ has just been released (28th June 2019) and it’s a real stomper. If I use the description, ‘old fashioned,’ I mean that in a purely good sense of of the expression. This is straight-up, no frills, no nonsense rock music.

Writing this on a dismal, grey, wet Glasgow (Scotland) afternoon, this album transports me to a dusty, road trip through mid-state America. It’s full of loud, boisterous riffs with country twangs and little tinges of Def Lepard / Iron Maiden guitar solos.

The album kicks off with ‘Not Giving Up,’ a fast-paced out and out rocker. I hope it doesn”t offend anyone, but the style reminds me a little of Ugly Kid Joe in their heyday. (That’s a good thing, by the way.)

‘You‘re Going Down’ follows and then comes ‘Leaving.’ Underpinned by a Hammond organ (I think) this one is a little more in the Bon Jovi mode, to me and sort of puts the brakes on in preparation for the rock ballad that is ‘Find A Way,’ which leans more to the Country Rock style.

Fists in the air! Here comes ‘Bring Down The House,’ and don’t be misled by the verses. When the chorus kicks in, you’ll be punching the air with the best of them. Shades of Alice Cooper on this one? Again, some lovely whining guitar touches.

‘Stand Out,’ continues the good rockin’ feel before the pace drops again with ‘Alive‘ – a track that does remind me again of Bon Jovi (this time, ‘Wanted, Dead or Alive’) and not just because of the acoustic guitar sounding introduction. But that’s OK, I guess.

‘Nothing Good in Life Ever Lasts,’ is definitely out of the Country Rock locker, with a metronomic, thumping beat. And am I imagining it, or does vocalist Jay’s voice take on more of a drawled inflection? ‘

Hell Of A Time,’ is a mid-tempo sing-a-long classic rock type, leading into the closing track, ‘Long Long Journey.’ This is a slow burner, at least for the first half of the song, before it kicks in on both tempo and attitude for a minute, before dropping back down for the closing thirty-two seconds. If there’s one tiny wee criticism of this album, then it’s that I’d have swapped the final two tracks around, so the album has a stronger finish. But then, that’s just me …

There I go again – nitpicking, I know. Yeah, overall this is a n excellent, good time rockin’ album. I like it. Good stuff!

PLUVIAM: ‘Searching.’

What began as a musical experiment some eighteen months ago has resulted in the blossoming of Pluviam – an exciting young band now making their mark in the underground music scene of Birmingham.

Eighteen months ago, singer James Riley and drummer Mike Tabone joined forces and dabbled with mixing their various personal musical influences which ranged from Indie-Pop to Metal to 20th Century Expressionism – whatever the hell that is.

James and Mike have subsequently been joined by Tom Boddison on guitar and Calvert Stephens on bass and only last week played to a sell-out crowd at Birmingham’s Sunflower Lounge.

Their debut single, ‘Searching‘ was released in mid-June. It’s a dramatic, three and a half minute opus combining the vocal style of Tom Yorke with a heavy, raucous Linkin Park inspired backing that kicks in for the final half.

Vocalist James explains the band’s sound: “I believe our style to be an amalgamation of all our influences. Where I am into composers such as John Cage, deriving his sound from experimenting with timbral qualities of the piano, and artists such as James Blake and Jordan Rakei, deriving their sound from Jazzy and RnB based roots, Mike is highly influenced by the likes of Metal acts such as Slipknot and also by pop acts such as Amy Winehouse. Therefore, we try to mix it all together in a magnificent blend of experimentation!”

Here’s a ‘teaser’ video, incorporating a snippet from the single, ‘

Could be worth keeping an eye (and ear) out for these guys.

ELSON: ‘Closer to.’

(James) Elson, is a Leeds based, Merseyside born, singer / songwriter, who first came to prominence as one half of ENGINE, a band that started out as a psychedelic rock outfit but eventually morphed into an electronic production duo.

It was the release of a well received EP, ‘Cucumber Water,’ that brought ENGINE to the attention of Leeds’ promoters Odd Job and they were so impressed they moved quickly to get the band onto the line-up of one their gigs. The relationship was maintained, plans to work together were knocked about and it was Odd Job who subsequently gave Elson his first solo gig in November, a support slot in a sellout event featuring another act hailing from Merseyside, The Tea Street Band. The next step was to collaborate on the release of some of the songs James has been working on as a side project over the last few years.

Closer To,’ is the result. This is Elson’s third release, one that began life with Engine. The psychedelic elements are still there and from a gentle, electro opening, the song quickly develops into a classy psyche-pop wig-out. The keyboards and syth dance away in the background, while the buzzing , frantic guitar sounds contrast with James’s more laid back vocal style.

Radio 6 Music’s Gideon Coe recently gave Elson a spin, and in early May, James also played a set at his home city’s prestigious Liverpool Sound City Festival.

As Harry Nilsson, (one of the artists James draws inspiration from) once said: ‘Let The Good times Roll.”