The Bloogs: The Bloogs (ep)

London based indie kids The Bloogs are a bit of a grower. On the first few listens to their self titled 4 track ep, it was hard to get excited about their generic jangly 'Brit Pop' sound but they kind of whittled me down. They have shades of The Kinks, Squeeze and The Bluetones about their sound with front man Ross Brown having more than a passing resemblance vocally to the Bluetones Mark Morriss.

Opener Sideways is let down, as is the whole ep, by the poor production which is lifeless and flat. The band describe this song as 'Oasis without the attitude'. Don't do yourself down guys, it sounds nothing like the Beatles. Species Apart reminds me of Ian Dury & The Blockheads while Run It By The River is a pretty forgettable piece of pub rock. The ep closes on its strongest track. Revelling is twisting battle between chiming acoustic guitar, killer hooks and a memorable chorus.

It is a bit hit and miss for the guys but shows enough promise that with a good engineer and producer on board, they may just be able to do something special.

~ Thursday, 6 October 2011

Red Sky July: Red Sky July - Album of the Month - October 2011

Red Sky July come with impressive credentials. The trio of Shelly Poole (Alisha's Attic), Charity Hair (The Alice Band) and Ally McErlaine (Texas) have all achieved considerable success in music, so what does the trios self titled debut album bring to the table. The original concept for the album came from McErlaine and Poole, who are husband and wife, before bringing in their long time friend Hair. It is amazing that this album ever got made at all as McErlaine suffered a life threatening brain aneurysm which left him in a serious condition for over a year.

This is an atmospheric record with an expansive Americana sound where Poole and Hair share vocal duties interwoven over McErlaine's reflective melodies. The subtle introduction to the album comes in the form of the short instrumental Hynek before giving way to beguiling Morning Song which is layered with muffled slide guitar and bright acoustic finger picking. Slide guitar is a recurring feature of this record but not in a 'in your face' kind of way. The dual vocal approach from the girls is sublime throughout and lifts tracks like Already Gone, The Gold Hour and Rivers Wild to exquisite highs that are just wonderful.

This is a self assured and uplifting album that is made all the more engaging given the struggles they had to overcome to finish it. On an album of such beauty, it is hard to pick an individual track that seems to sum up this record but White Feather captures everything that this album is about for me. Mesmerising vocals, touching lyrics, beautiful melodies and a sense of self belief make this an album that has never been far from my cd player since it arrived.

The record closes on the hymn like The Happiest Girl In The Whole USA and proves to be the perfect ending to a wonderful record of hope, inspiration and love. I like this record a lot. I have always believed that music should elicit an emotion from the listener, whether that be joy, sadness or rage, and Red Sky July has certainly touched me more than I was expecting.

[][][][][] (5/5)


Sweet Sweet Lies: Capital of Iceland (single)

Sweet Sweet Lies have adopted a punk folk mix that will be familiar to fans of the glorious Gogol Bordello for this single. Capital of Iceland is perhaps not representative of the Brighton sextet overall sound, which has more in common with Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave than this single suggests, but never the less, this single is as characterful as the band themselves.

Packed with humour and self deprecation, Capital of Iceland is a love song of sorts bristling with energy, fantastic lyrics and enough quirkiness to make it stand out from the crowd. These guys are definitely a band to keep an eye on and If they ever make it up to my neck of the woods, I'll be at the head of the queue for tickets.


Brett Martini: Lovers Lane (single)

Brett Martini's name has popped up a few times before here at Music Critic HQ. Martini is part of the madcap band I, Ludicrous and formerly played bass with the glorious Voice Of The Beehive.

Lovers Lane, a downbeat ballad from the seedy side of life and love, is his first solo release.
There is a simplicity to this record that is strangely alluring. While it doesn't have the sense of humour of I, Ludicrous or the irresistible pop sensibilities of the Beehives, the downright honesty of his performance is refreshing.


The Zombies: A Moment In Time (single)

The Zombies were one of the biggest 60's bands that were at the forefront of the British Psych scene for more than two decades, so what to expect with this new single. The reformed band features original members Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent as they undertake a grueling world tour to celebrate the bands 50th year.

A Moment In Time is a cringingly painful slice of middle of the road pop that you may expect to find on an Aled Jones b-side. It is hard to believe that this is the band who gave us classics like She's Not There and Time Of The Season.

You can't help but feel that this is just diluting the wonderful legacy that the band have left behind them.


Peanut Butter Lovesicle: Heavy Daze Wildcat Craze (ep)

Is it just me are are we having a bit of a Psych revival. Peanut Butter Lovesicle have went for a 'live' sound with this 5 track ep where they stray into Dinosaur Jnr territory rather than the 60's and 70's psych sound of bands like Moby Grape or 10 Years After.

As hard as PBL try they fail miserable to capture any of the spirit of bands they aspire to be. At times the vocals are deeply unpleasant while the guitar sounds like an out of tune chainsaw. The only track that offers some hope is the Black Sabbathesque Sicamore Trees which appears to have lifted huge chunks from Sabbath's Iron Man.

There are so many bands doing this so much better that it is hard to find anything positive to say about this pretentious pile of shi*e. Save your money and your ears folks and go buy some Zappa, Moby Grape, Grateful Dead, ZZ Top or Hendrix instead.


The Zenon Band: Falling (single)

The Zenon Band come along without the musical hang ups that most British bands have. Their sound is a mix of pop and rock which hasn't been popular here since the likes of John Parr, John Waite and REO Speedwagon were all the rage.

Now, it would be easy to dismiss this as terribly unhip but here in the UK we are fed a diet of commercial radio generic play lists where music has to fit nicely into whatever box the industry wants us to buy but head to countries like Germany, Poland, France etc and the radio, press and tv if full of brilliant music that just wouldn't be heard over here.

The Zenon Band are not breaking any new ground but Falling is catchy and well crafted with some excellent musicianship and production. I wouldn't buy it but I would turn the radio up if it came on and allow my inner poodle perm to flow free.