ARTIST: Is Bliss
RELEASE: The Honeycomb Explosion
RELEASE DATE: 19th May 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Club AC-30 Records
Revered, incantational, hypnotic - Three words that aptly describe what I felt after listening to the absolutely stunning 2016 debut EP entitled 'Velvet Dreams' from Portsmouth based psych aficionados 'Is Bliss'. Signed to celebrated Independent record label 'Club AC-30', 'Is Bliss' are causing quiet a stir right now both on the live scene and within the underground fraternity with their no nonsense, full on, psych induced reverberations! They are made up of Jimmy Stuart - vox/guitar, Dean Edwards - bass & Sam Speakman - drums and they have just released a monumental follow up to their untouchable debut EP 'Velvet Dreams' entitled 'The Honeycomb Explosion'. This sophomore release is a statement of intent by a band who collectively create stunning soundscapes filled with blissed out shoegaze & swirling shamanic psych deftly underscored with passages of dreamy spaced-out grooves and hypnotically charged reverberations. 'The Honeycomb Explosion' was released back on the 19th May 2017 and was initially available to purchase on lovely transparent yellow w/red & orange splatted 12' vinyl via store.clubac30.com
In a haze of cyclonic vocalisations that swirl repetitively through swathes of luscious reverb, the opening salvos of track one ‘Someone’ builds with a menacing hue, dragging hypnotic deep bass frequencies, tremulous drones and angry guitar signatures out into the ether whilst injecting tons of impressive sonic atmospherics as it carefully unfurls it’s far reaching sonic tendrils. Beautifully intense from the off and harking back to to those early 90’s shoegaze sounds ‘Someone’ unleashes a blissful, meandering vocal track that’s whipped and cajoled at times by soaring lead guitar lines and underscored by continuously alluring bass progressions. Up next, ‘Alive (Baby Come On)’ enters the sonic arena swirling dreamily through turbulent organ drones and sparse percussion. Bass lines hum and growl brilliantly as we witness some of the best vocal performances on this whole EP. The track builds builds and builds again until it unleashes a torrent of glorious noise, dragging this listener with it into the eye of a raging sonic firestorm. ‘Alive (Baby Come On)’ has a plethora of influences and I can hear the waviness of Spacemen 3, the punishing guitars of seminal shoegazers Loop & the melodious qualities of Ride streaming through its inner core. Absolutely stunning and definitely my favourite track on the entire release.
‘Is Bliss’ pulse some eastern esoteric flair into proceedings next as sumptuous sitar intertwines with 60’s psych connotations, shimmering tambourine and punchy drum patterns. ‘Into A Dream’ does exactly as it says on the tin. You tumble through layer after layer of droning instrumentation, cascading dream like bass frequencies and that twinkling guitar signatures, guided at every turn by that impressive vocal track and just as you think you are settling in for a session in the shamanic sonic immersion tank you get catapulted out the back end of this track at g-force speeds glued to to a fast moving pulse of intense instrumental chaos before being gently placed back on terra firma with a very big smile on your face (yes it is that good). Up next, ‘Tomorrow’ shimmers hypnotically around an incantational instrumental drone and the jaunty rumble of busy tablas as the dissonant sounds of dreamy sitar bounces and envelopes a stunning vocal performance. Again ‘Is Bliss’ work through their sonic gears with blistering aplomb until eventually they unleash a torrent of explosive frequencies punctuated by screaming guitars, throbbing bass lines and pounding drum patterns that collectively coagulate into one hell of a track finale. The EP then closes out with ‘Inner Soul’, a fantastic sonic trip through layers of blissful reverberations, melodious bass progressions, passages of droning guitars and slow moving percussion that drifts and moves effortlessly, acting as a conduit for those stunning vocal lines. Reminiscent at times to ‘A Storm In Heaven’ era ‘Verve’, ‘Inner Soul’ is an absolutely sublime closing piece to a monumental sophomore EP.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last four years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
by Primal Music
RELEASE: Velvet Dreams
RELEASE DATE: October 21st 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Club AC30
The brilliant London based independent record label 'Club AC30' have been nurturing some fantastic worldwide artists from the psych/gaze/electronic & dream-pop genres for quite some time now. Their list of rostered artists has brought us some serious heavy hitters such as 'Flyying Colours, Pinkshiunyultrablast and Ringo Deathstarr' to name just a few. Now they've unleashed a veritable sonic triumph is the guise of the debut EP entitled 'Velvet Dreams' by Portsmouth based trio 'Is Bliss'. This band are causing quiet a stir right now within the underground fraternity with their no nonsense, full on, psych induced reverberations! They are made up of Jimmy Stuart - vox/guitar, Dean Edwards - bass & Sam Speakman - drums and they have already graced the stage with the likes of Wolf Alice, Telescopes, Nine Black Alps, Mark Gardener and Robin Guthrie. The vinyl edition of 'Velvet Dreams' (limited to 300) has already sold out over on the record labels website store.clubac30.com so if you missed out on this immense debut EP, then you will just have to take our word for it! It is absolutely magnificent.
The EP opens up with 'Morning Sun', a beautifully effervescent track full of esoteric sound waves and translucent sonic frequencies. Driving percussion and throbbing bass lines hold court as those impressive guitar lines weave effortlessly in and out of haunting vocal progression's courtesy of Jimmy Stuart. 'Morning Sun' surges forward on wave after wave of brilliant reverberation, reminiscent at times to early Verve or Creation Records era Telescopes. Up next, the immense 'Realise' enters into earshot on a steadying drum pattern coupled with a melodious baseline and another impressive lead guitar progression. It explodes stunningly into a cacophony of beautiful noise as it's chorus parts take flight and soar into the ether, all the while circumnavigating that brilliant vocal and those massive walls of guitars just to lead us on merry dance until we're dumped out the other side like a geek at school disco. 'Realise' is absolutely Immense and not for the faint hearted.
'Truth' growls into existence on punctuating bass frequencies and luscious guitar squall before unleashing a huge wall of instrumentation that is just about big enough to carry those 'angry young man' vocal lines! The guitars wail and scream brilliantly as this track launches itself skywards, dragging every single fucking listener with it as the torturous screams of Jimmy Stuart echo into forever. A triumphant track and possibly my favourite on this entire EP, 'Truth' is a sonic call to arms for a society in ruins. The EP's penultimate piece entitled 'Ocean Blue' swirls into the ether on an instrumental drone as the drum track winds up and pulses out a metronomic beat, coupled with the underlying swing of tabla, shakers & tambourine hits all enveloped around Stuart's impressive vocalisations. The collective result puts a kind of swirling hypnotic hue on proceedings as those eastern esoteric vibes undulate and meld with cascading sitar, throbbing bass frequencies and those psychedelically intense guitars.
The EP's closing piece is a psych induced monster coming in at eight minutes plus. 'Lure' has a menacing drone creeping down it's central spine as the instrumentation builds and lurches forward on it's pre-destined course. Addictive bass lines and almost prog rock like guitars swim effortlessly in a sea of reverberation as those wailing vocals ride a slow processional drum pattern, meandering deftly and without hindrance. 'Lure' begins to gain momentum now and we're thrown headlong into a maelstrom of effortless instrumentation and immense sonic abandonment with it's pounding drums and screaming lead guitar lines echoing into a raging finale.
If the underground music fraternity are looking for a champion to nail their colours to, they've found it in these five tracks by the brilliant 'Is Bliss' ...... This is music!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish based electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.