EP REVIEW | Mumrunner - Gentle Slopes.

ARTIST: Mumrunner   13882193_1735209006743741_5232909711269596361_n

RELEASE: Gentle Slopes

RELEASE DATE: 09/09/16

RECORD COMPANY: Wolves And Vibrancy Records/Soliti Records

Released on September 9th 2016 jointly via the German based independent label ‘Wolves And Vibrancy Records (Vinyl)’ & ‘Soliti Records (Digital)’, ‘Gentle Slopes’ is the sophomore five track EP from Finnish based noisy shoegaze quartet ‘Mumrunner’ and it follows on from their triumphant 2015 debut ‘Full Blossom’. Their sound embraces melodious, reverberating tones, seductive otherworldly musical progressions & beautifully ethereal dream pop flourishes and intertwines them all with driving swathes of shoegaze inspired alternative rock to collectively bring something magical to the sonic table. The EP will get the full vinyl treatment with 300 copies (Black Vinyl Screen Printed B-Side + Lyrics Sheet) available to pre-order with ‘Wolves and Vibrancy Records’ offering a special Vinyl + Shirt package which you can pre-order right now from: wolvesandvibrancyrecords.tictail.com

READ ON -

The EP opens with the beautifully effervescent ‘Sputnik’. Addictive guitar progressions & throbbing melody driven bass frequencies ride a tempestuous percussive pattern as the layered vocals bathe in a glorious swirling sea of ethereal reverb. Up next, ‘Shawshank’ drives and meanders deftly with hypnotically fuzzy lead guitar lines, brilliantly executed vocals and soaring chorus progressions. Instrumentally reminiscent at times to seminal 1980’s US based post-punk stalwart's ‘For Against’, ‘Shawshank’ is a stunning piece of music! ‘Cascais’ explodes into earshot held fast within a captivating maelstrom of glorious reverb laden guitars, intricate lead licks, driving bass lines and thunderous drums. Probably the most ‘alt-rock’ leaning piece on the entire release, ‘Cascais’ uses it’s stunning vocal progressions to cut through the monumental instrumental noise and bring patches of serine ethereal clarity to proceedings.

The EP’s penultimate track, ‘Turn’ is a one minute plus slow burning instrumental piece but its quickly followed by the EP’s closing track, ‘Gentle Slopes’, possibly my favourite track on this entire release! This is a highly addictive slice of glorious shoegaze infused dream pop with brilliantly executed layered guitar progressions that seem to circumnavigate those hauntingly ethereal vocal lines with aplomb. It’s subtle drum patterns add atmosphere though the verse parts when coupled with those droning guitar swells & undulating bass frequencies thus collectively creating a brilliant light/shade dynamic with an overriding feeling of sonic floatation. A truly magnificent ending to a brilliant EP.

4/5

LINKS:

twitter.com/mumrunnerz

facebook.com/mumrunnerband

solitimusic.com

wolvesandvibrancyrecords.tictail.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish 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 hepled 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.


ALBUM REVIEW | Vibrissae - Somewhere Away.

a2169018905_16

ARTIST: Vibrissae

RELEASE: Somewhere Away

RELEASE DATE: 19/08/16

RECORD COMPANY: Vipchoyo Sound Factory 

This is how a conversation about modern dream/trip-hop inspired electronics music sounds: ‘blah, blah, blah, blah, blah’. Why does it sound like that? Cause once upon a time a group of musicians got together and churned out a massive arsenal of absolute 5/5 albums; think Tricky, Smith and Mighty and Mazzy Star. They layered, they edited, they sampled, they sung, they mixed and they scored hit after hit off and on the mainstream. These musicians pioneered a genre of music that has literally being trampled upon since the late 80’s/early 90’s with copycat, boring, unintelligent rehashes that involve pushing some buttons on a drum machine, putting some interesting but generic female vocals over the top of the mix and being ‘atmospheric’. Those technical wizards who do everything blandly digitally believe wholly that trip-hop/electronic music should be released as it is, without experimentation, without huge inspiration, influence or genre-bending. So it is refreshing and somewhat soothing to listen to Somewhere Away; the new LP by electronic three piece Vibrissae, an album that experiments, practices fantastic song writing and is just enjoyable. And that really, is that. If 'Somewhere Away' spoke anything through the speakers in its conceptual and musical language it is that ultimately if a sound is enjoyable, if it mesmerizes in its quality and is a pleasing experience, then what else is there that needs to be pondered?

READ ON -

'Somewhere Away' begins with a short intro track (Whiskers) that sets the mood subtlety by never directly tackling any of the sounds on the album but simultaneously teasing small sounds on the electronic palette of the genre. ‘Never Again’ begins the album with a jangling distorted guitar and pulsating beats that sound reminiscent of trance music; these sounds are all complimented with the hushing vocals, rocketing bass and shoegaze inspired synth and keyboards. The song has flashes of Eurobeat in its musical structure, but returns to a more synth pop orientated field with the chorus and the catchy, danceable riff that follows it. The song balances itself between dance anthem and alternative sonic soundscape just enough to create an intricate and energetic track; one that the listener may enjoy either way. For those searching for evidence of musical experimentation and genre bending/melding, one should look no further than ‘Incident Report’, which starts as a pulsating industrial track, layered with metallic percussion and the sound of a darkwave tracks opening few bars, only to evolve intelligently into a trip-hop song and delve straight back into darkwave inspired sounds coupled with post-punk style drums on the chorus. The song morphs and jumps neatly from one genre to another, while all the while holding its electronic basics and placing the vocals in a backseat position enough that the music and the vocals seep into each other; a rewarding listening experience.

‘Bulan’ nestles itself in calmly as another beautiful instrumental interlude, showing off all the bands tricks in a much smaller scale whilst 'Not Forever' is an ethereal feast of beautifully constructed guitars and glorious vocals. The metallic ringing from the previous tracks is brought into a stellar techno-inspired instrumental ‘Crooked Stripe’ which is then followed up with ‘Crooked Smile’ a four minute bass heavy dance/darkwave track. 'Vibrissae' show off their skill with the bass guitar, which forms a thick and tasty riff around the central beats and soundscapes. Eventually the track goes full darkwave and reinforces a heavy laden alternative dance beat, all packed together with the slick sounds of keyboard. Although the whole thing stands together intelligently, the song eventually becomes slightly boring, especially in contrast with other tracks on the EP. ‘Need’ is a heavy post-punk style song built around the opening guitar riff and the funk-inspired bass. The vocals fit magnificently in the mix as the song touches on indie rock and the intricate singing style of folk rock all the while returning to the opening post-punk riff; a brilliant and enjoyably diverse listen. The LP concludes with the epic title track, a ten minute adventure through what begins as a slow, alternative rock style riff which builds into an echoing electronic listening experience. The track itself feels like a journey, like sounds are guiding the way through a landscape that Vibrissae has built for the sole purpose of allowing the listener to roam around in, rather than just sitting and listening.

Overall the LP feels too ‘thrown together’. The longer weightier, well written and thorough tracks are surrounded by varying degrees of instrumental track, as if the band thought they didn’t have enough material and chucked together a few filler instrumentals. The LP is also greatly temperamental in its vocals; some tracks feature great amounts of vocals before two instrumentals in a row feature none, and then they return. I am not directly critiquing the songs themselves per say, rather their standing in the whole LP. But as I stated before-hand in the introduction, the pure enjoyment one gets from listening overrides simple things like track placement and the album does itself justice wholly and solely in that area. And that’s what makes 'Somewhere Away' great, it’s not a utopian album, but it’s a reminder that the pure enjoyment factor of a sound should ultimately shine through and inform our opinion in the greater sense. With that in mind, I thought this album was, in most of its parts, enjoyable and refreshing to the genre, a testament to the skill of the band and their sound.

4/5

'Somewhere Away' is available to buy/download right now from: vibrissae.bandcamp.com

LINKS:

vibrissae.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/vibrissae

twitter.com/vibrissaepdx

vibrissae.net

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

bio-pic

Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.


NEW SINGLE PREMIERE | Half / Wozniak - Mute Swan.

a3440284137_16

Far from the multi-platformed mainstream musical hubs and hidden deep within a scene so overlooked by the big radio corporations that its generally left alone to allow shoegaze fans run a meandering course of blissful musical discovery, sits an online radio station so important that its unhealthy demise due to corporate bureaucracy would be nothing short of a bloody travesty. We've all read about the unhealthy reams of read tape surrounding online broadcasters and their downgrading of broadcast rights due to the changes in US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) fees and we've seen first hand various online stations being forced to cease all operations indefinitely due to lack of funding to pay these overhyped & inflated broadcasting fees! If it continues we will lose a very important tool that allow's unsigned artists to get their music across to a wider online radio audience. Online stations worldwide, Dj's & their embedded radio shows, focusing on various musical genres are a key promotional resource for todays underground artists. I mean, how many TRUE champions of this modern day underground shoegaze scene can you count on your fingertips at this present moment in time?

READ ON  -

Broadcasting out of Fresno, California, DKFM has been at the forefront of the genre's resurgence since it launched in 2012 but more recently has faced an uncertain future due to changes in US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) fees. They are an important mainstay in todays scene, helping to sustain and develop many of the movement's best bands. DKFM continue to be a major influence on us here at Primal Music and have been the 'Go To' site for us for all things shoegaze & dream pop since our early radio show days on Radioaktiv back in 2012.

Now, two brilliant UK based musical outfits, the impressive Gateshead based 'Half' & Edinburgh's finest 'Wozniak', have released a stunning collaborative track entitled 'Mute Swan' with the aim of raising much needed funds to help DKFM to stay on the air. The track has been released as a pay-what-you-like download through Bandcamp with all income going to help support DKFM and you can help in the fight by heading over to: herelieshalf.bandcamp.com and pledging as much or as little as you like.

LINKS:

herelieshalf.bandcamp.com

wozniak.bandcamp.com

decayfm.com


EP REVIEW | The Baltic - Archipelago EP (Misra Records).

a1537319641_16ARTIST: The Baltic

RELEASE: Archipelago

RELEASE DATE: 20/06/16

RECORD COMPANY: Misra Records 

Colorado based psychedelically charged four piece 'The Baltic' released their latest EP entitled 'Archipelago' to the masses back on the 20th June 2016 via Misra Records (under Sub Pop's umbrella). Their sound expertly shimmies through experimental reverberating tones, laced with dream pop swirls, psychedelic sonic highs & melodious guitar progressions that seem to hang suspended within a blissfully ethereal musical bubble. The band are made up of Graham Epstein - drums/vocals, Adam Dankowski - guitars, Josh Kaplan - bass & Ari Kononov - guitars.

'Archipelago' is available to buy/download right now from: thebaltic.bandcamp.com/album/archipelago


Luscious ethereal tones float into earshot as the opening salvo's of the 'Archipelago' EP are unfurled. Opening track 'Turquoise' permeates through an acid blotted landscape with its 60's psychedelic edge as the hazy vocals are carefully added to the musical ether, accompanied by throbbing bass frequencies & a skittish percussive pattern. (As a side note; a musical doff of the cap has to go to the 'Beatles' on this opening track, as the verse progressions (which drag up way too many of their song titles to name off hand) are curiously reminiscent to the aforementioned band & although that may seem like a good comparison to some, for me, it kinda takes the shine off of those brilliantly executed shoegaze inspired chorus parts that make this opening track a tale of two halves as far as I'm concerned!) Up next, 'Bloom' breathes a more psych rock tinge to proceedings. It's jam packed with experimental psychedelic twirls, faultless instrumentation and those vocalisations are stacked with melody.

'San Francisco' pulses beautifully arranged reverb drenched guitar lines, steadying drum patterns and addictively harmonious bass progressions with another impressive vocal performance that collectively produces what is the most dream pop orientated track on this entire release! Gone are the sonic experimentations & the 60's revivalist tones, and whats left is a beautifully arranged track that is wholeheartedly relevant in todays revived dreampop/shoegaze scene.

The EP's penultimate track entitled 'Fortitude' screams into the ether on a wave of glorious frequency laden noise as 'The Baltic' bring their shoegaze tendencies to bare for all to hear. It's opening bars are layered with fuzzy reverberating guitars, throbbing baselines, shimmering tambourines and melodious vocals, reminiscent to those early UK based shoegaze stalwart's 'Ride'. It took a while but 'The Baltic' are finally allowing us to hear their gauzy side. This is my favourite track on the whole release and a solid recommendation from me. The albums closing piece is called '72 Hours'. Shimmering tremulous guitar lines float into earshot and gracefully sweep you up, bringing you with them on a stunning hallucinogenic psych-gaze trip that expertly loops and arc's through blissful layers of beautifully golden sonic frequencies, carefully following the throb of the infectious bass progressions & the hypnotic percussion as you meander through the musical ether. A fitting explosive ending to a slow burning but thoroughly enjoyable EP.

4/5

LINKS:

thebaltic.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/thebaltic/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

10801829_910434145642940_2344009609374998645_n

Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish 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 hepled 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.


NEW SINGLE PREMIERE | A Shoreline Dream - Whirlwind.

Colorado based duo 'A Shoreline Dream' have been best described as 'progressive shoegaze'. They combine lush sampled textures, wall of sound dynamics, and vocals layered like a synth, similar in vein to bands such as Ride, Slowdive and Sigur Rós. The band are Ryan Policky - vocals/guitar/keys/bass/programming & Erik Jeffries - guitar.  'Whirlwind' is the third single from their ever-evolving new record, which is being released song by song before its completion and will eventually culminate into the bands first ever vinyl release. This latest single gets its official release on September 2nd 2016 and will be available to buy/download from: ashorelinedream.bandcamp.com

READ ON -

'Whirlwind' is a driving sonic surge of glorious dark energy. The instrumentation pulses & swirls as it circumnavigates those hard hitting vocalisations, infectiously dragging swathes of impressive atmospheric reverb with it to pummel the senses. There's also a subtle but refreshing hue of old-school post-punk swirling within the sonic maelstrom, reminiscent at times to Bauhaus, Joy Division & The Sisters Of Mercy.

Recommended! 

LINKS:

ashorelinedream.bandcamp.com

latenightweeknight.com

facebook.com/ashorelinedream


NEW VIDEO PREMIERE | The Gentle Cycle - Follow Light.

Swirling San Jose based psych aficionados 'The Gentle Cycle' have unleashed the lead single & its brilliant 'Acid Drenched' accompanying video entitled 'Follow Light' from their forthcoming full length album, due for release over the next few months. The band are made up of Derek See - guitar/vocals, Maxwell Borkenhagen - guitar/mellotron, Todd Flanagan - bass and Craig Heitkam - drums and they have a unique talent of creating infectiously addictive psychedelic soundscapes by utilising vintage gear and bygone recording methods to birth a swirling, grooving style of rock 'n' roll that's both timeless and relevant. The overall outcome is mesmerising! The accompanying video was directed by & presented in a film by London based musician/ visual artist Gil De Ray.

READ ON -

'Follow Light' undulates as it works through its reverberating sonic gears, spewing out melodious instrumentation and highly addictive vocalisations that constantly swirl within an ink blotted sonic landscape. If this is the lead single from this impressive Bay Area band, we can't wait for the full on sonic assault!

Recommended! 

'Follow Light' is available to buy/download right now from: thegentlecycle.bandcamp.com

LINKS:

thegentlecycle.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/thegentlecycleSJ


ALBUM REVIEW | Sexores - Red Rooms.

ALBUM REVIEW | Sexores - Red Rooms.ARTIST: Sexores

RELEASE: Red Rooms

RELEASE DATE: 17/07/16

RECORD COMPANY: Coypu Records.

Following on from their stunning full length album release entitled ‘Historias de Frió’ back in 2104, the brilliant Barcelona based darkwave outfit ‘Sexores’ have returned with a blissful six track release entitled ‘Red Rooms’. With an intriguing sound thats full of noisy ambient swirls, ethereal vocalisations and dark repetitive percussive arrangements all gloriously intertwined with soaring walls of layered reverberating guitars, ‘Sexores’ have the ability paint stunning sonic pictures with their music. The band are made up of Emilia Bahamonde - vocals/guitar/programming & David Yépez - drums/programming with various touring members and guest musicians (including Alexander Kretov of UMMAGMA fame) appearing on the album. ‘Red Rooms’ was released back on the 17th July 2016 via Coypu Records and is available to buy/download on various formats right now from: sexores.bandcamp.com

READ ON -

Ethereal vocals coupled with a wall hazily layered guitars announces the arrival of track one ‘Sasebo’ and we’re instantly pulled into a beautiful world of sneaking drum patterns, underlying synth swells and hypnotically cascading piano progressions. The vocals are simply mesmerising as they cut through the swirling instrumentation and instil a gentle calmness over proceedings. Up next, ‘Sea Of Trees’ is a classic slice of beautifully arranged dream pop thats centred around a cascading synth line, a repetitive drum pattern and another blissful vocal performance courtesy of Emilia Bahamonde. ‘Me And The Void’ saunters into earshot riding an explosive drum pattern, dark throbbing bass frequencies and synth swells to die for. Emilia’s vocals shine as they pulse wave after wave of golden hued frequencies through the controlled reverberation and on into the maelstrom of fuzzy tempestuous guitar lines.

‘U.S.S.R Girls’ leans more into the realm of dark electronica with its sequenced synth progressions and repetitive drum patterns whilst the albums penultimate track, the impressive ‘Daywalkers’ instantly flatters with its floating boy/girl vocal attack, courtesy of Emilia & Alex Kretov (Ummagma), coupled with those beautifully arranged synth lines & its glorious instrumentation breaks. The album closes out with the highly atmospheric instrumental piece - ‘Loner’. A dark & foreboding reverberating drone opens proceedings before we’re treated to a slow, repetitive drum pattern and stuttering piano stabs. ‘Loner’ sounds like it belongs on a late 70’s sci-fi soundtrack as it deftly meanders through ambient sonic peaks and throughs, never losing its edge and all the while building slowly into a stunning cacophony of blissful atmospheric noise.

A fitting end to an absolutely stunning album!

4/5

LINKS:

sexores.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/sxrsxrs

twitter.com/sexores

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

10801829_910434145642940_2344009609374998645_n

Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze, DreamPop, PostPunk, PostRock & PsychRock genre’s of music 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 hepled 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.


EP REVIEW | Sidechick - Home Recordings.

a2745983861_16ARTIST: Sidechick

RELEASE: Home Recordings

RELEASE DATE: 13/05/16

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

Released to the masses back on the 13th May 2016, ‘Home Recordings’ are the tentative first steps by a band who create stunning musical soundscapes that are heavily steeped in melodically astute, fuzzy alt-gaze promise. ‘Sidechick’ are a Texas based trio made up of Stephen McElwee - Guitar & Vocals, Austin Yates - Drums & Kelvin Givens - Bass and their debut three track release is available to buy/download right now from: sidechick.bandcamp.com

READ ON -

‘Home Recordings’ unfurls with excellent ‘Prisms’, a two minute plus instrumental masterpiece thats filled with golden hued guitar lines, steadying percussion and throbbing bass frequencies. The band give very little away on this opening piece as the tension builds, forcing glorious reverberating swirls into the sonic ether and pulsing fuzzy layered guitar squall through shimmering hazy frequencies. ‘Prisms’ soon burns out and courses headlong into track two, the blistering ‘Dimensions’, and its not long before we’re introduced to a droning guitar line that drags the listener into the impending explosive drum patterns, heavily tracked by fuzzy throbbing bass lines and screaming feedback laden guitars. The vocals here are sublime and they sit on top of the instrumentation like some sonic demigod vying for populous attention. ‘Dimensions’ is probably my favourite track on this entire release and worthy of your attention!

The EP’s closing track is a brilliantly melodious affair. ‘Mercury’ rocks on a thoroughly addictive lead lick that explodes through the chorus breaks whilst carefully balancing on a bedrock of pounding drums and hypnotically layered reverberating guitars. Another stunning vocal track adds atmosphere as it pierces the protective reverb induced bubble and soars into the sonic ether with aplomb. A fitting end to an interesting first outing from ‘Sidechick’.

Ones to watch!

3/5

LINKS:

sidechick.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/sidechickband

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

10801829_910434145642940_2344009609374998645_n

Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze, DreamPop, PostPunk, PostRock & PsychRock genre’s of music 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 hepled 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.


EP REVIEW | Maheekats - Songs From The Woods.

a1636825973_16ARTIST: Maheekats

RELEASE: Songs From The Woods

RELEASE DATE: 26/05/16

RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned

What do you get when you mix smooth soundscapes with rock’n’roll, hush with loudness or hypnosis with high flying vocals? 'Songs from the Woods' is what you get. This mini album/EP from dream rock duo The Maheekats seeks to remind the listener of the past, while evoking originality and something altogether interesting…  And it does so over the course of six dream inspired, folk-impinged rock and pop tracks.

READ ON -

The EP begins with the song ‘Lady in Space’, that begins with ethereal alternative guitars and the comfortable tap of the drums in the background, until the fantastic and hypnotic vocals enter the mix, giving the song a distant folk sound that mixes in brilliantly with the dream rock fused bass, thick and heavy. The song seeps 'The Stone Roses', in lyrical quality (see ‘Waterfall’) and with a similar production technique (except Maheekats production sounds much fuller). The chorus, which backs off on the instrumentation to allow for the catchy lyrics, is a warm and enjoyable creation. However, with the immense lyrical quality of some songs, ‘Lady in Space’ wavers between interesting and boring each listen. Its chorus and simple instrumentation (beside the fantastic bass) don’t allow it to stand out from 90’s alternative rock radio hits with the exact same style of writing, and ultimately the song sounds timid and tiresome. This song is followed by the refreshing and dreamy ‘Shotgun’ which sounds influenced by the Kate Bush styled art-pop that Maheekats blend together with greater and more experimental instrumentation. The vocals featured in the chorus are phenomenal, especially when they reach and grab the trance-evoking high notes that are underpinned with a brilliant array of horns. The song then introduces a breezy, shoegaze filtered synth line which finally mixes into the songs brilliant collage of horns, vocals, drum, bass, guitar, keyboards and more. ‘Shotgun’ displays all the greatest elements of Maheekats diverse and layered song writing skills, along with lyrics and a denser production style that allow the song to project itself beautifully. 

‘Starry Ocean’ is a fantastic post-rock, piano centred interlude… Simple, soothing, imagery evoking brilliance. The genius touches of smaller sounds (pads, strings) allow the piano to serve as both a background and foreground instrument for the listener, rather than an average and stock standard interlude or instrumental album fillers. The Pretenders influenced ‘Without Horizons’ acts as the EP’s biggest step into straight-forward alternative rock, not that’s a bad thing. The riffs featured on the song once again highlight the wide and talented vocals of Maheekats and the quality of the production (and mixing) are of a fantastic quality. The greatest element of ‘Without Horizons’ is that it features some of the EP’s most well-written lyrics. These lyrics read as poetry and arise as the songs ultimate feature after each listen. Musically it sounds like a seventies inspired heavy rock song but practices a subtle hint of nineties era alternative/garage musical expansion which propels it to be greater after reading (or in this case listening) into it.

The epic ‘Eureka’ follows, constructed at around seven minutes and featuring all the musical adventures that the band has embarked on across 'Songs from the Woods'. ‘Eureka’ begins entrancingly intelligent, with soft sung vocals and basic instrumentation that feeds the listener the dreamy, poetic lyrics on a golden plate. The song then eases into a bizarre exercise in drum bashing and the lyrics roll out into ‘The weight of the world is in hand’ sung over and over… The brilliant guitars follow, but the lyrics don’t… Instead turning into a tongue in cheek Celtic influenced folk-dance underpinned with… Um, animal noises? Or something? I don’t know. Then the song continues with an interesting bassline which is slowly drowned out with cymbal rape (is there a reason we can only hear cymbals?) before the guitars and other instruments return to evolve the song into an interesting and engaging piece of music. The outro to ‘Eureka’ finally does the entrancing vocals justice, and uses them as an instrument rather than another mere feature. In fact, on the outro to the song, the Maheekats manage to mix all the instruments together to create a soothing and interesting piece of music, reminiscent but much more epic than on ‘Shotgun’ which saves the song and reminds the listener of the high quality of song writing they are listening to.

After listening to 'Songs from the Woods' I was confused, with what opinion? On one hand, elements of the EP shone through brilliantly and tied everything together to create a musical beast worth listening to over and over. But on the other hand I wondered, sincerely, about a few features on the album. For one, ‘Lady in Space’ became more and more generic after listening to the EPs other tracks, displaying the professional and engaging level of song writing on the other tracks but in turn doing the band (and ‘Lady in Space’) no favours. The instrumental interlude ‘Starry Ocean’ was fantastic… So fantastic that it was more enjoyable than ‘Without Horizons’ (which has its own merits), which somehow (while being enjoyable in its own right) bought the level of song writing back to near the same area as ‘Lady in Space’. And while ‘Eureka’ eventually highlighted and presented an extravagant piece of song writing and music, the middle section was completely baffling with its instrumentation, mixing and interpretation.

Let’s get one thing straight…  'Songs from the Woods' features next to no post-punk, dream pop, shoegaze or hugely experimental music and at times the EP even seems far from the bands self-dubbed dream rock status. There is nothing wrong with that, however listeners seeking out these things should instead know that 'Songs from the Woods' is fluent with art pop, folk rock and even underpinned with large amounts of Celtic and Irish music in some songs. Altogether the band resemble Kate Bush more than any other artist; occasionally they dabble their toes in heavier rock, but ultimately the vocals direct the music into a style most reminiscent of Bush’s. And much like (but superior to) Kate Bush’s bizarre 00’s albums, 'Songs from the Woods' seems like a representation of a band obtusely seeking effort and thus creating something unchallenging, in patches greatly uninteresting and generic.

But this mini album is also greatly enjoyable, features brilliant performances and production and ultimately attributes top quality song writing within. On tracks like the outro to ‘Eureka’, ‘Shotgun’, the post-rock inspired ‘Starry Ocean’ and the riffs on ‘Without Horizons’ the band highlight beautiful and engaging soundscapes and construction, achieved through mixing, production, performance and sound.

3.5 / 5

LINKS:

maheekats.bandcamp.com

facebook.com/maheekats

twitter.com/maheekats

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bio Pic

Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.


NEW VIDEO PREMIERE | Lazy Legs - Crush.

Chicago based dreamy shoegazing trio 'Lazy Legs' have just released a brand new video to accompany their latest single, entitled 'Crush', lifted off their recently released debut album - 'VISIONDEATH!' The album was released via the micro tape label 'Wild Patterns' back on the 15th July 2016 & it is available to buy/download right now from: lazylegs.bandcamp.com

READ ON -

'Crush' unfurls its musical tendrils by gracefully gliding in on a layered wall of reverb laden guitars & steadying percussion. It then leads us into that beautifully executed verse, ethereally rippled by gorgeous vocalisations before exploding into its chorus parts and magnifying the collective hazy frequencies to blistering effect! This is another blissful single from a band who can do no wrong right now. Plus, the accompanying video is sure to bring a smile to all of you dog lovers out there! 

Recommended!

LINKS:

facebook.com/lazylegsband

lazylegs.bandcamp.com

twitter.com/WildPatterns

twitter.com/lazylegsband