REVIEW | Painting Rockets – From The Debris

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The general public really underestimate the many difficulties of being in a band, with one of those elements being the making of a record.

It takes a lot of money, time, blood, sweat, tears and, probably most important of all, the strength to persevere. Any group that is able to overcome all these factors through the most arduous of struggles deserve our utmost respect, especially given that the end result is never guaranteed to turn out a successful one.

This is where Painting Rockets from Edinburgh enter the frame, who for the past year and a half have fought tooth and nail in the production of their highly anticipated 2nd EP – From The Debris – and after suffering from so many issues and much uncertainty over the course of making it, it gives us much pleasure to say it was all worth it, because this EP is simply phenomenal.

The ears perk up at the instant I’ll Be Fine kicks off, a frenzied opener which captivates all the senses simultaneously with a throbbing snare beat, blistering chorus and fervent harmonies courtesy of Keli Thomson.

Insane drums then greet us to Crazy Little Heart Like Mine which takes a heavier direction with Stephen Christie’s imposing riffs and a hefty, breakneck rhythm. This leads nicely into the bombastic lead single Empathy, with heaps of passion and energy dripping from every note sung by Keli.

A dark and chilling interlude serves as the bridge into the record’s other single Method In The Madness, a fiercely catchy and sprightly track shining with some great lyrics, which continues into the equally flashy For You And I Are Past Our Dancing Days.

But in a snap, it all goes quiet as they move onto their last number The Chaos Is All So Beautiful. For the first half, Keli delivers a magnetic and sentimental performance that not only displays more of her vocal range, but has the listener hanging onto every word, and as the track approaches the end, it escalates to an exciting finale powered by more rip-roaring guitar work from Stephen.

The final outcome of these two’s pure dedication and efforts is one that exceeds expectations, with not a single dull moment from start to finish.

If Keli and Stephen continue to improve upon the potential they have shown and further build upon the foundations established, then we may have a new breakout rock act on the horizon.

 

 

REVIEW | The Belafonte – Warm Bones

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For the past two years, we have seen sparks of potential from The Belafonte of Ayrshire.

Their inaugural single Human Hands blew us away – becoming one of our favourite tracks of 2015, as a matter of fact – and it only got us more excited for what was to follow.

Well, the time has finally arrived. The trio have put out their debut EP, Warm Bones, and we could not be more satisfied with what was delivered.

Dogs Can Look Up starts off with a really cool intro that builds with an accompanying subdued drum beat, before unleashing into a bombastic second half. The next track Olive Branch opens in a similar manner, while being boasted by some great lyrics.

Strenuous riffs and slick bass lines shine in Calm, a swaying melody and – once again – brilliant writing are the defining elements of Low Born Blood, and the latter is showcased one last time in the brisk closing number Torn At The Seams.

Warm Bones is fantastic through and through, and with each respective listen we learn to only appreciate it all the more. As one of the best Scottish records of 2016, this is sure to garner the band more attention and establish them as Ayrshire’s next major prospect.

 

REVIEW | Black Nevada – Fragments

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If you want a solid example of a fun, straight to the point rock record done right, then feel free to look towards North East outfit Black Nevada and their latest EP – Fragments.

They waste no time as they cut to the chase with Not Your Enemy – an ambitious 5 minute opener – highlighted by a powerful chorus, and from there they show no signs of slowing down, as proven by the rhythmic Run This Town, which is relayed by a catchy and pulsating drum beat.

After a gradual countdown, they soon explode into the very forcible lead single Brokenand the energy escalates even further to a burning degree with the rapid Winner In The End, which delivers an off the wall combination of dynamic riffs and drumming.

The smashing guitar work continues into Behind The Walls, after which they wrap up with the pounding There’s No Time.

An unadulterated, purely entertaining record from one of England’s most promising young and aspiring acts.

 

REVIEW | Rosie Bans – Opia

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As far as Scottish singer-songwriters go, there are few that have the ability to grab our attention as well as Rosie Bans; in addition to being obviously talented and well-traveled, she is one of the most charming personalities we have ever come across in our time.

At the top of the year, the redheaded lass put out her Process EP, and quite frankly we fell in love with it, and to make things better she has been quick to treat us to yet another record – Opia.

The striking cover alone was enough to catch our eye, but does the content itself hold up? Fair to say, she brings out her self-proclaimed brand of “sophisti-pop” in full force here.

For starters, The Fall is a elegant number by reason of some lovely outstanding work on the piano as well as some engaging lyrics, and it only gets better with Walking In The Colda very fitting title indeed as it is defined by a sound that is so chilling, and the vocals are truly something of harmonious beauty. And last but not least, accompanied by a soft guitar, the tender On These Strings provides a gripping conclusion to the EP.

Opia proves to be the awe-inspiring product that we hoped for, one that is just begging to be played live in front of thousands at concert halls up and down the country.

REVIEW | Twin Heart – Progress : Decline

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In 2014, we witnessed the end of one of the finest acts to ever emerge from Ayrshire – Mechanical Smile.

But not long after, they rose from the ashes under the emo-driven guise of Twin Heart, and since resurfacing, they have continued to blow us away time and time again both on the stage and with whatever they fire out of the studio.

After a long time coming, they finally cranked out an EP last month – Progress : Decline – and as expected, it proved to be something pretty special.

Ghosts is an incredible and unforgettable track which is catchy from start to finish. In addition to fantastic riffs, Dawn as always delivers in the vocal department, with Owen and Murray both chiming in at one point and knocking it out the park in their own right.

Young Eyes starts slow before kicking it up for what is a brisk-paced number that leads up to an exciting finish. Dawn’s writing abilities are displayed in full bloom with the principal single Suffocating, with an addictive chorus added for good measure.

Following a serene interlude is Speak To Me, a gripping, emotion-fueled piece. As Dawn parts towards the end, Owen and Murray are left without musical accompaniment, giving it all they have got as they scream the words “I’ll keep fighting till the end” to conclude the record on a goosebump-inducing note.

And with that, they further cement themselves as one of Scotland’s most promising prospects.

REVIEW | The Courtesans – Better Safe Than Sober

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How do you best describe The Courtesans? Fact of the matter is, it is pretty tricky, as they seem to mix in facets of several genres, including alternative rock, pop and doom metal – just to name a few – but that only helps differentiate these femme fatales from the rest of the pack in the blooming British underground scene.

Recently, they embarked on a Pledge campaign and achieved overwhelming success, resulting in the release of a new EP titled Better Safe Than Sober.

A hammering drum beat signals the beginning of Knowhere, which soon unleashes into a phenomenal, grandiose chorus which is insanely catchy, and the hypnotic multi-layer harmonies leave the hairs standing on end; likewise with Feel The Same, which is also notable for subtly slick guitar work throughout, as well as some excellent spoken word from frontwoman Sinead during the verses that has a sheer magnetic quality.

After two extravagant openers, they bring it down for a more subdued and solemn yet still enthralling number in the form of John Doe, but the levels slowly rise again for Mesmirise, a tune that does exactly what it says on the tin, as it builds up to a fiery, passionate vocal performance which sends chills down the spine, and eventually The Tide concludes the record in exciting style.

It is really obvious it was more than worth the time to contribute money toward the production of this EP.

Hands down, this is the greatest thing the group have ever done, an outstanding listening experience like no other that has sent a clear, emphatic statement – The Courtesans deserve the spotlight, and are ready to make one hell of an impact when given the opportunity.

 

 

REVIEW | Oceans (Self-Titled EP)

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For the better part of 4 years, Glasgow rock quintet Enemies Of The State made a name for themselves with their dynamic live shows and some of the best lyrics in the local scene, which perfectly reflected current political and social issues.

But several months ago, the guys chose to repackage themselves as Oceans and take their music in a new direction. Did it ultimately pay off? The short answer is a resounding yes, judging by their upcoming self-titled EP.

Reborn serves as a tremendous opener, and an aspect which becomes immediately clear is the superb, highly memorable writing, and it only gets better with the very catchy lead single Heartbeats, where storied verses lend way to a very addictive chorus of mammoth proportions.

The strong lyrical themes continue into the softer Dream Speed, where after the eerie, low-key intro of You’re Not Alone sucks in the listener, before taking off for a more resonant second half. Finally, they reach the end with Signal Fire, an exceedingly passionate track driven by electrifying guitar work.

The first product of this new era proves that the band have evolved in astounding fashion, and this is sure to be only the beginning of a new wave of major success for the boys.