Monday, 30 May 2011

Album Review : Munroe Effect - Ultraviolenceland

Delivering a much needed and long overdue shot in the arm of a stagnant post-hardcore scene, Portsmouth’s Munroe Effect this week finally unveil their debut album ‘Ultraviolenceland’. Released through Dead Plant Records, and mastered by Alan Douche (Dillinger Escape Plan, Brand New) this record reveals a band who sound equally at home flailing chaotic guitars around, as they are laying down soaring melodies.

Kicking off with ‘The Escape (Part Two)’ the band grab your ears straight away with jagged guitars and pounding drums, interspersed with soothing vocals along the lines of Eighteen Visions (remember them?!) before things get messy (in a good way) as a mini breakdown sets the signal of intent for an album that never lets up. ‘...Call In The Futurists’ starts off all chaotic, before sporadically breaking for sweeping vocals and soaring guitars, and then doing it all over again.

Credit : Katie Anderson

As the record develops you realise the band have taken a grunge like approach to their love of post-hardcore, with the classic stop/start, slow/fast, quiet/loud formula applied to perfection. This is none more so apparent than with ‘Operation: Magic Kingdom’, where Leeds upstarts Pulled Apart By Horses are given a serious run for their money. ‘Eating People’ will please you head bangers, ‘/ I Might Be Allergic’ the dancers among you, and ‘Ghost In The Machine’ is for you lovers, kind of. The final two tracks ‘ISM’ and ‘Doctrine’ hint at a greater depth to this band which will no doubt be explored on future records.

With significant support shows for the likes of The Subways and Gay For Johnny Depp, alongside some airplay from Radio 1’s Daniel P Carter, it looks very likely that this hardworking young band will turn many heads and crush lots of ears this forthcoming Summer. See you at the front.

BUY ALBUM // Munroe Effect // Dead Planet Records

Munroe Effect - Operation: Magic Kingdom by Music Liberation

Call in the futurists....mp3 by Munroe Effect

Friday, 27 May 2011

Exclusive Gaoler's Daughter Competition : Win gig ticket & EP

Where's Tim Westwood's Klaxon when you need it?! Yes that's right, Music Liberation has another exclusive for you. This time we have 10 tickets available to see Gaoler's Daughter (we reviewed their EP 'Rhyme and Treason' back in January) at Bush Hall in London on June 3rd. Not only can you get a ticket to the gig but also waiting for you at the door will be a copy of the band's EP. Nice huh?!

To enter the competition simply email us at musicliberation@hotmail.co.uk with your full name. (Putting 'Competition' in the subject line). Or leave a comment on this post.

Entries will close at midnight on June 1st, upon which a random draw will take place to distribute the 10 tickets. All winners will be notified via email. Get on it!

[THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED, THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED]

Gaoler's Daughter - Shark In A Sink by Music Liberation

Monday, 23 May 2011

EP Review : Charlotte Eriksson - The Glass Child

Some months ago Music Liberation featured Charlotte Eriksson’s single Creepy Little Story and I gave it a pretty glowing review. I even said she was one to watch. So it’s with some trepidation that I’m now presented with reviewing her new EP ‘The Glass Child’. What if this record is second-rate twaddle? This is my reputation at stake Eriksson, I hope you realise that.

It all kicks off with the aforementioned single Creepy Little Story. All is well. This bitter-sweet tale about a dysfunctional girl sets a terrifically tongue & cheek, semi-gothic tone that Tim Burton would approve of.

But panic! Eriksson quickly goes off-piste with the introspective 'I'll Never Tell'. The sorrowful lyrics and warm chords balance on the precipice between genuine emotion and rock cliché but the song is wrenched from certain doom with some fantastic vocals that are way beyond her early years. This, combined with a fragile middle eight that’s reminiscent of fellow Scandinavian popster Stina Nordenstam, manages to steer the entire piece away from the obvious.

And so this becomes the story of The Glass Child. Eriksson tackles formulaic pop head on yet somehow manages to make the obvious, well, unobvious. 'I’m Hidden So Well' could be an out and out rock ballad with its commercially palpable chorus, but coupled with beautifully brittle and absorbing verses it becomes something much more interesting. 'Stuck in my Mind' displays these same contrasts again, sounding like Susanne Vega mixed with Evanescence whilst closing title track 'The Glass Child' takes the contrasts further; palm muted guitars and that familiar Avril Lavigne snarl are circumvented by furrows of calm and delicacy.

Eriksson might have been bold enough to run away to London at 19 to pursue her musical career but her Scandinavian pop heart beats loudly through her penchant for big choruses. This isn’t unpleasant as such (indeed, I suspect it’s positively appealing for the masses), it’s just that her real vulnerability and charm lies in brooding, quieter moments where she shines the strongest. Nonetheless, these contrasts are pleasingly idiosyncratic; Eriksson’s conflicted and quirky writing style makes this EP something more than just ordinary. Therefore I still smugly proclaim she is most definitely one to watch.

Catch Charlotte at The World's End this Thursday for her official (ish) EP launch show!


I'm Hidden so Well by CharlotteEriksson

Stuck In My Mind by CharlotteEriksson

Monday, 16 May 2011

EP Review : Vetoes - Ritalin/Ritalout

I’m still not convinced by the recently coined term ‘post-prog’ (also called ‘new prog’), but if such a genre exists – and the indie music world insists on its usage – then I will submit (like a sheep) and use it to describe Vetoes. If post-prog is the use of progressive elements in alternative and indie music, then it’s a rather fitting description of the Reading based quartet.

Vetoes’ new EP ‘Ritalin/Ritalout’ consists of four expertly produced tracks of indie-rock. It’s not at all groundbreaking – in fact, it’s really quite the opposite. This band sound like a mixture of the big indie bands currently dominating music journalism – laced throughout the EP is the jangle of Vampire Weekend, the math-rock of Foals, and the heavier alt-rock of Biffy Clyro.

Opener ‘The Waterfront’ is propelled into action by pummeling tom toms, and contains stabbing, post-hardcore riffs, with a nice, little Queens Of The Stone Age style interlude in the mid-section. ‘Melting Clocks’ is filled with quick-fire, jangly guitar parts – a style of guitar that is used throughout the EP – while ‘Pacifist’ demonstrates Vetoes’ ability to pen a decent pop hook. The best song is 'Sonic Turge' the closing track – which is perhaps the most Biffy-esque number on offer, with experimental, high-pitched guitar lines and riffs building to an energetic conclusion. The stop-start, quiet-loud dynamics aren’t quite as heavy or erratic as Biffy, but they do add a pleasant (post?) progressive edge. I tend to overlook lyrics in favour of their delivery, but in this case they are so accomplished it was difficult not to take note.

In some regards, particularly the tempo shifts and the vocal harmonies, Vetoes sound like The Automatic (minus the synths), but whereas the latter sound like a band lacking confidence and trying too hard to please everyone (and therefore no one), this band sound purposeful. They know they aren’t producing anything new – they don’t want to, they just want to make heavy indie-alt-rock as well as their contemporaries. As the band told Music Liberation (in an interview in March), referring to other bands: “bands who aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel deserve to be heard as well.” I agree, and this is certainly true of Vetoes. Boundaries may not be pushed, but the songs are written and recorded so professionally, and with such passion, that the resulting ‘Ritalin/Ritalout’ EP sounds just as fine as any of the UK indie-rock mainstays, and just as interesting as any of the other UK post-prog bands, whoever they may or may not be.


Melting Clocks by vetoes

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Single Review : Nicole Atkins - You Come To Me

Taken from her second full length album ‘Mondo Amore’, New Jersey born Nicole Atkins has a new single out titled ‘You Come To Me’, which is available now through Proper Records.

'You Come to Me' is a traditional sounding melancholic tune with a backing track that ebbs and flows throughout. The bass sounds like it has been lifted straight from an Eagles record and that gives it an almost ‘country/rock’ feel that has a toe tapping rhythm to match the rough and self described ‘pop noir’ sound of Nicole’s voice. The lyrical content of the song is very broad and isn’t going to strike any genuine feeling from the listener. However having said that I really enjoyed listening to this track, even though at times it seems the arrangement of an infectious piano melody and guitar strum do carry the vocals. Overall it is the overriding combination of Nicole’s vocals and the backing track which really complement each other, and certainly does leave you wanting to hear more material.


Nicole Atkins - You Come To Me by Music Liberation

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Album Review : Crooked Mountain, Crooked Sea - What's There To Write About?

After giving such a bright review of their EP last August, it was with much delight when the debut album from Brighton’s Crooked Mountain, Crooked Sea recently dropped through our inbox. Titled ‘What’s There To Write About?’ and released this week through Box Social Records, we were expecting big things and we haven’t been let down.

Kicking off with the eerie ‘Faults’, the band carry on where they left off from their EP ‘I Watched It From The Roadside’, with a stunning combination of angst driven vocals and powerful drums, interspersed with cutting guitars. Vocalist Andy Brothwell has great depth to his voice, which is none more so apparent than on ‘Plans’ where he seems to effortlessly transcend from full on lung bursting shouts to being quiet and almost understated. ‘Chances Scattered’ demonstrates a more mellow sound for the band, whereas my favourite track from the LP ‘Second Guessing From An Armchair’, definitely does not. ‘It Should’ is another cleverly worked song, as it slowly builds with haunting vocals and a singular guitar before being launched into full scale ear bashing.

Clocking in at a mere 27 minutes there no hanging around with this record, but then there’s enough diversity on offer to make it somehow seem longer than that. Having been recorded predominantly live in a converted stable there is a tendency for some sounds to get drowned out by others, however I feel this adds great texture and a sense of urgency which is vital when trying to get across the message of this band.

This debut record is raw and totally uncompromising, certainly not for the faint of heart, but well worth checking out. 


Crooked Mountain, Crooked Sea - Drawing Details by Undress To Win Press