AVISO – ‘Clear The Air’ Single Review

Wandering around Alsager Music Festival on Saturday, led to me stumble across a band I was yet to hear. AVISO, a four-piece indie rock band from Chorley, opened the main stage on Saturday 9th July and absolutely killed it. Frontman Ashton Naylor’s vocal range was striking, sending shivers up spines and setting the standard for every other act to follow.

Their latest single ‘Clear The Air’ is Earth shatteringly good, making it the perfect track to play on a long drive out on an open road. Beginning with the distant strums of a guitar, ‘Clear The Air’ starts off as a very tame track, with each instrument making an entrance at different points in the first verse. It’s a largely understated opening to a song that has far more to offer than first meets the eye (or ear in this case) and as the verse rolls into the chorus, through a short sharp build up, it suddenly becomes clear why this band are destined for good things.

It’s the thump of the kick drum and the powerful electric guitar that hits you first, making you sit up in your seat in excitement. And then Naylor’s vocals hit you at full force, as he demonstrates his impressive vocal range that tears straight through the chorus. Every component snaps together, creating a catchy kick-ass chorus that makes it hard to believe that AVISO are still a relatively new band.

After a little bit of digging, I find AVISO’s debut single ‘Ignite The Stars’, released at the end of last year. It seems that the four Chorley boys have spent time developing the sound they want to produce, with ‘Clear The Air’ having a more solid feel to it.

‘Clear The Air’ manages to remain a thoroughly engaging and exciting single, right until the very end. It’s a spectacular second single from AVISO, who are certainly a band to keep an eye on in the coming months. If you like your indie rock, your powerful punchy choruses or your music loud, AVISO are your guys.

E.

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Hollie Haines – ‘Romeo’ Debut Single Review

Hollie Haines was a name I wasn’t familiar of. Originally from Cambridge, the 20 year-old Leeds College Of Music student has just released her debut single ‘Romeo’ and she’s keen to make a big impression. Universities are the breeding grounds for new bands and artists. You only have to take a brief look at your record collection to find the most successful ones; The Doors, R.E.M., Pink Floyd and Queen to name a small sample.

‘Romeo’ is a bold choice of a debut single, that carries a dark haunting rhythm conveyed by its skilful instrumentation. At first, you’re led to believe that you’re listening to a simple acoustic track, yet something about the overall sound doesn’t quite fit the ‘solo-acoustic’ mould. It’s clear that there’s more to ‘Romeo’ than meets the eye and when the acoustic guitar and cello drop out to a three second silence, it’s only a matter of time before the real ‘oomph’ hits you.

Picking up the pace, ‘Romeo’ continues to tell the story of a twisted two faced gentleman, who continues to alienate those around him without a second thought for the ones he hurts. This is a track written from personal experience, something that is evident through the sheer anger in Haines’ vocals. They stand out against the backdrop of the band and guide listeners through every detail. There’s even a chance to stamp out your anger as ‘Romeo’ enters its final stages, building up to a climatic ending that leaves you with a desire for more.

If this is her debut, then one can only imagine what else Hollie Haines has in store for listeners. Nevertheless, it’s clear that she’s an artist with great potential and ‘Romeo’ will definitely be at home amongst your other favourite tracks.

E.

Merrym’n – ‘Of The Five Towns’ EP Review

Receiving a copy of the latest creation from Merrym’n had me both excited and apprehensive. I’d been told this was a change in direction and, much like Don’t Call Me Ishmael, I only hoped he’d retained his unique sound.

‘Of The Five Towns’ is the brand new EP from Bob Moston, better known as Merrym’n.

’47 Bottle Kilns’, the first of five tracks, speaks of the demise of the Staffordshire pottery industry. It’s culturally and locally relevant, something that Moston is accustomed to, referencing the thousands of bottle kilns that once filled the skyline of the Potteries many moons ago. ’47 Bottle Kilns’ is a slow and somewhat sorrowful way to open an EP, reflecting on the way things were and how they are now.

‘Ashtrays In The Antiques Fair’ is the first glimpse of Merrym’n’s developed sound. Moston has laid down his acoustic sound in favour of a fuzzy electric guitar, that sprawls out across the track like a spider in a web. It’s reminiscent of Dinosaur Dancefloor, Bob Moston’s former band, but only because of the instrumentation. Everything else is Merrym’n’s own doing.

Bob Moston has a unique way of mapping out and delivering stories to your ears, through his honest ‘real-life’ lyrics and mood changing melodies. ‘Anna Of The Five Towns’ takes you on this journey, with every fine detail covered and enough thought provoking lyrics to last you the week. When Moston sings ‘how can you find happiness if the bus is always late?’, it’s quite obvious there’s more to this lyric than the unpredictable nature of public transport.

‘Driptray Serenade’ is over before you’ve even had time to eat your oatcake. It’s the sort of song that ends so abruptly, you end up awkwardly dancing for a few seconds longer than you should do, to the silence that follows after it’s finished. What you do get however, is a foot-tapping burst of electric guitar and two minutes of all round music goodness.

Closing ‘Of The Five Towns’ is the spooky ‘Elsie Saw A Ghost’. It begins quietly with a whirring-synth sound, giving the impression of something supernatural. Just as you begin to wonder whether you’re listening to a ‘Black Over Bill’s Mother’s’ track that didn’t quite make the cut, a piercing electric guitar appears from the shadows, ruling out any doubts that Merrym’n was returning to the safety net of his previous sound.

‘Of The Five Towns’ contains some of Bob Moston’s finest work. My initial worries soon disappeared when it became obvious that Merrym’n is still exactly the same, except he’s not afraid to experiment – musically.

Armed with a guitar, a refreshing outlook on life and some of the greatest song titles known to Stoke-on-Trent, Merrym’n continues to produce music to be proud of.

E.

Dirty Rotten Souls – ‘You’d Look Better With A Bullet In You’ Single Review

Beginning a bit like a swaggering teenager that has an attitude problem, ‘You’d Look Better With A Bullet In You’ is a ferocious four and a half minutes of real honest music.

This is the brand new single from Dirty Rotten Souls and it means business.

The three-piece have got it absolutely spot on with this track, both musically and lyrically, and it’s great to hear them take another step forward with their sound. It’s not a surprise though, seeing as Dirty Rotten Souls are fast becoming a local favourite.

‘You’d Look Better With A Bullet In You’ is a politically correct rock song and by politically correct, I mean it correctly sums up the shambles that is modern day politics. Loudly and proudly, not once attempting to disguise where they come from, Dirty Rotten Souls bring a torch to reignite the fire in your heart and a riff heavy enough to break the door down at No. 10 Downing Street.

It wouldn’t be a Dirty Rotten Souls track without a dirty rotten guitar solo to round everything off, and don’t worry, ‘You’d Look Better With A Bullet In You’ doesn’t disappoint. A short-build up leads into a solo that seems like it could go on and on and on.. or maybe that’s just because it’s coated with the same anger and hatred, that is so obviously present in Mark Bailey’s vocals.

“Fer gods sake Dave, pull yer trousers up” may quite possibly be the greatest lyric I’ve heard in a long time. No metaphors or beating about the bush. Dirty Rotten Souls say it like it is, and that’s why we love them.

E.

 

 

Parka Burns – ‘Champagne Charlie’ Single Review

Some tracks are made to be turned up and played, at the sort of volume that gets your drink overspilling and your neighbours banging on the wall in frustration. The brand new single from Parka Burns is definitely one of those, so be prepared for lots of spillages and an angry middle-aged man hammering your door down at 3am.

‘Champagne Charlie’ is the first taster of the brand new EP titled ‘Long Forgotten Nights’, coming our way very soon, from one of the loudest live bands I’ve come across.

Parka Burns have been working hard to push their sound further and with the addition of drummer Patrick Cain, the Parka Burns line-up seems complete – for now, at least.

‘Champagne Charlie’ has a rough and ready feel to it, brought about by a heavy, driving guitar rhythm that will have you reaching for your air guitar immediately.

Everything about this track screams “indie”, but in a way that so few seem to be able to deliver. Yes, you can hear their influences and idols creeping through certain areas of the track, but Parka Burns are their own sound. They’re not copies or replicas. They’re three guys who clearly love doing what they do.

Comparing this to the popular ‘Get On Yer Knees (& Pray)’, it’s clear to see their development. Cain has brought a lot to the Parka Burns sound, but vocalist Wizz Poyser and bassist Martin Hambleton have grown both as musicians and individual components to the band.

‘Champagne Charlie’ is just waiting to be your next favourite track and, if they’re not already, Parka Burns are soon to be your next favourite band.

E.

 

 

Merrym’n – ‘Black Over Bill’s Mother’s’ Album Review

I was first introduced to Merrym’n’s musical wonder back in January of this year, when local newspaper The Sentinel published an article about an English teacher who’d written a song titled ‘I Was Born in Stoke-on-Trent’. Bob Moston, who’s guise is Merrym’n, illustriously proclaimed that he was proud of his hometown and, admittedly, I thought he was absolutely crazy.

Until that is, I was sat on the Virgin Pendolino train to Glasgow Central, with his album in hand.

The album itself is a culmination of 9 short stories and 1 slightly bizarre introduction.

There aren’t many albums that begin with an introduction, a theme song if you will, but this is how ‘Black Over Bill’s Mother’s’ begins. Maybe this is Moston’s way of throwing us off the general scent of the album, because what graced my ears on that October morning was not at all what I expected nor was it a reflection of the album. Still though, ‘Roy’s Theme’ is 16 seconds of pleasant randomness.

Kick starting the album is ‘Cow Tipping’, a highly catchy, folky number about a local man and his past. Already it’s obvious that Bob Moston is a detailed lyricist, as ‘Satellite Manager’ and ‘Fat Knacker’ both prove perfectly. Maybe it’s the skilled use of the harmonica in his music, or possibly the general acoustic-folkiness of his sound, but many of Moston’s tracks are easily comparable to some of Bob Dylan’s early work.

The song that caused the biggest wave, however, is the ear worm that is ‘I was Born In Stoke-on-Trent’, a song filled with stories and tales taken from the glorious town of, you guessed it, Stoke-on-Trent. You can say what you like about the people of Stoke, but Merrym’n’s enthusiasm and pride for his beloved hometown is clearly shared by many, and as it currently stands, Moston’s homemade video has received a massive 8,857 views. Pretty impressive considering the amount of negativity that surrounds the town.

Moston’s album continues with the feather light ‘Inflatable Man’, that will have you feeling as though you’re floating about 10 feet off the ground (pardon the pun), followed by ‘Ten-A-Penny’ that brings you back down to earth with the return of the harmonica that really defines Merrym’n’s sound so wonderfully. A personal favourite from ‘Black Over Bill’s Mother’s’ is the short and sweet ‘Blue Rinse Brigade’. Bob Moston’s vocals seem to be at their rawest in this song, and it’s that that makes it one of the strongest of the lot.

Rounding off the ten track album is ‘Stanley’ another story about a character that you can’t help but feel sorry for, and ‘Make Believein’ a song that Merrym’n himself says is “about riding your bike across Biddulph Moor, about adventuring like Gordie, Teddy, Chris and Vern in Stand By Me, about flying across the moon like E.T. and Elliott”. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

‘Black Over Bill’s Mother’s’ is knee deep in local pride. Whether or not Merrym’n intended to, he’s created an album that single-handedly attempts to put Stoke back in people’s good books. I doubt that it’s achievable, but in the meantime, Bob Moston should be extremely proud of his musical offering.

E.