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Posts Tagged ‘ep review’

THE LEVITATORS – Eclectica

(Independent)

>Adelaide six piece deliver an EP guaranteed to get you grooving.

At least the Levitators are upfront with what they’re giving you. Eclectica, the follow up EP to the group’s 2008 debut album, has never been a more apt title for a release. Not many acts can pull off the idea of eclectic without seeming scattered or directionless, but The Levitators have managed well. Rather than sounding disjointed, the group combines elements of funk, hip hop and reggae, infusing them into one high energy style. Once Again opens the EP with a strong burst of horns, setting a laid back and groovy atmosphere. Sunshine In My Juice brings out the funk and the hip-hop infused Microphone Freak toys with electronic elements. Each track on Eclectica flows on well from the other, maintaining momentum throughout and never allowing for a lull.

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So I’ve been a bit quiet lately. But I write for Rave Magazine now! The first review I’ve done for them can be found here.

HIS MERRY MEN – Super Secret Spies EP

Monday, 12 December 2011

(Independent)

Brisbane’s own funktastic nine-piece release debut EP

In a city that seems to be revolving around indie-pop lately, His Merry Men are a breath of fresh air on the scene. Combining elements of funk and jazz, featuring strong vocals from frontwoman Megan Crocombe, the nine-piece are bursting with energy. The title track opens with a ‘50s-inspired surf guitar lick and horn accents in just the right places, while Crocombe advises us to “Just get out and enjoy yourself” over a languid chromatic riff in Njoy. Energy remains high throughout the EP, even during the slower Motown-influenced Bobby Got, thanks to thick textures and a beautifully layered brass section. The band have quickly made a name for themselves because of their vivacious live performances, and thankfully they’ve managed to capture this perfectly on record.”

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Wings is the follow up EP for Brisbane’s own power-pop quartet the Bloodpoets. The group gained success last year after the release of their debut album Polarity with radio airplay, national tours and some pretty decent support slots. The six-track EP shows the four-piece attempting to move to a more mature sound. The end result isn’t as immediate as Polarity and doesn’t really sound like the Bloodpoets we’ve become familiar with. I’ve always loved the band and rave about them every chance I get, but I can’t help but feel a little let down by this EP. I’ve had it for a while, hoping that maybe it’s a ‘grower’ but it doesn’t really hold up to what was offered in Polarity.

First off, Wings is mostly much slower and darker, with an attempt at a fuller sound. There is added brass and strings that sound out of place and over produced. This is particularly seen in ‘She Feels It’, strong piano and overstated strings that are by far too dramatic by comparison to the rest of the EP. A jilted change into a guitar solo sounds of out place, and left me thinking that maybe they tried a little too hard to fit all these epic ideas into this track. On the complete other end of the spectrum, tracks like ‘Faces on the Street’ come across as cringe-worthy pop punk.

Opening track ‘Wings’ hints back at the sound we’re familiar with, but feels more like a half baked version of what could have been a brilliant track. First single ‘Dance’, which came out last year, is probably the best track on the EP and by far the catchiest. It’s true that a great hook doesn’t make a great song, but it has certainly worked for the Bloodpoets in the past. What’s missing from the EP is a sense of fun and excitement; instead we have a band that seems to be trying to take themselves far too seriously.

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Less Arty, More Party is the debut EP from Brisbane based disco pop five-piece the Belligerents. Still only a relatively new band (emerging early in 2010), they group has managed to cement their sound quite well, delivering a solid EP. No, their sound isn’t ground breaking. And I’m sure there are some other bands out there who even do it better (Foals, the Rapture). They are definitely a product of their influences, and they wear it proudly on their sleeves – and it’s hard to fault them for that. Their songs are just so damned memorable though, that it doesn’t seem to matter.

Opener ‘These Hands’ has a driving backbeat and catchy hooks. ‘Such a Crime’ is a delicious piece of indie-pop goodness, though the synth riff towards the end is just a little too cliché. ‘Take Me Back’ is heavy in mood – a bit unlike the other tracks on this release. The track alternates between slow and intense, and an upbeat guitar riff. By far the weakest track on the album, it’s still an extremely enjoyable listen. Remixes never do much for me though, and the remix of ‘These Hands’ (done by their producer, Timeshare) that has been tacked onto the end of the EP really doesn’t seem to serve much purpose. The title of the EP certainly doesn’t lie. Rather than bothering with being overly abstract, The Belligerents instead focus on a strong beat and an overall fun feel. Their renowned live energy has been masterfully captured in the recordings, making for an extremely fun listen.

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Scissors is the first of three EPs to be released from Brisbane group Laneous & the Family Yah this year. All will focus on different aspects of the band’s style, with Scissors leaning more towards soul (according to the press release, the next EPs Paper and Rock will centre on indie pop and hip hop / afro-punk respectively). As expected with L&TFY though, we’re told it is supposed to have a strong ‘soul’ focus, but it’s difficult to typecast them into any sort of genre really. The EP opens with the crisp guitar riff of ‘Haunting (Me)’, a catchy little number featuring female backing vocals that are used more in a live context than they are on record. It’s sharp and funky, with a little bit of a hip hop influence and will get you dancing in your chair within seconds. ‘Keys’ is light-hearted and a lot of fun, with silly sing-a-long lyrics and a particularly awesome breakdown/outro. The band’s strengths are more so in their energetic, up-beat material, with the laid back soul ballad ‘Damn !?!! (I Don’t Know If I…)’ sounding a little too generic compared to other tracks. It’s hard to showcase everything these guys can do in a five track EP. It certainly doesn’t capture how exciting they are live, but gives a good taster of what they can offer. Definitely looking forward to the next two releases from this collection later this year.

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Perth quartet Young Revelry have been floating around just under the radar for the past year or so now. They’ve been getting a fair bit of attention on their Triple J Unearthed page but certainly not being overplayed to the point of saturation. Their debut EP You and I showcases what the group has to offer, their accessible hard rock style reminiscent of British India or Children Collide and even at some points the early 90s grunge of Alice in Chains (the opening of ‘Reckless Minds’ being the prime example). You and I opens strongly with the title track, blending perfect pop craft with a heavier edge. ‘Nineteen Seventy Three’ is by far the stand out track, from the chunky opening bassline to the slight snarl of the moody vocals. The letdown though is the closing track, ‘A Noiseless Patient’.  As much as I believe there is a place for instrumental tracks, I don’t think they belong on EPs with so little room to show what you have to offer, and particularly as a closing track. It feels like it was tacked on as an afterthought and adds nothing of value. However with the omission of the final track, You and I is a flowing, and easy to listen to extended play.

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