Reviews roundup – Shiraz Lane vs. Miranda Lee Richards vs. Atomic Symphony vs. Ari & The Alibis

shiraz-laneSHIRAZ LANE
Be The Slave Or Be The Change

They’ve now been snapped up by Frontiers Records, but this self released EP was the first indication of some great new sleaze rock.

And like all the best sleazers, they’re looking back to the mid to late eighties when Guns ‘n’ Roses, Skid Row, Easy Action and their ilk were making a name for themselves. I assume, based on their name, that they’re big fans of the aforementioned Skid Row, and the music they purvey seems to indicate the same.

It’s rowdy, rough and ready glam metal meets sleaze, with a hint of “Young Man’s Blues”, and it the EP is a real pleasure straight off the bat, with ‘Mental Slavery’ setting you up for a raucous ride. They’ve got some great riffs, with ‘Money Talks’ the best of them, but wherever you drop the needle, you’re guaranteed a rock’n’roll fix.
Echoes Of The Dreamtime
Invisible Hands

A new name to me, but she’s been on the go for ages, although it’s over six years since her last album came out. She even toured over here, and had a hit single in Japan, back in 2001. It’s an odd one, though, and fairly hard to describe, although I’m sure readers of the Guardian will swoon with delight at the notion of dreamy, psychedelic, jazz tinged pop.

It sort of reminded me of the last Jo Hamilton album, which had a similar feel, and if I were the kind of person who invited vegans round for dinner, then this is what I would have bubbling away in the background while we discussed new cycle routes. It does sometimes take an adventurous side turn into the realms of folk-prog, especially on ‘It Was Given’, but a lot of the music just washed over me.

It does sound good, with an excellent production, and fans of latter day Cowboy Junkies will probably find themselves at home here. Me, I like meat with my potatoes.



a1395451312_10ATOMIC SYMPHONY

Off to Switzerland for some progressive metal from Atomic Symphony. Turns out they used to be a symphonic metal band, who decided to make the short jump into prog metal, and this is an interesting start to their career.

They can certainly wheel out the intricate riffs and tempo changes, although when vocalist Jasmin Baggenstos pitches in, things do swing back more in a symphonic metal direction. It may take them some time to shake off their roots, so songs like ‘Walk Through Fire and Pain’ and ‘Fate of the Gods’ aren’t the full prog metal deal quite yet.

But there is promise here, and if you’re in the market for an up and coming prog metal outfit, lend them an ear.


album_cover_rgbARI & THE ALIBIS
Dirty Little Secret

A relatively new band, from Sarasota, Florida, Ari and the Alibis have a fifteen track album out, and have sent a five track sampler out for review. So I don’t know whether the other two thirds of this record are shit.

They’re sort of a Latin jam band meets blues and rock, fronted by Ari McManus who has a decent enough blues voice, alongside the Alibis, namely Nicolass Kraster on guitar, James Dabone on trombone, David Whittaker on bass, and John Walker on drums. The best songs are the second and last, namely ‘Drinkin’ Again’ and ‘Whatever Lola Wants’, the former having some real soul, while the latter has a Latin punch.

I’m not convinced that I’d want to hear a whole fifteen track album, based on the hit to shit ratio here, but it might be worth giving things a stream to find if there’s gold elsewhere in the full version.