Reviews roundup – Toxicrose vs. Field Mouse vs. Huckelberry Finn vs. Oddity vs. Steelmade

61wb7lgvpwlTOXICROSE
Total Tranquility
City Of Lights

Sleaze rock meets melodic metal. I’ll have some of that.  And that’s exactly what Toxicrose are serving up on their full length debut.

It’s no great surprise, considering the music, that they come from Sweden which remains a hotbed for this sort of thing.  They do have a few modern metal touches to their sound that may put off some die hard sleaze fans, but when the performance level is this high, I’m happy to let is slide.

For sure, it’s not perfect as there 2 or 3 tracks which serve as filler, bit when they hit you with numbers like “Reckless Society” and “Clarify” you can’t help but sit back and admore what they’ve done.  It’s quite tricky trying to satisfy fans of sleaze rock and melodic metal, but given half a chance Toxicrose could be the ones who crossover to both.

It’s a strong debut and one well worth checking out.

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61ch2glxzfl-_ss500_ss280FIELD MOUSE
Episodic
Topshelf Records

And now it’s back to the early nineties for some indie-pop.  You know the sort of thing that would get to number 32 in the charts for a week, while the NME slavered over them as being the saviours of ‘rock’.

They’re American, and this is their second album, although they’ve expanded from a duo to a full band for this offering, and they now comprise Rachel Browne (vocals/guitar), Andrew Futral (guitar), Saysha Heinzman (bass), Tim McCoy (drums) and Zoë Browne (synth/Rhodes/vocals).

It’s all quite poppy and features a host of indie guest performers like Sadie Dupuis (Speedy Ortiz), Allison Crutchfield (Waxahatchee) and Joseph D’Agostino (Cymbals Eat Guitars).  If you spy a fella aged about 30, with a waxed moustache and turn ups, then point him towards this.  He’ll love it.

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1462895235_a0710929450_100vkywHUCKELBERRY FINN
Pain For Pleasure
independent

Album number two from Spanish rockers Huckleberry Finn, three years on from their debut ‘Back to the Alleys’.

They seem to think they’re a prog tinged rock band, but I’m not really getting that vibe.  It seems like fairly straightforward alternative rock, with a few mucky under and, indeed, over, tones.  The title track being a fine example of masochism in action.

They’re good musicians, which really shows up on the lengthy “Chamber E”, which at eleven minutes is probably where the proggy bit comes from, but even that sticks to an alt rock template, albeit with some nice twists and turns.  Things finish up with “Eddie Vedder Was A Nerd In 12th Grade”. And who can argue with that.

61taaz1o6yl-_ss500_ss280ODDITY
Settle Down
independent

A UK/US alternative rock band based in Chicago, there is actually nothing odd about Oddity.

What was alternative is actually mainstream rock these days, so anyone partial to a bot of Foo Fighters meets Editors will be right at home here.  They’ve upped their hipster credentials by wheeling in Steve Albini to press record and set about aiming for the epicentre of the coffee shop heartland.

The British part of the band sees a few nineties indie rock riffs creeping in on tunes like “Ghost” and “Pressure’s Gone”, and they even aim for a lighter in the air moment with “Rolling with the Punches”.

At the moment you could see them in a three in the afternoon slot at Glastonbury but they’ll need a few more memorable songs before they creep up to post tiffin time.

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71tl3rsfqml-_sl1200_STEELMADE
Love Or A Lie
Timezone

Some Swiss hard rock now, courtesy of Steelmade, a name that surely belongs to a NWOBHM band from Sheffield.  But Steelmade don’t rock that hard.

Instead they’re going for a post grunge metal sound, with a few hints of stadium rock.  But not the good eighties kind.  The nineties kind.  So it’s a bit Audioslave meets U2.  Which might excite a lot of people.

There is some good guitar work on offer and a few decent riffs in and around tunes like “Revolution” and “Silent Cries”, but when they aim for a power ballad as on “Without”, then it falls a bit flat.  However, they do manage to come up with one song to get the crowd singing along and that’s “We Are Bizarre”.  Get that in front of a Euro festival crowd and you’ll be on to a winner.

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