Reviews roundup – Microclocks vs. The Haywood Sisters vs. Aqua Talk vs. Skyward vs. Samavayo
Soon Before Sundown
Well that was rather good. Some hard hitting elecro goth spacerock meets pop from Germany.
Turns out that MicroClocks are onto their third album although this is their first for Echozone which is pushing it internationally. And they’ve a lot to offer especially if the thought of a psychedelic Depeche Mode roughing up Marilyn Manson in a back alley floats your boat.
Tunes like “White Rabbit” and “Raptor” grap you instantly with strong melodies and stronger performances shoring up the sound. There are a couple of almost ballads which stymie the flow slightly but if you’re looking for something a wee bit new and different then this is definitely one to try out.
THE HAYWOOD SISTERS
If you’re in the habit of going to retro forties festivals then there is a fair chance you’ll have bumped into the Haywood Sisters over the last few years.
There’s a good few of these vocal harmony groups doing the rounds and some like The Three Belles and the Haywood Sisters have started recording and releasing albums as well as doing the live rounds.
This new album from Georgi, Kath and Lauren sees them taking their Andrews Sisters meets The Ronettes.stylings to an array of material from across the decades along with a couple of new songs. And it works some of the times. The new songs are a bit meh and there a couple of disasters with “Dirty Old Man” the worst offender.
But when they stick to songs that were designed for this format like “Lullaby of Broadway” then it’s an enjoyable listen. But it’s likely to be a souvenir of their live shows rather than an essential easy listening purchase.
Whatever Tickles Your Mind
Off to Turkey now for some progressive rock. Aqua Talk are the band and they’re new kids on the block having only formed last years.
But Sarp Ogun, Bugay Akyuz and Berkay Koksal aren’t hanging around and have already headed into the studio to lay down an album of interesting modern prog rock. They’ve got some seventies influences to their name but it’s very much prog for the 21st century.
And they’ve got the chops to go with it as they ably demostrate on the opening five part suite “Dead Man’s Dream” which unfolds itself over eleven minutes and turns into an absolute treat. Not all the other songs quite match up to their opening salvo but prog lovers looking for something new and vibrant will find a lot to enjoy here.
Certainly they’re a name well worth keeping an eye on.
Some US alternative rock now from Harrisonburg, Virginia. It’s the kind of thing that will find a place on late night college radi so it’s no surprise to learn that the band met at James Madison University.
They’ve been on the go for about four years now and have 400 live shows under their belt so they’ve had plenty of time to get things nice and tight. They’ve even managed to place tunes on some godawful reality TV shows. Bills, bill, bills.
What they’re doing is straight down the middle modern alt-rock so expect some loud-quiet-loud moments and some mid-song whooshes as they aim for Coldplay style domination. And they’ve got some decent enough tunes if this is your Sort of Thing. “Casualty” and “Animal” are good as anything in the genre and if they get some airplay there is no reason why their career shouldn’t match their name.
Berlin, Germany calling and it’s the fifth album from power trio Samavayo who specialise in a hard hitting retro sounding rock, replete with heavy psychedelia and some Middle Eastern vibes. It’s like the seventies man.
They actually kick things off with a Persian language tune called “Arezooye Bahar” and although I know nothing about anything would appear to be a song about freedom of movement. Again, without actually knowing anyting it’s more than possible that guitarist / vocalist Behrang Alavi may have roots over there.
Along with bassist / vocalist / Moog player Andreas Voland and drummer / vocalist Stephan Voland he certainly conjures up a righteous noise. For sure some of the songs are stretched beyond their natural lifespan but when they manage to get song, performance and editing working together you end up with a monumentally great song like “Intergalactic” which out pummels Monster Magnet. That tune alone makes it worthwhile but anyone into MM, Karma To Burn and their ilk will find this a happy place.