Reviews roundup – Twister ~ Kevin Godley ~ The Bitter Elegance ~ Maidens of Mercury ~ Cruel Logic
Cursed & Corrected
Off Yer Rocka Recordings
So what have here on the debut album from young English fella me lads Twister?
Modern indie rock by the sounds of it. With a few nineties alt rock influences and a couple of eighties melodic rock hooks. Fair enough.
I was racking my brains trying to mind who they sounded most like. I knew it wasn’t a band I liked but a band that someone I used to work beside liked. Now I’ve worked a lot of places so it took a fair amount of time to dredge it back up. But then it popped. It was thon lassie who liked Fall Out Boy. And when I remembered that it fell into place. They seem to be getting lumped in with something called the New Wave Of Classic Rock but there’s nothing classic rock about them. When they riff it up they’re punky alt-rock. When they slow it down as on the splendid ‘Mystery’ then they’re US meets Coldplay. Which will sell records.
Singer Stevie Stoker may look like he’s on day release from Tigertailz but he’s got a really good voice that can handle the shifts in gear with ease. And his bandmates are very adept at putting together their modern indie rock sound. There are a few tunes that would fit snugly on a Those Damn Crows record while the rifftastic “Feeding Frenzy” is the call and response song that every decent band needs for a festival stage. Assuming that the Powers That Be allow such a thing post the Great Reset. The closest they get to out and out rawk is probably ‘Fist Fight by the Waterside’ which a) has a great title and b) rawks.
A wee bit too indie for the auld metalhead that lives inside my head but an accomplished release.
Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if Kevin Godley made an electro pop album? No? Me neither. But if you had wondered that then wonder no longer. Because that’s exactly what this sounds like.
It’s also, oddly enough, the first solo album from the former 10cc / Godley & Creme fella. Never to do one by half this has had a tortuous creation having been one of the records caught up in the PledgeMusic hookers and blow scandal. But it’ll be here soon. Or now if you’re reading this post release.
He’s actually been been drip releasing the album since July with a new tune coming out every fortnight. Those of who’ve been paying attention may recall that many years ago he asked via the internet for people to submit instrumental pieces for consideration. Turns out he got 286 of those with 11 making the cut on this record, subsequent to him adding melodies and lyrics. Despite the disparate origins there is a completeness to the record. Which you would expect bearing in mind he still sounds exactly like Kevin Godley.
A lot of the lyrics have meaning. So no moon, June, baboon stuff here. Instead he’s addressing the ills of the world. Musically, it’s all very melodic as this is a man who knows how to fashion a hook you won’t forget. Most of the tracks are mid-tempo which is why something like “Expecting A Message” is one of the standouts as it packs a bit of a bash. Of the slower numbers “Periscope” captured my attention while big in the noughties Gotye contributes “Song Of Hate” which blips and bleeps along in a very Gotye type manner assuming at some point he’d decided to become the eighth dwarf.
It’s certainly interesting albeit a tad too electro for my ears. But people starved of Mr Godley will warm to this.
THE BITTER ELEGANCE
Twisting The Fairytale
Participation Trophy Records
A re-release for a 2018 album from The Bitter Elegance. I first heard them on their “Hiding In The Spotlight” release earlier this year about which I said “you can drop the needle anywhere you like and you’re off into world of rabbit holes and spiral galaxies.” So how freaked out am I to find out that this CD kicks off with a song called ‘Rabbit Hole’. I know I’ve had issues in the past (and present) but you’d think I’d remember a time machine. Unless it was the Australasian aliens. But that’s a whole other story.
Anyway it’s nice to hear where they came from. And it turns out that everything I said about their last / next album holds true for this one. They really do write some great pop songs. Granted, they shine them up a bit and run them through an electro-goth filter but if someone like Pink released ‘You Had Me At Goodbye’ then it would be a monster, monster smash.
The more you listen to them the more it makes sense that a couple of them spent years plying their trade in a power pop band as the songs are just dripping with hooks and melodies. The first song proper is probably my favourite despite being neither a tribute to Nazareth or Paice, Ashton & Lord. That aside, ‘Malice In Wonderland’ is an absolute delight and one of many songs where the vocals of Ms Merlot make me ever so slightly moist. If I had to choose between this and “Hiding In The Spotlight”, then I’d probably save the later album purely because it has a wee bit more of an edge. Whereas this one is definitely poppier. Fortunately, this isn’t a bad TV movie and I don’t have to leave one of them to drown.
It’s a great record and comes highly recommended.
MAIDENS OF MERCURY
So this is what prog metal vocalists get up to in their spare time.
Although, I’d set some time aside for dealing with Mr Bongiovis lawyers should he ever get to hear ‘Before The Madness’. Because, it turns out that when he’s not fronting prog metal outfit HeKz that Matt Young likes a bit of eighties rawk. But, to be fair, so should everyone. But then, pre Chinese pretendy bat pox, he also took part in London 80s tribute night Shot Through the Heart. Which explains the big, BIG power ballad ‘Slipping Away’.
I’m a sucker for this sort of thing having been there the first time around and Mr Young certainly knows how to deliver on this four/five track EP. which he put together all on his lonesome to fill in those long lockdown hours. And it was time well spent. There are a lot of bands out there who try to recreate this era on new material but they always seem to end up lacking that special something. This has it, especially when he gets a wee bit pomptastic ala Starcastle and their ilk.
It sounds remarkably good given its origin, beating out several recent records by major (well, minor really) melodic rock outfits signed to biggish labels. A real treat.
Davybe’s Musical Emporium
Once upon a time David Bryan (aka Davey Be) was in a number of bands, cutting demos and trying to make his way. Then life gets in the way and family and jobs take precedent. Fast forward a few decades and he gets his mojo back.
Which has led to this five track EP which sees him writing the songs and playing the instruments, bar one guitar solo. He’s brought in session vocalist Dan Picknell to do the singing as he was very well aware of his limitations there.
Musically, it’s old school metal, bordering on true metal in places. And it certainly rocks hard. For a home recording it sounds quite full although nothing will ever convince me that programmed drums aren’t the spawn of Satan. But needs must. Best of the bunch is “Tomb of the Unknown Rocker” which features the aforementioned guitar solo from Mike May while “Grind For Life” has a cracking riff at its core.
It’s more of a glorified demo than anything else but it’s always good to see someone reigniting their passion.
St Columba’s Hospice Tribute Fund for Linda Hamilton