Monday, 6 February 2012

Raven & the Lyon - Freedom of the City - The Bacillus - Loor A Los Heroes - Reviewed by The Hood

What happens when you take someone out of the day job and give them carte-blanche to write what they want? Well, it seems it's a touch of lunacy. We'll leave the new member of the Eartwister family to introduce himself, and promise a straight jacket is not too far away if it all gets too much for him. Enjoy the reviews.

My name is The Hood and you will produce and listen to DECENT MUSIC!!!!
Damn it, the mind-control ray seems to be on the blink again. Must get Clive to have a look at that (Clive! I told him that was a sh*t name for a criminal mastermind's henchman, but would that ball-bag listen?)

    Anyhow, I'm broadcasting from my mysterious secret island in the middle of the Humber Estuary (well that's not secret anymore is it!) The construction of my latest terrifying weapon is underway (well it would be if you could get an electrician out from Grimsby. You won't get one without paying a call out charge, even if you offer to give them a ride in the Death hovercraft. It's the same with plumbers. I've had a leak in the filter system of my shark tank for months now.) My latest weapon is the Cock-Rocket. My plan is to fire one of these over every continent, exploding the contents of the warheads over all major centres of population. I've created a toxin from testosterone, lamb madras and lager that, when ingested, will, over time change all women into men and increase the penis size of any man that comes into contact with it. Clive reckons the plan is 'proper gay' and my psychiatrist (yeah, she loves the Death Hovercraft) thinks I may have repressed homosexual tendencies but I told her she was a fool and asked for the plate back from the quiche I'd baked her on her last visit.

I'm in charge of a small army of fiercely loyal troops known as the Hood Guard, recruited (shanghaied if truth be told) from some of the rougher drinking holes in Grimsby and Hull. They look so dashing in their spandex one piece suits (with lovely lemon piping and epaulettes, designed by yours truly!) although some of them keep getting it snagged on the razor wire. Anyway, to keep this crack force entertained while they go about their daily chores, I pipe music through the Bose speakers I've had rigged up across the island (I paid top wack but hey, I can't have sh*t sound on my secret island can I?)

As you probably worked out from my initial outburst I will only play decent music to the troops and have been known to execute anyone found secretly listening to sh*te on I-Pods in their bunks at night. I found one little turd listening to Mumford and Sons the other week. He got the tied to a table, lazer treatment. Clive said 'why don't ya just shoot 'im innit?' but I'm a criminal madman aren't I?

Occasionally I get sent new bands to review by that gang called Eartwister (I can think of far worse ways to torture someone than that!)
Clive and I take time out from our dastardly plans to while away the spare minutes in the luxury listening area (situated behind the nuclear reactor) and give our unbiased opinions on the dazzling array of new talent.

Raven and the Lyon. When I saw one of their tunes was called 'Cry Wolf'
I wondered whether they may have been watching a touch too much Springwatch. However, their four songs on Soundcloud are pleasant enough. They all lollop along in a folky, twelve string 3/4 shuffle kind of way. Clive commented that he thought that their guitars may have been stuck on the Suzanne Vega doing Van Morrison's 'Moondance' setting but I think he may have been a bit cruel with that. The vocals had a rather breathy, dreamy quality that Clive and I enjoyed while we sipped our camomile tea, especially on the track 'Perspectives' which is quite agreeably structured. There's some promise here, but they could do well to experiment with different rhythm and tempo.

 Freedom Of The City ( From their press shots they look like typically rough Manchester types and would probably make good additions to the Hood Guard. Providing they don't have a problem with authority (which I find doubtful looking at them). Their website has an album's worth of demos for your delectation, and though the tunes like 'Colour My Mind' are full of lad-swagger and a bit riff-tastic a couple of songs display a more delicate touch, notably 'Find You' (I'm in the middle of the Humber lads) which pulls the riffing back in favour of a choppy ska style verse before blossoming into a pint-glass-in-the-air chorus melody. The playing throughout is skintight and in places thunderous and by the time we'd reached 'Bleed The Sky Dry', Clive and I were jumping around in gay abandon. My reservations about this band are only born from where their form and demeanour lie. It's most definitely in the lad's club along with the odious Corteeners and dare I say the Gallagher shadow is one they find hard to step out of. The promise and quality of some of the songs mean they shouldn't have to walk down that already muddy Mancunian path unless they choose to. Come out and start wearing spandex (with lemon piping)!

The Bacillus who have a few songs on YouTube that are part of a forthcoming album apparently.
Now me and Clive have been together in crime for a good few years now. Long enough to remember the indie scene circa '84/'85 and the cottage industry that sprung up across the UK producing cassettes (!) and fanzines independently of the independent labels. Now that's indie. From this scene a few bands emerged and went on to be signed to indie labels. One such band were Yeah Yeah Noh from Leicester (look them up). Me and Clive used to love throwing shapes to them in our overcoats and The Bacillus remind us so much of them. Their raw, shambolic sound is like a more muscular updated version of YYN and has been our fave stuff sent through from Eartwister this time. The music can't be described as being born in the garage as much as the garden shed. The simplistic jangle combined with political savvy is intoxicating on tracks like 'Transatlantic Confusion' and the album's title track, 'I Can't Adapt To This Prison You Call Society'. They took us back to our pre C86 days when the worst crimes we'd ever dreamt up were the odd post office robbery or posing as gas men to steal vulnerable pensioners' beer money. Makes a change from bands concluding that they actually have to be able to sing and play. Nice. We'd like to see them out on the island some day soon.

Loor a los Heroes.
Hailing from the sleepy hamlet of Warrington would be enough to spur most people on to form a band of some description and that's what these plucky youngsters have done. Formed a band. Of some description. In thrall to the back-seat-of-the-bus doggerel of Pigeon Detectives and oh no, Corteeners (hrumph, what is it with you lot?) there is a boyish charm to this, but is there room down the lads club when they've sorted the fake I.D's? It's not that they can't play (here on the island that's never been a prerequisite anyway) they've obviously put the work in, it's just what they choose to play. Channel the energy of youth off the beaten path and into the dark woods of experimentation and we could have something akin to the tyre on the end of the rope. FUN.

The lads will probably implore me, as on the chorus of 'This Town' to “f*ck right off” but could I care less? I'm in charge of a vast criminal empire stretching way beyond Cheshire. Mwu ha ha ha!! 

So concludes my review of this set of new bands. I'm off to put some WD40 on the volcano’s sliding roof ,it's been squeaking like a tw*t. Toodle pip,
The Hood.

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