Quick plays: THE ESKIES, CIRCULINE, THE DEEP HOLLOW

THE ESKIES After The Sherry Went Round

THE ESKIES After The Sherry Went Round
Parochial Dancehall Records [Release date 26.08.16]

The debut from this Dublin based quintet is a rip-roaring unhinged concoction of sea soaked gypsy folk.

They’re like The Coral and the Mumfords rolled into one irresistible force.  And with both those bands having diverged from their original modus operandi, The Eskies are well placed to capitalise.

Fresh from a Glastonbury appearance and with extensive touring of Ireland, the UK, Spain, Italy and The Netherlands under their belt, and making friends at each and every gig, After The Sherry Went Around has already been released in Ireland to public and critical acclaim.

Cataloguing the band’s first four years, it delivers riotous tales of betrayal, revenge, fear and scorn in the style of the drunken rantings and ravings of an inebriated Edwardian era after-dinner singer.

With the core band of Ian Bermingham – guitar/vocals,  Tim George – bass/vocals, Steven Kearney – drums/vocals, Rob Murphy – mandolin, and Sean O’Reilly – guitar/vocals supplemented by The Lord Henry’s Little Big Band – Kev Foran -trumpet, Daniel Page – clarinet, and Chris Rooney – trumpet, it may be unhinged, but the results are inebriating in their own right.

It’s an unlikely mix, but the sheer exuberance is infectious.  Catch The Eskies on their Autumn 2016 UK tour – a good time is guaranteed.  Turbo charged, maniacal, mayhem.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

CIRCULINE Counterpoint Inner Nova Music

It seems no time at all since we were reviewing Circuline’s debut album – Return (2015).  But then most bands these days don’t deliver albums at annual intervals.

Born out of prog cover bands, and with a new lead guitarist in place as of January 2016, this New York State-based band has recruited no fewer than seven guest guitarists to feature on their sophomore release.  One assumes that new recruit Beledo only arrived in time to add some finishing touches to the process.

Unlike their debut, which was very much a case of ‘spot the influence’, Counterpoint is a more cohesive piece of work.  The band’s influences are still obvious – elements of Yes in the vocals and early Crimson in the quieter moments.  Peppered with atmospheric spatial ambience it’s another thoroughly enjoyable listen.

As you’d expect of any self-respecting prog album there’s some lovely melody lines and time changes aplenty.  The keys of Andrew Colyer are particularly impressive, and there’s no shortage terrific guitar playing.  As on their debut Matt Dorsey from Sound Of Contact makes a guest appearance and Circuline are developing into a band of very much the same ilk.

If there’s a criticism, it’s the absence of a real standout track, although ‘Forbidden Planet’ – on which Natalie Brown provides some particularly fine backing vocals – showcases the band’s talents to the full.

An album that needs to be listened to and absorbed, preferably with the lights dimmed.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

THE DEEP HOLLOW s/t [Release date 16.04.16]

Two acoustic guitars, three voices.  From Springfield, Illinois.

Singer Elizabeth Eckert and singer/guitarist Micah Walk started working together in 2013, with singer/guitarist Dave Littrell joining shortly thereafter to complete The Deep Hollow line-up.

While Eckert was influenced by pop, country, folk, and Americana, Walk and Littrell grew up on a diet of classic rock – The Beatles, Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and in adolescence Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and Stone Temple Pilots.

But while the three have pop and rock backgrounds, The Deep Hollow is twelve acoustic stripped down and harmony folk/Americana songs, with only subtle hints of their pop, blues and wider influences.

Two tracks in particular capture the essence of the band – ‘Runaway’ – a shimmering folkie number with some aching lead vocals from Eckert, and the mellow lament ‘Dead And Gone’ featuring pedal steel, banjo and gloriously restrained harmonies.

The clean, minimalistic recording works well with the material and, I imagine, accurately captures their live sound.  One for those who enjoy the likes of the Civil Wars and enjoy their Americana delivered with no frills or whistles.  ***

Review by Pete Whalley

A BLUE FLAME What We’ve Become Is All That Now Remains

Leicester may be home to the current premier league champions, and to the premier UK crisp producer, but is it about to produce the next big singer songwriter in the form Richard Stone, aka A Blue Flame?

The album title reflects the late 60s that have influenced Stone in much the same way Richard Gough aka A Badly Drawn Boy.  It opens with hints of Everything But The Girl and some impressive flugelhorn (courtesy of Tony Robinson) and moves through echoes of Al Stewart, before settling into a groove with more than just a flavour of Paul Weller – both in song structure and vocally.

Perhaps not the most technically gifted of singers (he even strays towards Proclaimers territory with ‘I Don’t Know’), but clearly What We’ve Become Is All That Remains is all about the songs.  They’re engaging, but most towns up and down the land have songsmiths of this nature.

In crisp terms, A Blue Flame is Ready Salted, and in Premier League status he’s a candidate for ‘going down’.  That’s not to say he hasn’t got appeal, but success is likely to be local, rather than national.  **1/2

Review by Pete Whalley


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 30 August 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 8 September 2020.


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Featured Albums w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 PERFECT PLAN Time For A Miracle (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 OVERLAND Scandalous (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 ANNIE DRESSNER Coffee At The Corner Bar (indie)

Power Plays w/c 14 September (Mon-Fri)

GALLOWS CIRCUS Medicine Man (indie)
ROY ZIV Currents (indie)
NOVATINES Honey (indie)
KILFEATHER Never Stop (indie)
VANILLA FUDGE Immigrant Song (Golden Robot Records)
BROKEN MACHINE Sweet Mary Jane (indie)



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