Quick plays: TALK-SHOW, STEVE RAVENSFIELD

TALK-SHOW Permanent Honeymoon

TALK-SHOW Permanent Honeymoon (Wooden Piano Records)

The brainchild of Maidstone singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lawrence O’Shea, Talk-Show brings together Gustaff Llunggren (brass, woodwind, strings and lap steel) and Chris Pepper (drums, percussion, programming, electric and bass guitars and syths), overseen by producer Boo Hewerdine (who fronted cult 80′s indie band the Bible).

The PR blurb would have you believe they blend Velvet Underground, Kraftwerk, and McCartney but to my ears their influences are far more recent – from a songwriting perspective, the likes of 10cc, and from a musical delivery perspective a range of 1980′s influences, perhaps most notably the likes of The Lightning Seeds mixed with elements of The Cars, and ELO.

So what you get is cleverly crafted retro pop rock.  No surprise that they’ve shared the stage with the likes of Squeeze.  And as fellow reviewer Jason Richie commented when reviewing the band’s 2015 All Messed Up (And Nowhere To Go) EP, not a million miles removed from Cats In Space who were recently awarded the GRTR! 2017 album of the year accolade.

Whether this signals a new trend – a classic 70′s pop rock/early 80′s synth revival – it’s too early to say, but well written songs, with irresistible hooks, that cry out for radio airplay, will always be well received.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

STEVE RAVENSFIELD Into The Next Life [Release date 01.12.17]

The second long player inside 12 months from this somewhat mysterious Midlands singer songwriter whose web footprint offers no bio, no photos, no dates.  Nothing.

Throw into the mix that for a limited time (well after its release) he offered his last album Broken Diamonds delivered free, not even a p&p charge, and the mystery thickens.

Then there’s the cryptic Facebook message that while he was hoping to get out on the road before the year end he was unable to do so for personal reasons, and the somewhat maudlin nature of his new material – the burdens of this mortal coil – and you sense this is stuff he needs to say before the sands of time run out.

So a very personal album, but very much like on his debut his hoarse, gravelly vocals and easy listening brand of acoustic driven soft rock, don’t wholly convince.  At least not in a commercially viable sense, and it’s the gospelly backing vocals (from, I’m guessing Ange Lloyd again) that lift much of the material.

But if catharsis is the aim, and I suspect it is, then while it may be fairly run of the mill fodder to you and I, it’s mission achieved with the poignant ‘If I Never Tell You Goodbye’ and the driving title track offering an element of redemption. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


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Power Plays w/c 27 November


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