Quick plays: THE DARK LIGHT, MOOD GROOVE, GREG RUSSELL & CIARAN ALGAR

THE DARK LIGHT - Keep Off The Grass

THE DARK LIGHT Keep Off The Grass [Release date 06.04.18]

The Dark Light formed in 2015 and this is their debut album with a line-up consisting of Gerrard Edwards (vocals), Henning Brand (drums), Roberto Cicorella (guitars), Sonny Moylan (guitars) and Marco Simoncelli (guitars). All the songs bar one are written by Gerrard and Marco.

Musically they span from a couple of ballads with added piano in the shape of ‘Under The Skin’ and ‘It’s Alright’ (this one gives the Quireboys a run for their money), to the Oasis riff rock on ‘We Are The Stars’ and the jaunty title track that recalls the Sterephonics. Nothing overly original but they do it well and have a few top notch tunes in the aforementioned songs and ‘Higher The Light’, a summer festival anthem in waiting…

The Dark Light have made an impressive debut album and with live shows, a few decent support slots and a little luck they are set to make a name for themselves. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

MOOD GROOVE

MOOD GROOVE  Escape Music [Release date 20.04.18]

Mood Groove is a little something different from JK Northrup and indeed Escape Music. Formed by JK Northrup (Gypsy Soul/King Kobra/XYZ) and Ed Balldinger they wanted to make music outside of their usual musical boxes and it encompasses rock, funk, psychedelic, soul, blues and gospel. Mood Groove also features 3/4 of Gypsy Soul (Escape Music released that album last year), with Northrup joined by fellow Gypsy Soul members bassist Larry Hart (King Kobra/Montrose) and drummer Glen Hicks.

They do heavy funk rock on ‘Funk Soul Sister’ and ‘Launching Pad’, which allow JK Northrup chance to let fly on his guitar. Elsewhere it is a real mish mash of styles with the frankly bizarre ‘We Are The Mushroom Men’ – like Frank Zappa jamming with the Beatles – and the blues/gospel pastiche on ‘Stone Dead Man’.

Mood Groove must have had fun making these songs and if you have a open musical mind they will appeal. Just don’t go expecting the melodic hard rock that you would normally associate with JK Northrup. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

GREG RUSSELL & CIARAN ALGAR Utopia and Wasteland

GREG RUSSELL & CIARAN ALGAR Utopia and Wasteland [Release date 13.04.18]

Greg Russell (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Ciaran Algar (violin, banjo, guitar, bodhran, vocals) are a very talented, young duo who have also released their own solo works. In addition Algar is a member of Sam Kelly & the Lost Boys and Ciaran on the folk opera the Transports.

This is the duo’s fourth album together (they are not even in their mid-20′s yet!) and is an enticing mix of traditional folk with a modern flavour in the lyrics. Algar’s violin playing is sublime on the instrumental ‘Warwick Road’, whilst Russell has a timeless folk singing voice way ahead of his years. Listen to the moving vocal on ‘Lock Keeper’ for proof.

Highlights include ‘Walter’ which tells the story of Walter Tull, a footballer who was one of Britain’s first mixed-race professional sportsmen, and who died in action in World War 1 in 1918. Also the jaunty jig ’The Moving Cloud’, again another showcase for Algar’s playing, both on violin and bodhran.

Traditional folk and story telling is in good hands with the likes of Sam Kelly, the Young’Uns and this talented duo of Russell & Algar.  ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

THE AMAZING In Transit Partisan Records Release date 06.04.18

I enjoyed the Amazing’s 2016 album ‘Ambulance’ and their new album follows on from that one, with the band’s trademark atmospheric keys combined with the three guitar players – very much like a mellower Radiohead or Pink Floyd in their post-Waters days. It washes over the listener in a sea of gentle, yet intricate and beguiling sounds. Overall maybe not quite as good as ‘Ambulance’ as a few songs do literally pass you right by, however an enjoyable album and one to further their reputation and success. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

BENJAMIN LAZAR DAVIS Nothing Matters Release date 04.05.18

Benjamin Lazar Davis is a Brooklyn based multi-instrumentalist who has worked with Cuddle Magic and Joan As A Police Woman amongst others. ‘Nothing Matters’ is his debut solo album and he performs all the music on here, although he does work with outside writers for a number of co-writes on the album.

Musically Benjamin Lazar Davis has a lovely, melodious singing voice reminiscent of the mighty Mercury Rev, both in vocals and the lush music on offer here. ‘A Love Song Seven Ways’ is a perfect piece of mellow pop, totally gorgeous and catchy. ‘Life Is Dangerous’ is more upbeat with a driving drumbeat, whilst ‘Somebody’s Speaking For Me’ and the title track will appeal to lovers of acoustic led tunes.

Benjamin Lazar Davis has produced an album chock full of dreamy pop/acoustic songs, perfect for a lazy summer’s day or evening. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


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Power Plays w/c 2 April 2018


TAX THE HEAT Taking The Hit (Nuclear Blast)
BLACKBERRY SMOKE Nobody Gives A Damn (Earache)
THE DEAD DAISIES Resurrected (SPV)
CATTAIL BREW Fool’s Gold (Capital City Music Factory/Cargo Records)


Featured Albums w/c 2 April (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 FRONTLINE State Of Rock + 2 (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 GUS G Fearless (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TRACK DOGS Kansas City Out Groove (Mondegreen Records)



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