MORRISSEY & MARSHALL We Rise
Mass Market Recordings [Release date 11.08.17]
The second album from London based, Dublin duo Darren Morrissey and Greg Marshall, is as big a slab of classic pop/rock as you’ll hear this year.
With Marshall sporting a Sixties image, and Morrissey a Seventies one, the two look an unlikely pairing, but their song writing and vocal harmonies are rooted in those golden eras. In many ways, I was reminded of The Korgis.
Originally spotted by the Magic Numbers and invited on tour, their debut And So It Began (2014) was a well-received acoustic based affair on which the shadow of the Beatles loomed large, but We Rise raises the ante, with everything, including the kitchen sink, being chucked into the mix – brass, female backing vocals, and a full ‘band’ sound – all under the watchful eye of continuing mentor/producer John Reynolds.
Maybe not their Sgt Pepper, but from the huge r&b infused stomp of the opener ‘Cold November Sunrise’ (think the Stones meets Oasis, with some scorching backing vocals from Luci Jules), The Beach Boys surf harmonies and bounciness of ‘Hangin’ Around’ and ‘She’s Got Love’, and the gentle closing pairing of the piano-led ballad ‘I Need You’, and acoustic ‘The Light Breaks’, there’s something here for everyone.
Morrissey & Marshall, on the rise for sure. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
THE WARNING XXI Century Blood
The Warning are a young, all girl, three piece rock band from Monterrey, Nuevo León in Mexico.
Consisting of three sisters Daniela, Paulina and Alejandra Villarreal Vélez, they hit well, well beyond years – Dany (lead vocals / guitars / piano) is seventeen, Pau (drums) fifteen, and Ale (bass) just twelve!!
Managed by their father, you can’t help but feel he must be the mastermind behind their direction, such is the maturity of the album – both in delivery and song construction.
With a debut EP Escape The Mind released in 2015, XXI is their debut album and the girls have been garnering widespread acclaim and favourable comparisons with bands like Halestorm.
Already a formidable musical force, they serve up a feisty brew of guitar fuelled pop/rock, interspersed with the obligatory piano-led ballads. And in Dany, they have a front ‘woman’ who has it all.
OK, XXI is probably aimed at a teenage demographic, but with a penchant for covering artists like Soundgarden, The Foo Fighters and Metallica these girls are aiming for a far wider audience.
Donald Trump is going to need the mother of all walls to keep The Warning from over running the American charts. ***1/2
Review by Pete Whalley
MISE EN SCENE Still Life On Fire
Membran/Light Organ Records [Release date 30.06.17]
Formed in Winnipeg in 2012 around Stefanie Blondal Johnson and Jodi Dunlop, Mise en Scene are an alt/rock pop outfit that bring to mind a slightly spikier version of Rilo Kiley, and further back, ’til Tuesday.
Their debut album Desire’s Despair (2012), got the band noticed, and more importantly, heard by audiences across Canada, the US, and Europe.
Recorded in Winnipeg and produced by Montréal-based mastermind Mike Nash, there’s a huge variety wider influences on display – for example, the faintest whiff’s of U2 to the guitar playing and construction of ‘I’m OK’, the title track has a Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac-vibe circa Tango In The Night groove, and ‘Scout’ an almost Sixties ‘Bond’ feel to the harmony vocal lines (an effect deployed to great effect by Robbie Williams in his heyday).
But more broadly, there’s an indie alt/pop, eighties/10,000 Maniacs feel to the set, which while never other than pleasant on the ear, sometimes feels maybe a little too ‘busy’ for mainstream appeal. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
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Power Plays w/c 10 January (Mon-Fri)
SMOKING MARTHA Wild & Free (Xelon Entertainment)
TRUE NORTH Fix (Out Of Line Music)
COLLECTED Say When (indie)
ABOUT KINGS Heaven On Down The Highway (indie)
WHALEDOG Leave Me Alone (indie)
LED BY LANTERNS Six Feet Down (indie)
KROOKED TONGUE Freaky Love (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 10 January (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 BITE THE BULLET End Of The Line (Escape Music)
12:00-13:00 CRYSTAL BALL Crysteria (Massacre Records)
14:00-16:00 SEAN TAYLOR The Beat Goes On (indie)
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