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Single reviews: January 2012

We've listed singles/EPs/demos in order of star rating. Best first.

Reviews by Pete Whalley & David Wilson


Another new EP, this time from Liverpudlian Quintet Always The Quiet Ones. The band formed in 2010 and have so far gathered a good size following and landed a few tasty support slots with the likes of Deaf Havana and Turbogeist.

Sound wise the obvious influences on the band have been Biffy Clyro and Tool. Opening track 'Sign Of The Times' ( not a cover version of pocket size popster Prince's track thankfully ) is where the early Biffy influence is most evident with stop/ start drum patterns, rhythm changes and key changes throughout which they pull off with ease.

The other two tracks lean more towards the slightly heavier Tool school of rock and for me this is the root the band should continue to pursue. Again the musicianship and musical inventiveness are first class, there is always something going on throughout a track to hold the listener's interest and essentially it leaves you wanting to hear more, what more could you ask for ??

Always The Quiet Ones have shown great promise on this EP which is to be followed up with a double A side single in April. If they can continue with the same high standards displayed here then The Quiet Ones will be causing quite a stir in a venue near you soon. ****

Review by David Wilson

THIS IS LIZZARD The Orcas Sessions

A loose collective, This Is Lizard was formed in 1998 by American vocalist / lyricist Lizzane Hennessey and Dutch guitarist Roland Stolk. It took thirteen years for their debut Won't Give Up to see the light of day but luckily they had other strings to their bows - Lizzane is a vocal coach and professional voiceover artist, while Roland, as well as being proficient on keyboards, drums and vibes is a studio engineer.

When visiting Orcas Island in 2010 they recruited American multi instrumentalist Gene Nery (guitar, trumpet, percussion and vocals) to the fold, resulting in this 6 track, unplugged, EP.

And in these days of over used ProTools, the production is a breath of fresh air. It's as if the trio are sat in the room with you, or the back seat of your car. The informal stripped back nature of the set allowing the quality of the songs and the artists to shine.

It's a bit like an impromptu, secretly recorded, after hours acoustic jam between New Zealand singer songwriter Sonny Southon and Hall & Oates, orchestrated by Burt Bacharach. Sumptuous. ****

Review by Pete Whalley


Hailing from that most rocking of towns, Scunthorpe, Skarlett Riot will shortly be unleashing their second EP to their ever expanding fan base. The female fronted four piece play melodic hard rock in the vein of Paramore and Halestorm. They have gained a lot of exposure over the last year playing in support to the likes of The Black Spiders and Taking Dawn and picking up airplay with their debut EP released late in 2010.

This four track EP should further increase the band's popularity as it is accessible, hard melodic rock with standout tracks

'Party Hard' and ‘You're The Enemy' well worth a listen. One slight issue I did find though was at times the vocals are swamped a bit in the mix, but this didn't detract that much from a good quality release.

The band are set to tour on the back of this release which should see them move up a notch or two in the field during 2012. Worth a trip out if they are in your neck of the woods. ***½

Review by David Wilson

BOY Acoustic Sessions EP

Ahead of their debut UK album in April, German female singer songwriter / alt pop duo Boy have released a six track acoustic taster which they’ve previously sold at gigs.

Zurich-born Valeska Steiner and Sonja Glass from Hamburg deliver an enchanting brand of acoustic based indie pop like only Europeans do. They fall in equal measures between the likes of Danish singer songwriter sensibilities Tina Dico at one end of the spectrum and the indie pop of Swedish Oh Laura at the other.

That’s an interesting space to explore and bodes well for their album release. ***½



Review by Pete Whalley


Firefalldown are a trio from London who have been treading the boards for a few years now. This is the band's latest single which will be the title track from their forthcoming album.

Soundwise the three piece blend a bit of the Chili Peppers with a smattering of nu metal to create a good track with strong vocals and plenty of groove. There is also an acoustic version of the track on the CD which, surprisingly, I preferred, it is a much more subtle take on the song with some excellent guitar work.

A good quality release then which bodes well for the full album release. ***½

Review by David Wilson


Isolated Atoms hark back to a time when indie rock was all low slung basses and dodgy angular hair cuts. Billed as an 'electro rock' outfit they borrow heavily from Joy Division/ New Order and The Cure to name but two, but a whole raft of 80's names could be added here.

This is the band's debut EP which features four tracks that sound like you have boarded the TARDIS and gone back 25 odd years to a time when Tom Baker was in charge of the sonic screwdriver and jelly babies. Musically the guys are ok with decent playing and tunes, but there is nothing new or particularly earth shattering to get the juices flowing.

If you were a fan of indie electronica back in the day then this will be right up your street. I wasn't and this isn't. ***

Review by David Wilson

ZENON Love You Forever

Named after their Polish English frontman, vocalist, guitarist, songwriter, engineer and producer, Zenon are a Polish based band, and Love You Forever a 1980s Foreigner style ‘big hair' power ballad.

Zenon may not have the big hair, but all the other components are present and correct including soaring vocals, a sing along chorus and the obligatory guitar solo. It is, however, a little ‘lite' in rock terms and the lyrics are sufficiently cheesy to make it no surprise that the band came 2nd in the Polish selection for Eurovision. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


The lead single Happy New Year from the third solo album by Ben's Brother frontman Jamie Hartman is packed with such sugar coated sentimentality that it was Radio 2's Record Of The Week. And that pretty much tells you all you need to know about III.

Jamie Hartman may be a BMI award winner and Ivor Novello Award nominee, and III may have been written in the remote US National Park of Topanga Canyon - ‘being cut off from everything you know forces you to question everything. I had 40 days and nights in the wilderness. III is the result.' but sadly it takes no chances and cuts no new ground.

With a vocal style somewhere between Damien Rice and David Gray, and with a writing style somewhere between Nilsson and McCartney, the result is an album made for the Adult Orientated Pop audience so eager to lap up the likes of Adele. If this is the future, we're doomed. **

Review by Pete Whalley


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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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