Saturday, November 04, 2006


CITY ELECTRIC Five Easy Pieces EP (Self released) This debut EP from this Chicago-based quartet showcases the band’s penchant for wiry and edgy post-punk birthed in England & New York. Thus elements of goth, noise pop and shiny melodic rock all make an appearance here on the fairly eclectic material. In that respect, there are similarities with bands like Ambulance LTD. Personally; the closing “Quiet Life” suggests that despite the band’s stated experimental bent, it may be in the traditional pop ballad that City Electric makes a name for itself. And why not? Good music, whatever its format. A band to watch.

THE SCALLIONS Agony Through Ceremony (Slam Jamz) Brothers Mike and Shawn Franklin make up the Scallions. Word is, the Franklin brothers have been recording for more than 16 years. It shows too on this accomplished collection, as the production work is first class. The album is a little schizophrenic though seeing as it veers from the opening sixties folk-rock to synth pop to ambient-techno before two really fine classic Britpop-rock numbers buoys you and then, the dirge-like “Final Frame” drops you off at the deep end. What a ride for pop lovers everywhere. Climb onboard!

UNWED SAILOR The White Ox (Burnt Toast Vinyl) Instrumental since 1998…. Boasts Unwed Sailor’s myspace tagline. The White Ox is 33-odd minutes of ambient/progressive/experimental music with some lyrics thrown in now and then. It’s probably clichéd to say that this belongs on a film soundtrack somewhere. But in the absence of visuals, the music of Unwed Sailor is about atmosphere and evocation. The moods and emotions of the six songs vary from pastoral bliss to sinister foreboding to urban despair. A good mix, you would agree even though at times the pulse and pace struggle to get past somnolent. Crisp instrumentation coupled with skilful performances will make The White Ox appealing to the prog set.

HOT MUTE (Unreleased) Ah… the majesty of rock! The classic 70s version, of course. Let Hot Mute, four lads from San Francisco, totally confound your musical expectations with a sophisticated pop sensibility that belies its hard rock image. Everything you ever loved about Queen, Todd Rundgren, Sparks, David Bowie, ELO, Wings has been expertly distilled into these concise treatises on the majesty of rock. That word again… imagine the Darkness done absolutely right. There’s so much going on here with these 14 sublime tracks. What more can I say? Hot Mute is brilliant from every perspective – careening tunes, honey-dripping harmonies, molten guitar licks and an attitude that reflects the majesty of rock!

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