Album Reviews

Released in May via Ramber Records, Just Everywhere are Paul Baird contributing all songs, vocals, instruments, production & artwork with additional vocals, on 'Everything Else Went out of Her Head', 'Doors That Were Never Meant to Be Opened' and ' Neverthere', by Emma Inge

Paul hails from Manchester and it is a bleak, grizzly tour de force song 'This is what we do with Horses' that kicks of this debut album, (recorded on a rainy day perhaps?). Just over thirty minutes long, with sixteen songs, there is no time to wander, The atmosphere changes all the time, on the second track 'Laughing Dream' we are in a sonic landscaped space.

Paul is part of Manchester band  'I See Angels', and he started releasing solo  material as EPs last year, so this album was a natural progression. It has a general dream like state and is a grower. The longest song on the album is 'Slow Parade' at just over three minutes which means, every other song, you would really like to last that bit longer. 'Along a Corridor That Was Too Thin' builds really nicely but at under two minutes it's over far too quickly.

As I said earlier though, there is no time to get bored, if you find yourself dreaming on say 'It Looks Like up to Me' this is followed by, 'Kick out the Jams' sonic guitar on 'If You Do This, You Will Be Dead to Me'.

This is an album could be playing on a digital loop for some time!

Pete

7/11

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Always a nice surprise when you see an interesting new band playing in your local. Raggedy Rawney they are called. The brainchild of Dan Ecclestone, who writes all the songs and plays most of the instruments on first album 'It Was All Fields Around Here'. The music is reminiscent of Baby Bird, or The The,or Sufjan Stevens; Talking Heads also come to mind, though that may be in part because the album has some Songs about Buildings.

It is a loose concept album looking at changes in places and people. The catchy opener 'Off We Go' is about driving around suburbs once known, then it gets into more personal territory with 'Replacements', being about both urban renewal and the singers own father. 'Buildings and Houses' is about lost childhood playgrounds, and much more besides. The themes may be poignant but the songs are bouncy and buoyant, deceptively simple but with complex instrumentation, and full of memorable tunes. Dan has a charisma that shines through both live and on record. Highly recommended.

Kevin Hand

9/11

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Interview Dan Ecclestone of Raggedy Rawney

So Dan, this seems to be a very personal record. Is it?

Absolutely....It’s all my memories of a building site at the end of the road in South London where i grew up; they’d built the foundations for a house but then downed tools and for years we used it as trenches to play soldiers and chase around in. Then when they returned to build on the site we hatched plans to stage a protest, a sit-in, as it were. Course that didn’t really work! The album starts, many years later, with me driving back to this street to show some friends where i grew up and finishes with a fairly downbeat conclusion that all those plans we had as kids, of building empires and seizing control, were somehow doomed to fail.

So how is it playing such personal songs live for an audience?

The only one that sometimes feels a bit naked is the title track, which ends with me singing a pretty downbeat line unaccompanied... that one has been seen to ruin the vibe if the audience are up on their feet! We dont tend to play 'Indignity' for the same reason....

And you play virtually all the instruments on the album yourself?

Yep, but that sounds more impressive that it really is! It's a load of vintage keyboards like Mellotrons and Vox Continentals that I love from early 70s progressive records. I pieced it all together fairly slowly over about 4 months, multitracking. We're going to start recording the follow up in September and that'll feature the whole band playing live in the studio.

Any live dates coming up?

Fri 23/6 at Hot Numbers, Gwydir St Cambridge (Album Launch)

16 July The Flying Pig , Cambridge

19 Aug Knackfest, Downham Market

23 Sept Relevant Records Cafe, Cambridge

Loom have just released their self-titled debut album and it’s a grunge rock, roll-a-coaster. Based in Leamington Spa and off the back of tours across the UK and Germany with artists including Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Queen Kwong, and Turbowolf along with, a number of headline shows, this band is ready to step into the limelight.

The band recorded half of their debut album themselves and the other half with John Coxon at Ray Davies’ Konk studios and the result will have you jumping around your chosen dwelling for some time to come or, at least the next 30 minutes.

There is an aggression in the songs but, the band never loose the sense of melody so you hear gritty, balanced rock n’ roll throughout.
 
The debut album is the biggest statement a band makes and Loom have spent the best part of four years preparing theirs; Tarik Badwan, Matt Marsh and Joshua Fitzgerald have a bright future ahead!

The album has ten songs and lasts 31 minutes. Opener ‘Lice’ drips Nirvana and sounds like the anthem for the band to open a live set with. ‘Hate’ menacingly follows, then comes a Foo's like 'Get a Taste'.

There is an aggression in the songs but, the band never loose the sense of melody or variety so, you hear gritty, balanced rock n’ roll even when ’Seasick’ gets into Industrial Metal mode.

Lets hope we don’t have to wait 4 years for the next 31 minutes! Have a listen here.

Pete

9/11

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On the cover of his last album, 'Almighty Love', Dublin singer/songwriter Damien Dempsey was depicted in the Irish Sea, wearing a wetsuit, arms stretched out to the sky, with the landmark Poolbeg Chimneys in the background. Damien is a keen outdoor swimmer. When working in London he likes to go for a dip in the ponds at Hampstead Heath. His new album, 'Soulsun', ends with the same theme: In 'Soft Rain' the singer watches as the sun travels the width of his country, "... traverses the broad majestic Shannon, creeps up the beautiful Burren, barren, across to the mystical islands of Aran, and sprinkles gold dust over the ever young Atlantic Ocean. I'm goin' in. Are ye comin'?"

Swimming is not the only subject we have encountered before in Damien's songs. His interest in Australian aboriginal culture and history returns with a song by L.J. Hill, 'Pretty Bird Tree', recorded here with frequent collaborator Pauline Scanlon, who also included this on her own recent album ('Gossamer').

And we go back to Dublin. Damien is from Donaghmede, on the city's North Side, and his first single, released back in 1997, was indeed called 'Dublin Town'. The aforementioned 'Soft Rain' is the masterpiece of this new album, and it starts out on the outskirts of the city before moving into town, as Damien does the verses in spoken word while a female voice sings a hypnotic melody. Damien looks at all the pretty big houses and wonders if their occupants are happy. The songs speeds up, he goes into pubs and observes new Dublin: "Different tribes, they are a feast for my eyes. Deep exotic languages, gutteral and ancient. The knowledge and the strength of these brand new Irish will temper our country, invigorate our community..." It is a positive message Damien has for us this time and it is heartening to hear.

The big issue that gets revisited on 'Soulsun' is mental health. Damien sang about depression long before this became fashionable and he has battled with it himself. The lyrics here focus on coping, on solutions, alternative ways of looking at life. The tone is uplifting, and this is visually represented by the bright cover image from Dublin graphic artist Maser.

'Soulsun' was recorded in London, with producer John Reynolds once again at the helm. They have gone for a less folky sound, more rock-based, with backing vocals, keyboards and some heavier electric guitar. It veers towards AOR and it took some time before I took to it (I was quite keen on the whistles and pipes of the past), but admittedly it works well with the slow, powerful ballads, of which there are quite a few.

The guests vocalists are all female, "mighty Celtic Warrior High Queens", as per the sleevenotes. This is not a description I would immediately associate with Dido, but I have to admit that the re-recording of 'Beside The Sea', which first appeared on Damien's debut album and on which she guests, is quite lovely. The Pauline Scanlon duet works well too, but the collaboration with Imelda May sounds better on paper than it pans out in reality. The song in question, 'Big Big Love', is a slow power ballad and my least favourite song on the album. Still, Imelda is very popular and it could turn out to be a grower and go down well live.

Live is where Damien is at his best. Even in years without recorded output (there have been considerable gaps) he is always a big live draw with a loyal following. His shows have been praised by a broad variety of peers, from Mary Black to Morrissey, from Sinéad O'Connor to Shane MacGowan. I can think of no other artist who would tour all the working class suburbs of Dublin and sell out theatres in each of them, but also support artists like Bob Dylan, U2 and Bruce Springsteen.

So which of the new batch of songs are the keepers, the songs that audiences will bellow along to alongside 'It's All Good' and 'Negative Vibes' ? I would definitely say 'Soft Rain', as well as the title track. Another highlight is 'Sam Jenkins', a story song about an English soldier who was sent to Ireland during the Famine, before being convicted and sent off to Australia. It is an excellent song, tailor-made for Christy Moore to cover. 'Sweet Gratitude' stands out too, a reggae song among the anthems, with singalong happy chorus.

'Soulsun' is a slight change a direction for Damien, a successful move to a full and heavier sound, yet not so drastic that it will alienate his fans. Thumbs up Damo, and welcome back!

Helen

9/11

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An album that sounds like it was recorded in 1973 which is high praise indeed for a band who in 2017 have evoked the memories of a time when Prog was king along with the rock/jazz crossover of the time.

The fact that this debut album sits clearly and comfortable in 2017 is testimony to a band who have carefully pieced together a fine record. You can hear (Gabriel era) Genesis, Floyd, Bonzos, Soft Machine and yet the record feels a relevant and fresh addition to today's musical landscape. 

The album comes in at just over 40 minutes with two 9 minute plus epic tracks, ‘Quietus’ and ‘Mono Aware’. Six tracks on the album (which is available on limited edition splatter vinyl from Swordfish Records) in total, we are alreadly looking forward for the double, second album release. There seems to be no lack of creativity in this band.

The Mothers Earth Experiment, are a six-piece outfit from the West Midlands who released their debut EP 'Don’t Speak Against The Sun' in September 2015 and had their their first live show supporting Gong.

So yet another band to keep an eye on as 2017 continues to deliver some great records.

Pete

9/11

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