Category Archives: Album reviews

Bad Touch

Second Album “Truth Be Told”.

Yes, they have returned!! Bad Touch are back with their second album (Truth Be Told). The boys have returned even better than before, which is pretty hard with having such a good album but luckily for us (Truth Be Told) does not disappoint. With more bluesy rock rhythms, great lyrics and mind blowing vocals from Stevie Westwood, this album is for fans alike and if you’re looking for a new fresh sound, then this is for you.

Photography by Rob Blackham.

The band have released two singles since the album launch back in December 2016. The first single ‘99%’ is one of my favourites, so head over to Bad Touch’s official Youtube and check that little pretty out.

To be honest the whole album is a smash hit for me, but if you get a chance have a listen to ‘Under Your Skin‘, ‘One More Night‘, ‘Take Your Time‘ and ‘Let The Sun Shine‘ because you’ll be bopping your head, tapping your foot and it will even make you want to have a little dance. The last track on the album shows the softer side of Bad Touch with ‘The Mountain‘, which is slow, smooth and like all the other songs on the album, easy to listen to with lots of feeling. This album like the previous one is for all ages and walks of life.

Check out the bands latest single Heartbreaker, Soulshaker!!

So, if rock or blues is your thing or if you just appreciate music, check these guys out and if you like what you hear go see them live for an amazing unforgettable night out.

So don’t just take my word for it get out there and buy the album!!

Track list:

  1. One More Night
  2. 99%
  3. Waiting For This
  4. Under My Skin
  5. Heartbreaker Soulshaker
  6. Take Your Time
  7. Let The Sun Shine
  8. My Mother Told Me
  9. Outlaw
  10. Made To Break
  11. Healing Hand
  12. The Mountain

Bad Touch members:

  • Stevie Westwood (vocals)
  • George Drewry (drums/vocals)
  • Harry Slater (lead guitar/vocals)
  • Daniel Seekings (guitar/vocals)
  • Michael Bailey (bass)

For more information visit Bad Touch online.

By Matthew York.

Oktopus

‘Worlds Apart’ release 1st April 2016.

Not often, are you led on a journey, so incautiously complex and chaotically structured, that it allows its destination to end so satisfyingly. It is comparably as rare to have found yourself spun around continually with such venom and yet not crave a foundation that is more stable and forgiving. Oktopus throws you around with all the might of an unapologetic eight-armed animal, yet leaves you intriguingly wanting to explore more. Never has a name epitomised their artists musicianship so aptly.

Oktopus

Oktopus not only throw you around with musical merriment, but an octopus, classified officially as a cephalopod, is an invertebrate, which means it has no back bone and this Birmingham trio, consisting of Alastair Bell on lead guitar, Samuel C. Roberts on Bass and Tim Wilson on drums, could also be considered Instrumental invertebrates as they have a sound that flows with flexibility . With an ensemble of progressive rock, electronic punk and jazzed up funk, they simply rip up the text book, with a freaky fluidity.

‘Worlds Apart’ is the artists first album release since the change of their name and lineup. The band used to go by the name Progoctopus and had released a debut EP ‘Transcendence’ before Alastair replaced previous vocalist, Jane Gillard, and they resultantly and cleverly in my opinion, decided upon shortening their title.

DISCORD (APPROACH) is an ominous opener. A short starter of a course, that as equally, many will find disconcerting to the palate, to as many that shall find it reassuring and calming. I’m not totally convinced that the band have any intention to instil an emotion, rather they set a mood and let the listener examine their own imagination. I see it somewhat as an invite into the unknown and an adventure into something as compelling as it is curious.

The first release off the album and the first full track, EYES OPEN, is a marauding monster of a song. It takes you and shakes you in to a state of comfortable confusion. The heavy mix of progressive rock, repetitive rifts, jazz styled bass and frenzied drumming should leave you slightly unbalanced. Oktopus however finds a cohesion in its chaos with arrangements that are completely complex in their composition. Alastair’s distinctive vocals shine through the abnormality and the new sound is set.

The title track WORLDS APART is very much of the same ilk and a sublime manifesto of jazz infused prog rock. It is littered with unashamedly unique and inspiring arrangements, all pulled in by the classy confides of Samuels contemporary bass. A special note has to go out to the spiralling guitar solo that see’s Alastair in the prime of his art.

After a completely manic and high energy start you’re beginning to question whether the powerful trio can keep up this level of unrelenting arousal throughout the entirety of the album. THE ADVENTURES OF JERRY TROUTMONTO (PART 1) soon reassures you that there is no chance of the three of them loosing any steam. More frenzied combinations of rhythmic raucousness is delivered. With no lyrical story telling, this three minute instrumental allows all three members off the leash to litter a busy track with all their hearts content and prove just how competent musicians they really are. A break from all the antics of absurdity is wilfully offered, however in the form of a short sound bite of musical valium. HARU provides a melodic midpoint mildness. A mix of mystical pipes that calms and restores a semblance of rest.

THE HAND ON YOUR SHOULDER, at least to begin with, continues this more gentler theme. It’s a more softer approach, with a more traditional jazz feel and tippy tappy guitar. The peace does not last long though and is broken by an all consuming chorus of impressive vocals which pull you back into the Bands true grit. There is reference to the strength of a soldier in this track, which got me thinking that if fate flung me into the front line, there could be no better soldier placed by your side than Tim Wilson whose drum sticks fire frenzied, machine like bullets, that rip through the air with feverish vigour. This man has astronomical talent and is simply a pleasure to listen to. As are the backing vocals, that adds a fine accompaniment to what is arguably the strongest song of the CD.

Never less, the final track of the album MINOTAUR is a rip roaring one. It leads you down a punchy and punky Alice in Wonderland type rabbit hole. It twists and turns and lends to the ears, some remarkably inventive mid sections. This is a potently powerful finish. The Rifts are raised, the drumming is as consistently explosive as ever and the bass holds less illusions of a ring master attempting to construct some control over a couple of rather ferocious lions.

Oktopus - 'Worlds Apart'

You may just feel like submerging yourself in the deepest and darkest deaths of the earths ocean after an introduction to these completely crazy individuals. However I suspect that if Oktopus find you, they will grab you and fling you on an exciting expedition which you won’t easily forget!

Track listing: 1.Discord (Approach) 2.Eyes Open 3.Worlds Apart 4.The Adventures of Jerry Troutmonto (part 1) 5.Haru 6.The Hand On Your Shoulder 7.Discord (Descent) 8.Minotaur

Review by Rod Grainger.

The Simpletone

‘Angels’ Share’ released 1st November 2016.

Having followed The Simpletone’s journey since the summer of 2010, whether I liked it or not, I just knew we had to review this highly anticipated album that the band have so gracefully named AngelsShare which was self released on 1st November 2016.

angels-6

Of course like all music critics out there today, we all have our own opinions as to whether a band is any good or not, purely for the simple fact that we spend so much of our spare time watching live bands and I have to say that when asked to review an album for a band, I usually run for the hills screaming “WIFE” and she normally sorts it for me. To be honest, I struggle with being positive and critical at the same time, especially when taking into consideration all the time and effort the band has gone to with writing and production and of course, not to mention practice time aswell but when it comes to The Simpletone, it positive news all day long – true Rock ‘n’ Roll without the bullshit.

Just to give people some back-ground information about these guy’s from the Cambridgeshire area – the band released their first album ‘Rampennyback in 2012, then went on to release a second album called ‘Dark Matter’ in 2014 which I also had the pleasure of reviewing. The Simpletone are without a doubt in a league of their own and over the years, I’ve watched them grow into the formidable force that they have become today. A good old fashioned rock band with attitude, relentless raw energy and bursting with anti-establishment written all over them, after all what’s a rebel without a cause and why not, it’s only rock n roll but we like it!

This album is for fans across the globe because as expected, Angelsshare delivers a thoroughly magical mix of rock with groovy rolls. I’m also pleased to say that it still retains some darker forces with an alternative edge plus a few twists and turns throughout.

The first song ‘Out of Control‘ was what I’d call good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll that places The Simpletone still firmly on track. The band have stayed true to their roots as masters of musical evolution following a willingness to learn, explore and create that, which has endless possibilities. This song is an album seller!

The band have released a video for ‘Storm Chaser‘ in support of the new album so do check it out. I think it’s a beautiful and exhausting track all at the same time with lots of low and highs, almost like the story of a bumble bee stuck in a room bashing it’s head against a window trying to find a way out, a relentless battle and I have to say I love the keyboard in this track – feed me more Simpletone, now!

The album continues on with the ever so distinctive sound of ‘Black Box‘, with it’s filling of heavier rock riffs that fuel a desire that make me wanna get groovy. The devil sure found his way into this one and for me it is a lyrical master class with the perfect mix of sound and vision. This track is followed by ‘Fire In The Sky‘ which is a good title for this track but I’d consider changing the name to zoom, have a listen and you’ll know what I mean. Please add another two minutes to this song Glenn as it’s an amazing track, just a real shame it’s over before it begins and you’ve definitely left me wanting more!

The sixth track on the album ‘Nehemiah‘ really got me thinking about how different it was from the others as in the absence of Glenn’s distinctive vocals, the voice of the band is heard through the content of drum, bass and guitar. Maybe somebody lit a spliff before writing it as it starts off as a really lightly chilled ambient kind of acoustic track which then bursts into one of the best guitar solo’s I’ve heard in decades.

As we head towards the end of the album, things start to slow down slightly with track seven – it only gets better. A degree slower than the first few songs but it has a great feeling to it and suddenly bursts into the mayhem of guitar riffing madness that feeds any true rockers heart with epic vibes.

Things are definitely back on track with the next little number, ‘Above So Below‘ and for me, this track sits perfectly in the Simpletone comfort zone and can easily be enjoyed by all music lovers. A well written structured mix and one of my favorite tracks on the album so I’m sure this track will be a very popular.

The band have also released a second single in the form of ‘Easy Come‘ and it’s well worth a watch to see what you think but for me, this is a plain and simple master piece from the Simpletone once again and as Glenn clearly states in this song ‘their are no rules in Rock n Roll’.

The final track on the album is ‘Hunters‘ and here enters the ghost in the machine or should I say the storm is coming. There are definitley darker forces a foot here, as this track raises two fingers up to the establishment with a message that the only real democracy that exists in this country today is Rock n Roll. A perfect finale to a truly enjoyable album from The Simpletone and one which I can confidently recommend.

Full track list: 1.Out of Control 2.Love Street 3.Storm chaser 4.Black box 5.Fire In The Sky 6.Nehemiah 7.Day By Day 8.As Above so below 9.Easy Come 10.Hunters.

The Simpletone: Glenn Eastoe, john Davison, Craig Seymour and Tom Cahill.

For more details visit The Simpletone.

Review by Martin Wardle.