Tag Archives: Review

Reviewed: Sons of Frida – The Bulgarian LP

1 Oct

Sons of Frida released The Bulgarian LP in May 2010

Download the song ‘Burn’ for free from the Insomnia Radio Daily Dose

Parisian post-rockers Sons of Frida, purveyors of beautiful musical chaos and complex aural textures, started life in 2004 and brought out their fourth album, The Bulgarian LP, earlier this year. It is equal parts dissonant anarchy, driving post-rock/math-rock and lyrics that could soundtrack a descent into madness. Despite its almost crushingly tumultuous sound, the album is cohesive and engaging, pulling you under with a riptide of noisy rock and deliciously dark tones.

There is a decidedly bi-polar feeling to this record, as it throws in occasional, fleeting moments of melodic bliss before the music descends once again into the chaos, where you find a juddering mix of clashing guitars, prominent, driving bass lines and heavy, tight drumming. From the dichotomy of dissonance and harmony, to the occasional haunting trumpet that pierces through the layers of guitars and the hint of a French accent hiding behind the English lyrics, this is a record that is in a constant struggle with itself, forever reinforcing the ever so slight discomfort that you get from such an intense musical experience.

But, while The Bulgarian LP embraces the dark fragments of the human spirit and displays them with candour, it never lets those fragments take a complete hold. Like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, there is a glimmer of harmony that peppers the record that can’t be shaken. The album is a glorious cacophony, a pulsing landscape of dark discord and dissatisfaction cut with the sweetest flickers of light.

[As the first proper, direct submission to missmorrisonsmix.com, The Bulgarian LP by Sons of Frida will always be special to this site; listen out for a track on the first episode of the forthcoming Miss Morrison’s Mix podcast!]

Reviewed: Mahri Autumn – ri-solv

10 Aug

Mahri Autumn released ri-solv in March 2010

The track ‘High Time’ is available to download for FREE on the Insomnia Radio Daily Dose (11 August 2010)

Review also published on thejustinwayneshow.com

Australian musician Marianthe Loucataris has set the bar high on her first solo endeavor with the sweeping, emotive sounds of ambient-folk record ri-solv. The album is a revealing collection of ten songs that float over your ears on a breeze of acoustic delicacy which underpins a most soulful voice that is full of quiet passion and deep yearning.

The album begins tentatively, introducing the record’s underpinning elements with the accordion-rich strains of ‘High Time’ – a flowing, folksy piece peppered with acoustic guitar, piano and Egyptian percussion (of which more will be said later on). But what really catches you is your first introduction to Loucataris’ voice, which is a beautiful, overlayed harmonic experience; she sings with purpose, but with an utterly charming reserved undertone that permeates each song with a sense of intrigue. It can at times make you feel a little voyeuristic, as if by listening to her songs you become privy to a very private form of expression, but that only serves to make the album more touching and personal. The record ebbs and flows between confidence and reservedness, but always with a delicate touch from the vocals.

As well as her strong vocal talents, what sets this record in a very interesting and rather unique light is Loucataris’ use of Egyptian percussion techniques, which reflect both her cultural heritage and her time spent studying under an Egyptian drumming master. Setting these traditional percussive sounds in a very modern soundscape makes listening all the more pleasurable, as you will hear curious sounds that fit perfectly into the context of these ambient, enveloping tracks that, honestly, can’t really be pinned onto any genre. She creates ethereal soundscapes, with overlapping vocal melodies and layer upon layer of carefully-placed instrumental and electronic elements.

I’ve spun this album many times, and it is one from which you can garner something new from each listen. From twinkling piano and gorgeous accordion drones, to the delicately plucked acoustic guitar and unique percussive elements, and of course, that astounding emotionally exposed voice, Mahri Autum’s ri-solv is a beautiful cluster of deeply heartfelt songs that are wonderful in their subtle complexity.

The album is available to download for whatever price you choose.

Reviewed: Youth Sounds – The Bit Parts EP

22 Jul

Youth Sounds released their debut EP, The Bit Parts EP, in the summer of 2010

Reviewed for the Insomnia Radio: Daily Dose (click to hear/download the track ‘As Strangers Would’)

Dreamy, lilting and with an occasional sharp edge, the debut EP from New Orleans’ Youth Sounds stands them in promising stead for things to come. A short but sweet endeavour at three tracks long, The Bit Parts EP is, in the varying parts that its title suggests, pop, electro and soft rock, and tugs the heartstrings whilst maintaining a very stylish and polished sound – especially for a first-time outing.

Youth Sounds are a brother-sister outfit made up of self taught musicians Erika and Federico Mejia, who honed their respective crafts in church choirs before moving on to their own project alongside Adrian Frye and Taryn Mejia, making the group very much a family affair. Erika’s delightfully soft and creamy vocals float above music that takes the EP from uplifting electro/rock, laced with synths, electric guitar and piano in ‘As Strangers Would’, to the tentative, emotive acoustic guitar-led ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ that leads into a strong, enveloping epic of a track before falling back to its timid origins, and finally to ‘What Is It Like’, a bona fide pop/rock anthem complete with twinkling chorus and piano lead, guitar fuelled backing.

What we have here is an accomplished and mature debut offering from a band that needs eyes fixed very firmly on them because they are surely bound for something great, and if they can get it this right on their first time out, just imagine what the debut album is going to bring to the table. I for one will be waiting expectantly.

Reviewed: The Winter Sounds – Church of the Haunted South

14 May

The Winter SoundsThe Winter Sounds split their geographical allegiance between Athens, GA and Chicago, two cities both teeming with lovely indie talent. But they’re not content just playing their home towns, oh no. Take a quick peek at The Winter Sounds’ MySpace page and have a gander at their upcoming shows, and you’ll see that they’ve booked up almost every day from now ’til the end of July, and I suspect the only reason it stops July is that MySpace won’t let them display any more dates. They’re planning a fully comprehensive tour of the US throughout this year, with extra dates in Canada and Mexico thrown in so they don’t piss off the neighbours. So I think it’s safe to say that this band love what they do. A LOT. And you can tell with this, their third record, Church of The Haunted South.

The album is an intricate masterpiece, piecing together individually beautiful and unique tracks to create a warming, powerful album full of contrast and intrigue. It combines standard rock instrumentation with electronic elements, giving the record a new-wave feel but with the dreamy vocals and melodic resonance of Doves and other post-prog bands; but descriptions like this really don’t do them justice. It’s atmospheric, epic, and yet at the same time modest with understated but truly accomplished musicianship.

Standout songs of the album are ‘My Trophy Wife’ (Insomnia Radio’s pick for the Daily Dose), a  stunning piece of almost-power-pop that will rock your socks off; ‘O’Fear’, with it’s gorgeous soaring vocal arrangement; ‘Candellight’ for it’s merry, bouncy undercurrent; ‘Autumn Movement’, with a synth hook that will set up camp in your memory and have you singing along for days; and ‘Hope for the Future’, an uplifting track of anthemic proportions. Actually, that’s practically half the album, and the other half is just as good!

If any band deserves success it’s The Winter Sounds, you can almost hear the passion pouring out of their music and they’re willing to put all of their time, effort and everything they have into gigging and promoting their work. Judging by this record they should get everything they’re striving for.

‘My Trophy Wife’ is Insomnia Radio’s Daily Dose track for 14/05/09

Find The Winter Sounds on MySpace and their website

Reviewed: Eureka Birds (Self titled album)

7 Jan

Eureka Birds reviewed for Insomnia Radio: UK

To write a long and detailed review of this album would be pointless, because honestly the songs speak for themselves. Remarkably it’s their debut album, which beggars belief because they’ve got it so, so right. It’s a finely crafted, excellently produced piece of musical loveliness that evokes sadness, joy, melancholy, hope and just makes you feel like everything’s going to be alright in the end…

Buy it, listen to it, listen to it again and again – you’ll get something new out of it every time.