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Music Reviews: March 2015

24 March 15 words: Music Reviews
With Cantaloupe, Antronhy, The Barnum Meserve, Baybo Squaybo, Huskies, Incinery, The Mithered, One Bomb, and OneGirlOneBoy
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Cantaloupe
Zoetrope
Album (Hello Thor)
In the three years since Souvaris played their farewell gig, three of its former members have forged a new path as Cantaloupe, developing a brighter, sunnier, more synth-based and retro-futurist sound. On their debut album, we find them steering away from the tricky time signatures of old, and heading towards a more streamlined approach. In another break from tradition, vocalists have been enlisted on three tracks - one of them, Eleanor Lee, has since joined the full-time line-up. Although it’s interesting to hear the band shaping their arrangements around traditional song structures - with stylistic nods towards Stereoloab, Chromeo and Broadcast - it’s on the instrumental cuts that Cantaloupe’s unique qualities fully come into their own. On Big Kiss and Ian Whitehead, which open and close the album, they’re at their most assertively optimistic as primary coloured, shape-shifting blocks of sound shimmer, clatter and rumble, evoking memories of late sixties/early seventies TV themes or public information films. Named after a dodgy nineties chatline, 0891 50 50 50 offers a thrilling excursion into early eighties hi-NRG and electro-funk, slapping a Bobby Orlando donk under Patrick Cowley synths. Placed at the start of side two, it’s the album’s most overtly dancefloor-friendly moment. Between these energy peaks, the mood dips into calmer waters, but without ever losing that core sense of restless forward motion; in Cantaloupe’s world, nothing stays still for long, and there’s always a new twist waiting around the corner. Intricate and complex, yet instant and accessible, Zoetrope radiates joy and wonder. Mike Atkinson

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Antronhy
Uncle Sweetheart
EP (NGland)
While opener NGland promises “good times” against a backdrop of hyperactive cymbal crashes and dark electronic funk, Uncle Sweetheart doesn’t exactly deliver easy listening. Instead, it takes the listener on a journey deep into the dark recesses of the night. Coming up on the disorienting, threatening disco of Six Plumed, the EP reaches its peak with the menacing squelch of Lapis Lazuli - the longest track here at a touch over five minutes, and its tense, anxiety-ridden beats will leave you a palpitating mess by the end. “Your lips like butter, I want to rub them all over my body” pleads Willy Nilly, yet its attempts at seducing you are of little comfort as the music slowly unravels itself, leaving you a shivering wreck wondering what’s just happened. A compelling listen and not for the timid or faint-hearted. Definitely one for when the party gets a bit grizzly. Paul Klotschkow

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The Barnum Meserve
The Barnum Meserve
Album (34D Records)
Epic, rock and relaxing aren’t usually themes that are used all in one go, but this trio have managed to create an album you can chill out in the bath to, but also has the power to stop you dead in your tracks and mutter “Wow” to yourself. There is an intensity to the majority of the tracks, in particular, Don’t Be Afraid and Tides, while the beautiful Losing Sleep and Dust let you experience the full versatility of The Barnum Meserve’s songwriting. The talent that exudes from them is most noticeable in the range and depth of their instrument use, songwriting, and the size of their sound, despite there only being three band members. Adding the powerful vocals to their already impeccable noise, they have gone and created a record that feels faultless. Even with its rocky edge, there’s bound to be something that everyone can enjoy. Hannah Parker

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Baybo Squaybo
Limbo EP
EP (Self-released)
The four lads from Baybo Squaybo have been working hard over the last year with heaps of gigs and songwriting. Their debut EP showcases some of the material they’ve been working on and gives us a glimpse into what the future holds from these guys. With the fun rock ‘n’ roll sounds in Talkin’ mixed with the laid-back vibes of Self Aware, you get a feel for exactly how broad the talent and genre experimentation stretches with this band. Jazz Tingaling encompasses the best attributes from the previous two tracks, finishing the EP off perfectly. The far-reaching sounds across the EP, from the vocals to the guitars, will leave you mesmerised, and the fullness within the EP makes you feel like you’re listening to them live. If this is how Baybo Squaybo are starting 2015, it should certainly be an exciting year for them. Hannah Parker

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Huskies
Huskies
EP (Self-released)
The self-titled debut EP from Huskies is the soundtrack to a summer of teenage love and heartbreak. The four-piece take more than a little influence from summer-loving bands Swim Deep and The Drums, with their reverbed surf-pop guitar riffs. While some of the lyrics might not be ground-breaking, lead singer Antonio and his band of hipster nerds do have something for us to be excited about. The EP is poppy, catchy and fun. Down is a quirky sing-a-long about being dumped and feeling down about it, where Surrender has the catchiest guitars riff and Castaway is the most polished track on the EP - the band show a progression in their songwriting that bodes well for the future. Huskies, following in the footsteps of Saint Raymond, Amber Run and D.I.D, are still a work in progress, but this EP will turn a few heads. Rob McCleary

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Incinery
Dead, Bound & Buried
Album (Self-released)
There are two types of people in the world: those who like thrash metal, and those who have their ears painted on. That’s not to say that all thrash is created equal of course, but what sane person can resist bands like Sepultura, Slayer or some proper, old school Metallica? If you count yourself as one of these right-minded people then you’re going to love Incinery. Founded in Nottingham in 2009, Incinery had a pretty big 2014, playing Download and releasing this, their debut album. As the band themselves say, it’s “a bombardment of drudging bass, visceral drums and a devastating attack of low rasping vocals barked out in a machine gun like tirade of aggression.” If that doesn’t grab you, then the heavy assault weaponry of songs like Destroy the Gods, Deceiver (which has a touch of Creeping Death about it) and His Dark Materials will surely bring enlightenment. Play loud. Tim Sorrell

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The Mithered
Built With Our Bear Hands
EP (Self-released)
Mithered. [my-verd]
1. (Northern English slang) To moan about something or pester someone.
2. Promising Nottingham indie band with influences including Arctic Monkeys, Oasis and Courteeners.
You may not have heard them play, but the chances are that you’ve seen their name and artwork as a result of an extensive stickering campaign across the city over the last few months. Stickers are all very well, but you really should check out their music too as they’re pretty darn good. Sounding slightly frayed around the edges, there is more than a shade of The Libertines in their guitar work, their rough and ready poetry, and in the interplay of the vocals. They’re certainly not the finished product as a band yet, but Built With Our Bear Hands shows there’s a lot more to come from this lot yet. Remember the name. Tim Sorrell

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One Bomb
The Voodoo EP
EP (Self-released)
The electronic duo have been causing a whirlwind of attention over the past year, collaborating with the crème de la crème of UK talent, but they’ve outdone themselves on this one. As soon as Do You Really Want Me kicks in and the beautiful melodies of Notts soul queen Harleighblu dazzle, the listener is in for a floor-filling tropical bonanza. This EP could have pigeonholed itself as the usual house-infused, shoe-shuffling, repetitive nonsense that dominates the charts presently, but it’s far from that. It’s music that tugs at the heartstrings, relying extensively on the absorbing vocal qualities of Georgia Copeland and Wreh-Asha. The closing number Godless World is straight out of Massive Attack territory, combining a dystopian piano medley with a beat that inconspicuously transforms the track into a dancefloor filler. Expect this duo to grow in stature on the mainstream circuit but, for now, revel in this EP of artistry. Jack Garofalo

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OneGirlOneBoy
Beautiful Mess
Album (Self-released)
After the hustle and bustle of Christmas and New Year, it becomes ideal to find time to relax, and the debut album from OneGirlOneBoy is the perfect soundtrack for that. The cool-as-ice, melancholy beats alongside breathy vocals, as found in songs such as the title track and This One Boy, result in music that you can listen to with ease, whether you’re stuck in traffic or unwinding from a hard day’s work. Their sound doesn’t begin and end here though - a more upbeat and fun vibe is found on songs including Playing Around and Make Me A Liar. Although the music is electronic, the vocals from both members are strong enough to rival most rock or pop acts. Listening to the album, it’s hard to believe only two people are creating this music, which makes the duo even more exciting. Hannah Parker

Find local releases in The Music Exchange. You can also hear a tune from each review on our Sound of the Lion podcast.