A bit late on posting this up, but better late than never. These are the local music reviews from the July issue of The Ocelot Magazine. And a really very strong quartet as well proving how spoilt we are round these parts. All could have been contenders for record of the month, but Vienna Ditto pipped the rest for the sheer chutzpah of their new record. The gospel reworkings included are simply brilliant.
This is the first full length recording from this Swindon outfit. And also their best work to date by a good margin. Nobody does what they do as well (in fact who does do what they do?) in blending heavy guitar rock with violins. Live was where this always worked best, the violin cutting through the wall of sound with delicious little melodies. Successive EP’s had on reflection, failed to civilise the monstrous size of the band’s sound, leaving things a little murky, fuzzy and indistinguishable. But these recordings have given me a new appreciation of the skill and art of these musicians, and the layers they put into songs. Vocals are clearer and more distinguishable (leading to the understanding of the lyrical stories), the riffs are sharper, more vicious and the violin work now sounds epic, layered up to add melody, emotion and really drive some of the songs. There are backing vocals and neat little tricks that give much of the material a surprisingly poppy feel too. This is also a more dynamic record than before, with a lot more light and dark about it. Brilliant stuff.
Formby are a self-proclaimed intelligent, sassy UK prog band from Reading, which is a partially true statement. For there is way more going on here. Elements of early 90’s alternative music (The Faith No More comparisons really are apt), classic power balled rock, Pink Floyd-isms and math and jazz “things” litter the songs giving this a pretty original but familiar sound. There is even some big ol’ guitar hero solo shenanigans. There are unconfirmed reports that kitchen sink may well be involved too somewhere. Veering wildly from emotive balladry to all out guitar blitzkrieg this is a record that travels, pulling you kicking and screaming along with it at one minute, easing you along on fluffy cushions the next. Until it hits the title track, where things derail a little as you are hit by a retro 80’s rock classic that could be a Scorpions number in another lifetime. But, plenty of promise on show here and some impressive musicianship. Watch these guys, it could get interesting….
Question – How many people do you need in a band? Six is the answer if Wiltshire’s Sell Your Sky are to be believed. But does having enough members for two bands mean your record is twice as good? Well, that all depends on who you are comparing it to. This is easily twice as good as most stuff of its genre, that harder pop-punk stuff that has chunky riffs, high tempos and growly stuff alongside the pop melodies. It is much more grown-up in fact, and less disposable, and a damn good listen. As I often say, I need to catch these guys live, as there is a vibrancy and energy to the music that is probably electric on stage. However, to go back to my question, this is not twice as good as The Beatles. Or Nirvana. But don’t let that put you off. If this is your genre, go and get a copy of this as it will make you sit up and wonder where they have been all your life, If it is not, give it a go anyway.
I am not going to waste time with lots of words about how much I love this record. Just get it. Go on, off you go; put down the magazine and go and buy this EP right now. I’m serious, I am not writing anymore until you come back with it…..