December Ocelot Record Reviews

A nice selection of recordings this month for me to cast my ears over. Until the late submission by Amoral Compass it was looking like a Wiltshire special. Although after reading the review they may wish they hadn’t sent it in….. Congratulations to Buswell for his 2nd Record Of The Month Award.

Buswell - An Irish WristwatchBuswell – An Irish Wristwatch (EP)

Record Of The Month

Just over a year on from the first half of this two-part release making record of the month, Buswell does it again. This is another slice of sublime “folkestra” – intelligent, serious and considered lyrics that punch through graceful, fluid music that raises the indie-folk bar to new levels with delicious layers of strings, woodwind, horns, keys and percussion washing over the central vocal and guitar melodies. The delicate balance of the male-female vocal is stunning and executed perfectly, especially on the standout track Lebanon, which is perhaps Buswells finest moment to date. A hauntingly beautiful song of longing that keeps building up and up before swooping back down again in a lovely metaphor of the passage of love and relationships. Incredible, enlightening and educational, giving the listener a lesson in dynamics and the depth of feeling that music can generate.

mattadey12Matt Adey – Eden (EP)

Highly polished melodic pop-rock built around Matt’s emotive lyrics and vocals. This is some very confident and hooky material, with a strong pop sensibility that should serve him very well indeed. Some of this really soars – Abigail sweeps and dips around like migrating starlings whilst Black Flowers is a choppier affair. Closing track Sparks even has hints of early Cult running through it and a real swagger to the rhythm. Classy stuff that is aiming for the arena circuit.

Coasters EP Cover - The Shape Of Our Words WebCoasters – The Shape of our Words (EP)

Channeling the same ghosts as the likes of Chuck Regan / Hot Water Music, The Bronx and Springsteen at his most boisterous this is proper punk rock without the pop. Built around the startling razor-blade vocals of song writer Simon Hall this is a collection of anthemic, fist-in-the-air songs that work best when the band is properly letting go, amping up the grit, determination and energy.  The recording has robbed the songs of a little of the explosive power they possess live, but as a first out of the door recording this is a damn fine start.

10429330_1509819472619727_4117720188205366605_nAmoral Compass – Write Drunk, Record Drunk, Listen Drunk (EP)

With a title that is just asking for trouble from reviewers this is a brave band indeed. And whilst I am not going to be churlish and fall into that obvious trap, it is oh so tempting. I often get criticised for being overly positive in my reviews (I like lots of stuff, can’t help that) but I feel creativity and musical adventure needs encouraging. So I am going to try and do the same here.  There is the promise of a half decent idea at work here so I hope they keep plugging away at it, although I really won’t be listening to this particular recording again. Amateurish, clumsy and a bit of a dirge. Sorry guys.

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