REVIEW | The Nickajack Men – Changed Ways/Different Languages

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For the better part of the past two years, Falkirk indie rockers The Nickajack Men have been consistently making waves and gaining a reputation for their talents, and they are getting set to stir the pot again with a new AA single courtesy of the lovely folk at Electric Honey.

Before diving in, I took the time to revisit their previous releases from last year – the Wasted Years EP and the single Can’t Take It Anymore – to refresh myself, and they both still hold up immensely well. With that in mind, do they meet that established standard again? Simply put, yes.

Changed Ways doesn’t waste a second in grabbing the listener, sparking an infectiously raving energy that never simmers. The riffs are off the charts, the keys add a nice extra layer and the drums are forcible, particularly in the latter half.

Although Different Languages doesn’t stand out as much compared to it’s companion piece sound wise, the boys make up for this with great writing, while also maintaining a dynamic rhythm.

It’s pretty safe to say that these tracks are smashing, and continue to prove The Nickajack Men as a must-see act in the Scottish Scene. But don’t take my word for it, buy it for yourselves as soon as it hits the digital shelves, and even feel free to purchase a limited vinyl once they become available.


“CHANGED WAYS/DIFFERENT LANGUAGES” IS AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 1st JUNE


 

REVIEW | The Lightness Of Being – Diversions

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Alternative rock quartet The Lightness of Being have been a part of the London music scene for eight years now, and appear to show not signs of slowing down. Case in point: the impending release of their third EP – Diversions – following on from their previous efforts, Directions and Movements.

A neat intro leads into Bottomfeeder, where solid verses give way to loud, rambunctious choruses that feature aggressive riffs and drums. We suddenly get a shift in mood with Cave, where the tempo is lowered, but eventually they build back up towards a jolting final quarter. They return to the manner in which they started with Refute, which is energetic and packing a bracing rhythm.

In a short space of time, The Lightness Of Being make another worthy impression with Diversions, which is ultimately a pretty good EP that is mostly straightforward in style, but nonetheless sure to draw in listeners with it’s rousing numbers, not to mention enough variety between said numbers to keep it fresh.


“DIVERSIONS” IS AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 1st JUNE


REVIEW | Wheel – The Divide

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If you consider yourself a keen fan of prog rock and are in the mood to discover something new, then I have just the band for you – Finnish quartet Wheel, who are set to release their latest EP, The Divide.

From literally the first second of Please, they catch the listener’s attention with a deep, sturdy bass line, and from there the piece perfectly builds and only gets better. The harmonies are crisp and durable, and the drums have a hefty, resounding force behind them.

Pyre escalates the energy, whilst beefing up the rhythm and delivering slick, intricate riffs. They tone it down for It’s Over Now, where the vocals are again great and the lyrics get to properly shine.

The Divide is a thoroughly staggering, damn near flawless record with a trio of numbers that not only diversify from each other and bring their own individual qualities, but are packed with so much depth and complexity.

Wheel deserve much more recognition for their obvious abilities that are on full display here, and I cannot recommend this EP enough.


“THE DIVIDE” IS AVAILABLE ON FRIDAY 1st JUNE


 

REVIEW | Rascalton – C S C

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There’s no doubt that Rascalton are one of the most promising acts to emerge from Glasgow in the past couple of years, swiftly gaining a following with their talents and awesome live shows. Now comes their biggest test in the form of their new EP – the long-awaited C S C.

The very bouncy Told You So sets the pace with cool bass lines and a smashing chorus. From there, the ridiculously catchy Police potently ups the ante further, kicking up the tempo to another degree.

With Lonely Faces, the vocals are sharp and the wild riffs continue to dispense tonnes of manic energy. The closing track Lost Generation loses a little steam, but still provides a more than satisfying finish.

Dishing out four brief but jam-packed tracks in under ten minutes, C S C is a constant, perpetual stampede that is an insane amount of fun to listen to, and I’ll happily stick this one on repeat again and again.

 

REVIEW | Sick N Beautiful – Ivory Blacks (27.5.18)

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There are few acts more weird and wonderful than Sick N Beautiful. I haven’t been aware of the intergalactic group for too long, but they certainly didn’t take long at all to make their mark, so when given the opportunity to witness them live in Glasgow as part of the We C*m In Peace tour in support of their upcoming record – Element Of Sex – of course I took it.


Despite a regrettably less-than-desirable attendance and the tough task of opening the show, Novacrow worked their butts off.

The definitive trait of the quartet was their on-stage presence, which came to life when songs such as Criminal Mastermind, Fat Frog and Fever Swamp called for it. Kitty was getting up and close with those at the barrier, Jonyx strutted and hopped around like a loony, and Federico was like an uncaged animal, as he planted himself on the monitors, while also leaping and tumbling about like he was possessed.

Their energy boosted a performance that featured great vocals, flashy solos and solid bass-heavy rhythms. Overall, a pretty enjoyable set with plenty of charming personality behind it.


Bad Pollyanna were up next, and while not as wild and frantic as their predecessors, they were undoubtedly tight. Their sound was simply huge, and numerous factors contributed.

Leading lady Olivia was superb; her harmonies powerful and fluent in her movements; the riffs were awfully sweet and the bass/drum combo was a strong one.

Throughout their assortment of quality tracks like Pull The Trigger and Invincible Girl, they never lost their essence, retaining that strength from end to end, and I was coloured impressed.


Sick N Beautiful stormed on stylishly, and the first thing taken notice of was the incredible costumes. They were so elaborate and chock full of depth and detail from head to toe, with each member sporting a different look.

Herma naturally stood out the most for many reasons. Among other things, she had a breast plate transformed into a pair of electrical orbs, laser lights stemming from her gloves and a custom made guitar which she played with a goddamn circular saw that sent sparks flying all over, and that was just plain awesome. The production was something else, made all the more brilliant on how small a scale it was pulled off on.

Musically speaking, they were fantastic and worked well as a coherent unit as they dished out an array of catchy and exciting songs, with the likes of Fire TrueHellawakeHeart December and Megalomanical being the high points.

The audience were entranced – Kitty from Novacrow in particular was having the time of her life in the middle of the room – and on the whole, it was a wonderfully unique spectacle that I, and I’m sure the rest of the crowd for that matter, won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

REVIEW | Mason Hill – King Tuts (26.5.18)

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There are few up and coming acts in Scotland that have made a notable impression as swiftly as Glasgow rockers Mason Hill. Since putting out their debut record in early 2016, which is how I discovered them when given a copy for review, they have grown in popularity and garnered an insane following like nothing else.

It has been so satisfying seeing young talents emerge in the fashion that they have, but all this time, I have never actually made it down for a show, so when the guys announced a headliner at the prestigious King Tuts, I immediately bagged a ticket before they sold out over a weekend’s span.

With a drink or two beforehand alongside Campbell Stewart of Fatman’s Rock Show notoriety and chums, we soon made our way to Tuts, where the venue was filling up fast and the hardcore attendees had perched themselves at the barrier, and you can bet a significant chunk were donning Mason Hill tees.


But before the main attraction was Black King Cobra, who I was going into completely blind, but coming out, I was instantly made a fan.

The quartet worked their asses, and I’m sure they had that awareness that most of the public had paid for Mason Hill specifically and probably weren’t bothered about any support acts, but their efforts paid off tremendously, and by the end of the first tune, they had the crowd firmly in their grasp. Even the band were gobsmacked by the rambunctious reception, but it should have come as no surprise.

Callum, in addition to being loose and animated, delivered strong vocals, the guitars from Ross were top notch – hitting an optimum during the fiery solos – and the rhythm section of Robert and Steve were just on a hell of a form. Trying to resist clapping and headbanging along was a damn near impossibility.

Through the entirety of the set, it was a cracking experience, and I was quite frankly blown away by it. A textbook example of how to properly kick off a gig. The only regret was that they, in my opinion, should have been afforded more than half an hour, but oh well, can’t win them all.


Riding off that huge wave of momentum, Mason Hill themselves stepped up to the plate, individually entering to choruses of cheers, naturally.

Scott was a sensational frontman – perhaps one of the finest in the country, to be honest – for his voice packed a punch, he was dripping charisma and in general was giving it his all as the sweat just poured off him.

His fellow bandmates backed him up nicely with accompanying harmonies. The echoing drum fills were fierce, the basslines cool and the riffs were just a thing of beauty, especially from the calm and collected James (who, did in fact, smile).

They presented us with a collage of newbies, with the in-your-face Hold On, the low-key I Will Follow You, the emotional Who We Are and the absolutely bouncing Wait For You ranking as just some of the highlights, and the sooner they get these on record for my impatient self, the better.

Meanwhile, the more familiar tracks went down a storm, such as Now You See Me, my personal favourite Survive and closing number Where I Belong, the latter in which, at the request of Scott, the venue was entirely illuminated by phone lights whilst the people chimed along. Not going to lie, that moment gave me the utter chills.

They fed off the contagious energy of the crowd, and that only elevated their performance. From start to finish, the audience were hooked and fixated, and there was never a moment for them that lacked interest.

There was a real gravity on that stage and a serious atmosphere within the room, and all in all, it was a pleasure to witness. The future of Scottish rock is both bright and secure with Mason Hill at the helm, and they deserve all the success coming their way. Between the two acts, this was a special night that easily earned five stars.

 

 

REVIEW | Halfway Hope – Pretty

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From the ashes of Summer City comes Halfway Hope, and they have delivered something truly special with the debut release under this new moniker, titled Pretty.

Each track is jammed with a mixture of spirited vocals, dynamic guitars and bouncy, high-octane rhythms.

The energy throughout is just off the hook, providing a rampant rush that never, ever simmers.

Simply put, this EP is infectiously awesome, and you can bet that we still have this one on repeat.


****1/2


HIGHLIGHTS

Murder Girl, Abstractly Perfect