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Track Review: History & Lore – St. Claire

Cambridgeshire’s leading indie band History & Lore exceed expectations once again with their beautiful new track St. Claire.

Ever-present in their hit-filled setlists, St. Claire is a track which really ups the tempo of their live performances and definitely gets their gig-goers moving.

The first twenty seconds of the track grab you instantly, the lonely sounds of drum and synth soon cascade into a wall of catchy guitar riffs and dreamy synth lines.

St. Claire is easily the best vocal performance on a track from frontman Danny Kingsley since 2017’s Black Eyes. His emotive vocals throughout leads into an anthemic chorus, which is arguably the catchiest of the year so far.

After a year of winning the BurySOUND Rising Star award and playing gigs for Radio X and BBC Introducing, it’s clear that they have bags of potential, especially after releasing what could be the best track out of Cambridge this year.

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Track Reviews

Track Review: Tom Lumley & The Brave Liaison – Chardonnay

After a memorable start to the year already, Cambridgeshire-based frontman Tom Lumley is back with his awesome new single Chardonnay (via North Acre Records)

Chardonnay is the debut single from Lumley and his ever-present backing band ‘The Brave Liaison’. After touring with the band for a few years, the former singer-songwriter decided to make them a mainstay in his work as “their personality and performances have massively contributed to our popularity.”

The track is in the same vein as previous single Modern Age showcasing his instantly recognisable vocals over incredibly-tight guitar work and heavy riffs. This is a sound that the band have been developing over the past year and it is well and truly paying off.

As well as being an alternative-rock anthem, it’s also a stark warning to people about the dangers of alcoholism and depression. Lumley hopes this track is a reminder to people that anyone could be going through these problems, and it’s important to reach out to others going through similar issues.

To help promote the new single, the band have been touring up and down the country over the past week culminating in a sold-out hometown show and a trip to the Camden Monarch, alongside several festival appearances this summer including Tramlines.

Off the back of this and his past few singles, it seems like there is no stopping Tom Lumley and The Brave Liaison. The future looks bright…

Written by Marc Manning


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EP Reviews

EP Review: GrassRoof – GUYAKA

GrassRoof are Cambridge based music students, mixing their own magic formula of psychedelic-indie-pop-rock into one huge epic sound. These Cambridge Band Competition finalists have shown time and time again that they are just as electrifying on stage as they are in the studio.

Their latest release Guyaka is no exception, giving us four new tracks and a fantastic live version of Microdosing Matt With Acid. This is the second EP release we’ve seen from GrassRoof in recent years, their last being Tadpole which dropped just last year. Despite the relatively soon release they have still managed to construct an equally unique and original sound as their first EP, and continue to play packed out shows around Cambridge and beyond.

Guyaka eases into the GrassRoof experience with Microdosing Matt With Acid. This first track is all about atmosphere and isn’t afraid to take its time setting the tone. With deep booming drums and everything soaked in reverb, I can’t help think of a shirtless Dave Gilmore ripping a melancholy solo in a Roman amphitheatre like in Echoes with Pink Floyd. What makes this track for me is their ability to subtly control the dynamics; the electrifying vocals and heavy drum tone lead the track to psychedelic indie ecstasy, only to seamlessly return to the appropriately penned lyrical hook of the first section of the song, “I’m excited”. Needless to say me, and my neighbours, have been listening to this track on repeat.

The second track Tadpole takes less time to introduce itself. A few bars of choppy guitar and a few bars of hi-hat and then you’re thrown in the deep end. This track is a free for all blend of 80s disco synth, funky fresh bass and a vast, effortless guitar section all held together by a rock-solid drummer. This track to me, is quintessential GrassRoof, taking us to the psychedelic stoner disco and throwing the doors wide open.

Spiral Anna takes us on a slightly different journey. It kicks off with a dreamy shoegaze-esque guitar riff, slowly acquainting us with the feel of the track. The drums accompany with some light cymbal ornamentation and then the bass comes into accent the first two notes of the bar giving some depth and a punchy rhythm to the floaty overlapping melodies. What stood out to me in the first section of this track is the unique style in the tone of vocalist James Turnbull; the lyrics and pitch are so reminiscent of 80s prog that Geddy Lee might have well of written the parts himself. It then kicks off into a heaving rocking jam, interluded with an uber tight acid rock solo from drummer Ben Parker, and screeching psychedelic guitar distortion lathered all over it. Tasty. 

The last track on this ep is BLine. A solid, slow polyrhythm from parker sets the pace, being joined shortly after with a funky 80s arpeggio synth from keys section Rayne brown. This band have a remarkable ability to flow from one epic section to another in a perfect hivemind unison, rising and falling between floaty funky acid riffs. This track captures the essence of so many legends in music history, and perhaps wouldn’t have been out of place on my dad’s record player 20 years before now, but the magic GrassRoof formula stands on the shoulders of giants to bring a cutting edge new sound to the Cambridge scene.

This is not an EP you can afford to miss.

Written by James D’Alessandro

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EP Reviews

Influx of Insanity: EP review

Influx of Insanity have become recent stalwarts of the local music scene, infamous for their prog rock sound, and the release of their self-titled EP proves why they’ll be around for a very long time.

Aged only fourteen years old, the duo have self-produced this collection of five brand new tracks alongside an acoustic version of one of their most revered songs. The EP is a studio version of tracks that were part of their BurySOUND and Cambridge Band Competition-winning sets.

Envious Souls is the EP opener, a track which builds up into a ferocious chorus which not only sounds awesome on record, but their live performances are also a pleasure to listen to. This has been a track that has always stood out live, and hearing the ‘studio’ version of it has made us love it even more.

Segued in between the heavier tracks on the EP are the psychedelic-inspired instrumentals of Unknown Entity and Kalinthapa. These tracks are more gentler and tranquil than anything the dynamic duo have released before, and shows a more versatile edge to their writing and instrumentals.

Violet and Season of Mist are two tracks that will stick long in the memory and are arguably two of the best rock songs you’ll hear all year. Violet‘s atmospheric guitar riffs from Dom Howard and Oliver Brown’s unique vocals builds up into an astonishing finale which will blow you away. Season of Mist shows off the band’s harder sound with more brutal riffs and intense vocals.

Go and listen now because this is an EP you HAVE to listen to.

INFLUX OF INSANITY launch their EP TOMORROW NIGHT (2nd Nov) at RAMPTON VILLAGE HALL. Support comes from LIMITED TIME and THE GOODS. 7:30pm start.

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EP Reviews

EP Review: False Hearts – Dirty Little Soul

Dirty Little Soul, the brand new EP Cambridgeshire rock band False Hearts, showcases their modern rock sensibilities and their harrowing melodic instrumentals.

With the EP only being the standard four tracks long, the female-fronted band have packed every punch into each track that are bursting to the seams with powerful riffs, tearing vocals and gritty instrumentals. Any fan of rock music will instantly love False Hearts.

Recently the band have played with many upcoming bands including Cambridge counterparts Hollowstar who themselves have had a phenomenal past few years, with the two bands flying the flag for the currently thriving Cambridge rock scene.

Not only do the tracks have such powerful, ear-catching instrumentals, they also have a deep meaning to them with the EP centered around “the murky waters of a troubled psych”, which is brought to the forefront of tracks like Break and Addicted To Pain.

The real highlight of the EP is Cynical Love, the band’s most recognisable track. The track’s juxtaposing chorus is not only awesome, but insanely catchy. A brilliant track to close a provokingly satisfying EP.

False Hearts are on the rise, and with gigs coming up around the region, the band are only going to get better from here on in. One of the best rock EP’s of 2018.

Listen to False Hearts on Soundcloud below!

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Track Reviews

Track Review: Influx of Insanity – Season of Mist

The all-conquering duo Influx of Insanity are back with the euphoric Season of Mist.

2018 has been a breakout year for duo Oli Brown and Dom Howard having won BurySOUND 2018 and the Cambridge Band Competition, as well as playing Homegrown Festival, various Junction Fiver nights and our first ever gig night at the Constitutional Club.

Season of Mist is the lead track from their upcoming EP, which follows on from their unique brand of progressive rock which has wowed audiences around the region.

The atmospheric guitar riffs and the intense, hammering vocals on the track makes this a profound listening experience which heightens especially at the tracks chorus where everything cascades into an astonishing wall of noise.

Influx of Insanity are on to a winner with this track, and with the EP release imminent, it’s clear that not only are they here for the long haul, but they’re the most exciting young band in the area.

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Track Reviews

Track Review: Tom Lumley – Crawling

One of Cambridge’s finest indie talents Tom Lumley is back with an almighty bang with his snarling new track Crawling.

With the track being teased for an imminent release during his Homegrown Festival set last month, Lumley surprisingly released Crawling last Friday (29th June) ahead of his homecoming show in Cambridge the same night.

The track is a whole lot different to anything that he has released so far, when comparing it to his 2017 debut EP Dream City and recent singles Just Like The Light and Skyhigh.

Crawling has an indie rock edge to it, a change in pace to his previous works, which sees Lumley’s vocals become a lot more rapid and impassioned, alongside instrumentals that pack a humongous punch.

His last release Skyhigh was a dreamy indie-pop summer banger, but with Crawling we see a more rebellious side to Lumley. Without a doubt, this is Tom Lumley at his best.

Catch Tom and his band at Truck Festival next weekend, or at The Apex on 31st August.

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EP Reviews

History & Lore: Lights review

Cambridge’s History & Lore are back with their wonderful new EP Lights.

Lights is a “culmination of four years of hard work and progression” and it’s clear that the band’s sound has massively evolved over this period of time.

2017 saw History & Lore release the awesome tracks When I’m Angry… and Turn, however these tracks seem a world away from the band’s sound now.

Black Eyes opens the EP with it’s chilled electronic beats at the start soon cascading into a whirlwind, anthemic sound towards the end of the track where we then start to see the real vigour of the band’s instrumentals.

The band have taken inspiration from the likes of Foals and Paramore which can really be heard in the EP’s title track Lights. The vocals here gives the whole song a real spark, contrasting against a very atmospheric, down-trodden instrumental.

Fairfax sees the EP take a lighter turn, a nice little indie-pop track with a really nice guitar riff that bounces throughout, but let’s not forget the lead vocals here which gives the track a more sweeter edgemaking this one of the best tracks the band have ever produced.

Similar to Black EyesTilikum shows off the strong male vocals that really brings this track to life whilst the guitars and drums erupts in to a sound that is so pleasing to hear, making this EP a definite must-listen.

Mightily-strong vocals and extraordinary instrumentals from History & Lore makes this one of the finest EP’s released so far this year.

Lights is OUT NOW, available on all major streaming platforms. 

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Track Reviews

Track Review: Paint Nothing – You Can’t See Me

We’re so so pleased to premiere the new Paint Nothing track You Can’t See Me, easily one of our songs of the year so far.

Paint Nothing are a relatively new band on the local scene, hailing from Cambridge. This is the latest venture from many of the band members who were part of the recently-defunct band xBomb Factory.

You Can’t See Me is a terrifyingly intimidating track which is about ‘the unhealthy relationship between the people on either side of the screen’.

The instrumentals set up the meaning of the song well, especially the staccato guitars to open the track which really connects with frontman Jack’s roaring vocals. The guitars swarm the track throughout, as does the stabbing drums which make this easily one of our songs of the year.

The band have previously released a limited edition EP but this is the first track available on all streaming services. They’ve also played with the likes of IDLES, one of the best post-punk bands around at the moment.

You Can’t See Me is an epic of a track for a debut. For this to be their first track proves that they have enormous potential, and with an album on the way later this year, expect to hear more and more from Cambridge’s new post-punk heroes.

You Can’t See Me is officially out on 23rd March (tomorrow).

Check out their website: http://www.paintnothing.co.uk for all the latest news from the band and for their social media links!

Upcoming gigs: 6th April at The Blue Moon, Cambridge

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Track Reviews

Track Review: Tom Lumley – Skyhigh

Tom Lumley’s new track Skyhigh, released on the 15th March, is without a doubt one of the best tracks from the Cambridgeshire frontman.

Following on from the release of 2017’s huge indie-rock banger Just Like The Light, Lumley is back on top form once again with a track that will leave you wanting more and more.

The track’s chorus is bound to get stuck in your head from the first listen, as is the infectious guitar riff which flows through the track from the get-go, the St-Ives based singer is really on to a winner with Skyhigh.

His trademark raspy vocals give his tracks a rougher, gritty edge which is something what is rarely heard of now within the indie rock scene, the frontman nails it in every single one of his releases so far.

Before the track’s release last Thursday (15th March), Lumley and his band toured the UK with dates in cities like Sheffield and Manchester, rounding off with a sell-out show at Cambridge’s Portland Arms.

Selling out the Portland Arms is just one of his career highlights so far, having supported The Hunna at Cambridge Junction last April and playing various festivals in 2017.

Tom Lumley is on to bigger things now, and Skyhigh is most definitely his statement of intent. He’s soaring at the moment, and he’s definitely one to watch.

SKYHIGH is out on iTunes and all streaming services now!

For the latest news from Tom, check out his Facebook /TomLumleyMusic and Twitter @TomLumleyMusic!