The inspirational debut solo album from former Seahorses frontman Chris Helme, Ashes is a
lovingly conceived and produced album of the highest order, having been recorded in
Castleford by Ben Hammond.
What's more, a hidden bonus track is sure to delight any
Seahorses fans who pick up a copy...
Kicking off with the emotionally intense strains of Morning Sun, it's hard to believe
that it's the same Chris Helme that used to be singer and guitarist in The Seahorses
alongside John Squire.
Back in the day when he was regularly performing on TV shows such as TOTP and TFI Friday,
as well as on festival bills such as at Glastonbury, his voice sounded fantastic, but these
days it's so soulful that it literally does hurt. Every syllable that he sings bleeds with raw emotion.
Taking life and love at large as the inspiration for his spellbinding tunes, the subtly
endearing melodies prove the perfect foil for the strength of his voice.
Last High is a genuine tour-de-force, while bold covers of Yellow Lights (written by
Marissa Nadler) and Lorali (by The Soledad Brothers) are fabulously refreshing
interpretations of two naturally beautiful songs that have been sprinkled with
more than a dash of Chris's musical magic.
Melancholy Lullabies can't fail to tug at the heartstrings, yet it's the lilting
Moonbeams that's bound to shatter one's heart into tiny pieces. Indeed, such a
song had such a profound influence on a friend of Chris's that she was inspired
to start organizing evenings of Acoustic music in Driffield, going so far as to
dub such evenings 'Moonbeams Evenings.' So, it just goes to show how the power of
music really does have the capacity to move people to do great things.
The final two tracks that grace Ashes are Broken and Pure.
Both are wondrously affecting tunes that hear Chris's voice at its best.
To not be affected by the purity of spirit in his music, one's senses must be stone cold dead.
Pouring his heart out by default, the range of his voice sounds to know no
limits as it soars, caressing words, fragments of ideas, rushes of lovelorn
sentiments as though his life depends on spewing them forth with unbridled passion.
Featuring a smattering of guest musicians, Andrew Stones's sultry turn on steel
guitar makes its presence felt on Last High, while Jon Hargreaves plays Hammond
organ on Morning Sun, Yellow Lights and Broken to stunning effect.
Not to be outdone, Richard Lacy's contribution to Pure on grand piano doesn't go unnoticed either.
So, while the glory days of The Seahorses might have been consigned to a
particularly heady period of Brit-Pop history, Chris Helme
is currently producing the most beautiful, mature and downright intoxicating
music of his career. To hear it is to love it, and to love it is to live it.
In all its deep-thinking and soul-shaking glory, Ashes is one of those all-too-rare
masterpieces that genuinely does wield the capacity to soundtrack one's life through
every trial and tribulation known to man. It really is that special, that ravishing, that unique.
Album Reviews - Filth Wizard - Spread The Filth (8-track album) By Steve Rudd
With this barnstorming, trailblazing release, Adam Towse isn't so much dishing dirt as flinging it.
Indeed, Spread The Filth, as the title suggests, isn't for the fainthearted; it's
down and dirty by default, and all the better for it.
A bolder debut release couldn't have been conceived by the Bridlington-based band, a
Metal band fronted by Torso Horse ringleader
Album Reviews - Warriors EP by The Good Natured Reviewed By James McGuire
When you open the parcel and you see the personalised touch taken in the making of the EP's, it makes you feel special to be one of the lucky people to own a copy.
And if you thought the look was just the sweetest thing, it just gets better when you play the
CD, as the Warriors EP is a beautiful blend of music and lyrics.
If it was a smoothie,
Album Reviews - Satellite State Debut EP Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Producing soaring anthems for the masses, southerners Satellite State should
be able to sun themselves silly on the strength of this four-track wonder: their debut EP.
Anchored by undeniable commercial zeal and appeal, all four tracks are beautiful,
not least opening tune Plans in which Gary Nicks on vocals allows his voice to take flight.
Ciaran Stephens on
Album Reviews - Heartbroken by Abbie Lammas Reviewed by Steve Rudd
A prodigiously talented singer-songwriter, Hornsea's Abbie Lammas might only
be fifteen, but she's cranking out songs that are mightily mature for her age.
Heartbroken is her debut album, and it's an eight-song-strong affair that perfectly shows off
Abbie's talents. For the most part, the songs feature just her and her trusted acoustic guitar,
though there are a couple of notable exceptions.
Album Reviews - Black and White Tango 3 Track Demo By Danielle McLoughlin
Black and White Tango...a young, fresh out of the packet, extremely talented
band, with bags...no, make it bin liners, full of potential.
They're most definitely not your stereotypical Indie, Punk, Metal or Emo band.
Genres that seem to be all too common and bursting at the seams here in Hull.
Black and White Tango have resisted being pigeon holed and have broken the mould
by creating their very own unique style,
Album Reviews - Hayley Hutchinson - Love Songs For The Enemy Reviewed by Steve Rudd
When she's not playing in The Sorry Kisses, York's Hayley is making sweet music of her
own, and this - her second album - will bring fans up to speed with the fruits of her
latest spell of songwriting.
A glorious ten-track affair, Love Songs For The Enemy is a sublime record in every
respect, opening tune All I Have incorporating banjo and harmonica
Album Reviews - Single Reviews - One Small Step by Satellite State Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Zipping out of Guildford with their hearts on their sleeves and a bounce in their
step, this quintet deserves to hit the big-time on the strength of this three-track single.
One Small Step is moodily melodic from the off, an epic indie-pop-rock anthem
for the masses. The good news is that Satellite State already have fans in the
form of Steve LamacqRead more...
Album Reviews - Edwina Hayes - Pour Me a Drink By Steve Rudd
A marked departure from her debut album, Edwina's follow-up to Out On My Own sees
her presenting a far more intimate collection of songs.
For the most part it's just her and her acoustic guitar.
Save for appearances from Carissa Broadwater and guitarist Jake McKeague, guest
musicians this time around are few and far between, yet Pour Me A DrinkRead more...
Album Reviews - Buck 69 - When She Whispers Your Name By Peter Blewzzman Lauro
The biography of Buck 69 states that the band is influenced by more than three generations of music. This father and son blues rock band claim to be made up of three members over the age of 45 and five members under the age of 30. And when I looked at the picture, with absolutely no further help, I was able to figure out who the three were and who the five
Album Reviews - JoKeRz - 3 of a Kind By Rebecca Hilton
I went to the Sesh at Linnet and Lark just before Xmas to check out a local band that has been creating a lot of buzz lately around Hull and Myspace, the band being JoKeRz. I hadn't seen them before, only heard snippets of their pop/rock on myspace - being impressed with the songs, I decided to check them out - I don't think I was ready
Album Reviews - James Blunt - All the Lost Souls By Becky Field
One of the most amazing men in music has released his new album, All the Lost Souls.
James Blunt has yet again set his goal posts at a very high standard with a completely
remarkable album to follow his first album, Back to Bedlam. His first album had a
massive hit of over 12 million sales. Like all popular albums Back to Bedlam did
feature an all time single You're Beautiful which
Album Reviews - The Pockets Silver Tray Sessions By Michelle Dee
Today I have been blessed with singular psychedelic sounds emanating from Coventry way.
The four piece band made up of Daz Ferris on lead vocals and percussion,
Andy Ferris on lead guitar Sully on bass and backing vocals and Kirk Savage on drums.
This is just a demo right now taken from the Silver Tray sessions so look out
Album Reviews - CD Reviews - Turkey in the Straw by Glenn Williams and the Ullbillies (Lazyswede Productions) By Jim Soars
A pleasant collection of both original and traditional country/folk songs,
brought to us from the wilds of downtown HullGlenn Williams is one of the few British artistes that can revive classic
country and folk songs and give them a facelift without compromising the
music's heritage, and this is shown perfectly on his interpretation of
classic songs such as Turkey In The StrawRead more...
Album Reviews - The Jim Muir Slideshow - ...And With the Fading of the Light' (A Tomorrows World Industry) By Nick Quantrill
Some things are worth waiting for, and for those paying attention it has
been a lengthy wait for this album. Having quietly released a string of
critically acclaimed EPs, the Jim Muir Slideshow disappeared from public view.
Compiling these releases, and aided by some freshening up, the EPs are
transformed into a debut full-length release
Album Reviews - Turkey In The Straw By Glenn Williams And The Ullbillies Reviewed By Pete Smith (The Advertiser UK)
Maintaining the theme of real country and innovation we move back across the
Atlantic to the port of Hull where resides one Glenn Williams the captain of
a motley crew called the Ullbillies. Glenn, it appears, is a performer
after my own heart. His passion is to revive classic country and to give
it a facelift without compromising the
Album Reviews - White Chalk by PJ Harvey Reviewed By Perry Farrell
Let's be honest - there are certain kinds of music and certain artists that the happy-clappy
masses are never really going to get and, apart from her odd forays into the charts with
one or two of her more accessible songs over the years, Polly Jean Harvey falls into this category.
Moreover, it's probably fair to say that many of her fans have a greater-than-average
Album Reviews - Screaming Tarts 4 (17 track compilation) Reviewed By Steve Rudd
The Screaming Tarts website has gone from strength to strength over the past few years.
There's little wonder either, especially when a whole host of exclusive interviews,
reviews and blogs are forever being published on there.
To be fair, a once-a-week whirlwind tour around the site often makes for far more
entertaining reading than the NME.
Album Reviews - Hodmeister - The Total Fabrication Of The Personification In The Nuance Of the Art Form (4 Track EP) Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Now here's a Yorkshire-based talent to get genuinely excited about. Chris Hoddinott has been involved in the fine art of music-making for some years now, having shown off his guitar-playing prowess as a member of Beverley band
Since the band dissolved, Chris has moved up to Scarborough, where he's now producing a totally different style of music
Album Reviews 3-D - Future Primitive Reviewed By Steve Rudd
This extraordinary album release has been a profound family affair from start to finish, with former Spiders From Mars drummer
Woody Woodmansey working with his two sons Nick and Danny to produce this amazing
album that's full of exhilarating instrumentals, with a multitude of killer drum beats at their heart.
It's a bold premise that has been executed
Album Reviews - Manic Street Preachers - Send Away The Tigers Reviewed By Richard Stephenson
There comes a time in the career of many bands when a dilemma occurs ... how to build on past glories.
There may have been a genre defining album, or a style of music and clothing that set the stratosphere ablaze.
But once a reputation has been established and career defined, where next?
In their 17 year career, the Manics have been the kings of such reinventions.
Album Reviews - The Me Band Debut Album By Gavin Hopper
Do you remember a time before high school?
Before getting drunk at college and getting off with the ugly one?
A time before a mortgage and 2.4 children and a very angry bank manager whose
minions would phone you everyday making those debt free adverts on television
seem more and more appealing? Perhaps a time before trouble?
Album Reviews - CD Reviews - Painted Sambas 3 Track Demo By Michael Smith Age 15
The Painted Sambas are fairly new band who have only just recorded this 3 track demo.
Track 1 appears to lack that presence a band should have, in my eyes.
This band provides a Pop Indie sound with Folkish vocals which sadly don't work in my eyes.
Track 2 however has a better vibe
Album Reviews - CD Reviews - Unless - Drowning 2 Track Demo By Michael Smith Age 15
Unless are a good band and time-served in the music scene of Grimsby with an Indie, Alternative feel.
This new demo seems to be dominated by a Techno and dance vibe.
This Drowning Demo is a good attempt on going in a new direction with the
Indie and Techno - a combination that people obviously like, otherwise they would not
have such high myspace stats!
Album Reviews - Sworn Amongst - Audio Aggression 2007
This young British band execute strongly on their new three-track EP, which is indeed neck-breaking from start to finish.
It's is a much heavier effort this time around, and the new line-up show that they can really pack a wallop, with added ferocity!
Fans of Slayer/Machine Head/Pantera will surely be worshipping this band in time to come.
Album Reviews - CD Reviews - The North Pole - The Grip b/w How Can I Explain By Nicholas Boldock
Let me relate to you a few irrefutable facts. You, like 99% of the population of the world, have never heard of The North Pole. You don't own any of their CDs. You have never seen them live. You don't know what they sound like. You don't know their names. You've never met them - or rather, if you have, you didn't realise who they were.
You don't know whether you like
Album Reviews - CD Reviews - Make It Better Later - Music By Numbers By Kelpy D Pictures by Anna Drake
I was thoroughly unprepared for this. For what just issued forth from my CD player. So much so I grabbed my laptop and began to write, shocked into action by a band with a sense of humour to rival their creative vision.
My stereo had been turned up to a volume appropriate for a single man in his front room dancing
by Spandau Ballet in the vain hope of
Album Reviews - The Sesh 4 Compilation CD By Joe Hakim
I'm going to start off by mentioning just how good the overall quality of The Sesh 4 CD is. In the past, the production has varied in quality from track to track, but each and every track on this CD sounds as though it has come fresh from a big studio.
This, combined with Darren Rogers' simple yet slick cover-design, has resulted in a product
Album Reviews - Delta - The Life and Times of Jim Vallie and Sweet Rosalyn By Michelle Dee
Naomi and Grainger, have known each other since they were seven years old and now
they are both twenty five, are busy promoting their first album.
They play their own take on the soul pop sound with heart and feeling.
Naomi's voice on opener Ten years in Harlem is powerful, soulful at times warm and
invites the listener in. The song has strong lines with a standout
Album Reviews - Liv Kristine Enter My Religion on (Road Runner Records) By Michelle Dee
Since receiving this disc from
it has lain on my desk at home on top of
the ever growing pile of demos and promos.
I have played it on a number of times in order to absorb what she and her music are about.
I came up with synth led moody pop intermittently good.
The first track Over the Moon was catchy enough for
Album Reviews - CrackTown - There Must And Shall Be Midgets (an appraisal) By Michelle Dee
A consumer of CrackTown am I,
with songs irrepressible and wry.
You would be mistaken,
for the thought they'd forsaken,
here's the second album we cry.
Music to bring you out of your gloom,
an antidote by the shovel not a spoon.
They might well be misfits,
there must and shall be midgets,
hark the piper, calls a different tune.
When CrackTown recorded their first
Album Reviews - Last Gang - Beat of Blue (48 Crash Records - Limited edition 7" vinyl and download) - Reviewed By Nick Quantrill Release Date : 30th October 06
If you like your guitar-pop with a bit of kick and bite, then you could do a
lot worse than to check out one of Yorkshire's best kept secrets.
It's taken a while for this debut release to materialize, but the slow and
steady approach looks set to pay dividends, especially now that influential
figures in the music industry such as Steve Lamacq are beginning to