It was morbid curiosity that drew me to Royal Forest the first time. The track John Denver, filmed and performed in the confines of a small four-seater light aircraft - had they
recreated the fateful flight, would they crash, would the ghost of the all-American country singer re-appear... was I reading too much into the track title?
Now with Spillway the latest album by Texan hazy psych-rock four piece Royal Forest in hand, I see a shadowy figure on the cover in hues of Autumn and gold.
It is not the likeness of Denver, so I press play and listen to opener 'Everyone who knows you only to be shaken by industrial crashes and factory horns
jolted and bolted together in an Eels-esque ameri-folk rock sound.
The aforementioned John Denver; a curious ode to the iconic country and western singer, the clean cut boy with the ever ready smile...was that the sound of
the aircraft engine cutting out halfway in?
Black Hills delivers the more straight-up guitar based sound with reach out chorus and piano underpinning
whereas Broken Bow comes across more reflective, as shimmery poetic harmonies combine in a most satisfying way.
A hint at the Royal Forest live experience is given on Castro: all analogue sounds and tape loops on a minimalist DIY canvas.
Where -as the reassuring and by now familiar vocal layers at the start of Manmade Lakes ebb and flow, until the band throws up more surprises drowning in a swirl of reverb.
I immediately leaned forward pressed play to give the disc a deserved second listen.
Looking at the band's profile on the Mollusc Records site, Royal Forest are recent signings for the quirky Hull based label,
I learn that they are something of sound connoisseurs.
Not only do they go on field trips collecting and recording unusual sounds to incorporate in the music,
results of which clearly evident on Spillway but they have a penchant for recording in rather unusual spaces: the aforementioned small aircraft for example;
the middle of the texan desert; inside a WWII submarine.
Rory Mansfield from Mollusc said ' It's like we just signed the new Mercury Rev or something....'
Album Reviews - I am an Invisible Man by Tim O'Connor Reviewed By Michelle Dee
Like some kind of mischievous sprite, with its double meaning and suggestive refrains the song make it happen reminds me of a saucy number
This Need In Me by folk duo harriWattsband: it could be an earnest song about striving to better oneself or more likely an ode to amour
with whistles adding to the playful air.
CD Reviews - WorkRate by Chiedu Oraka
Reviewed by Barry
Hull is unique. Can a unique hip hop sound come out of it? What do you do with those peculiar vowel sounds?
This EP is Chiedu Oraka's latest offering, a new chapter in Hull's hip hop story.
There's an engaging honesty about his rhymes on this record. Domestic items blend with a professed desire for
household status ('the game needs a wash and I'm the Dove'; 'got some waste in my circle/Like a permanent stain,
I need that Persil').
Album Reviews - Thomas Truax and the Parting Gift Reviewed by Michelle Dee
On April 17th, Thomas Truax, the famed travelling showman stops off once again in Hull. The Have Hornicator, Will Travel tour pulls in at the
New Adelphi Club: 'heart of live music in the city', with more wondrous anti-folk from the New York musician.
Last year Thomas released a very special collection known as Monthly Journal. Below is an unpublished article about the release,
Album Reviews - Can Stand the Rain by The Talks Reviewed by Jonathan Cain
In the history of Hull's scene, we have seen many different genres of bands all varying from post hardcore to indie rock. However in the case of The Talks, their varying sound is both unique and a delight to listen to, their fusion of Reggae, Punk and Indie has always been a joy to the ear of many. So therefore I am glad to announce another triumph for the Hull lads as they release their latest single, Can Stand the Rain.
Album Reviews - Adventure Time by The Cute Lepers Reviewed by Dick Spring
With opening track Tribute to Charlie (Harper of the legendary U.K Subs) the bar was set high for the third album by Seattle punks, The Cute Lepers.
With the sloppy sleaze of New York Dolls in their prime and some bright brass it definitely has a nod to said band.Stevie Nix seems to have mastered the lazy drawling vocal style
Album Reviews - Live Now, Pay Later by The Talks Reviewed by Jonathan Cain
Anyone who has been following the local music scene in Hull would be aware of the greatest ska band to ever grace its streets. I am, of course talking about The Talks - fabled to be the most successful band Hull has produced in recent years and prophesied to be as big as The Beautiful South one day by fans.
Now that you're reading this you're probably thinking 'What's your point, Jonny?' Read more...
Album Reviews - Ben Parcell - Humble Beginnings Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Coolly constituting the stunning debut solo LP from former Trailers front man, Ben Parcell, this lush ten-track offering hears Ben's voice at its best. Opening with the subtly anthemic beauty of Close Your Eyes, right from the utterly entrancing off, the production values assert their presence, the textured mix of guitar, drums and vocals luring the listener in from the very first verse.
Album Reviews - Hurray for the Riff Raff Reviewed by Michelle Dee
The tough looking girl on the cover, the open shirt and upturned collar defy me to press play. By time the opening instrumental track is done I'm hooked. Hurray for the Riff Raff scratch dollars and dimes while leaving a mark on your soul and are the latest signing of London based label Loose Music.
I read the sleeve notes by Gabe Soria, savouring the narrative arc. Train-hopping? Crescent City? Whiskey and blood?
Album Reviews - Signe Tollefsen By Michelle Dee
It has been four years since Dutch/American singer/songwriter Signe Tollefsen played live at the Lamp in Hull. That night she wowed the audience with a set overflowing with songs of sheer beauty and extraordinary vocal prowess.
Since then Signe has been awarded Best Musician at Grote Prijs van Nederland, Holland's most
Album Reviews - The James Warner Prophecies - Fell Reviewed by Steve Rudd
I vehemently stand by my claim. The James Warner Prophecies are one of the finest bands in the UK. And that's why I remain so confused, because if you ask the average person on the street, they have never heard of the band, let alone their life enhancing music. If I can help change that, I shall ... beginning now.
I've said it before and I'll definitely say it again: this quartet is something
Album Reviews - Twilight of the Thunder God - Amon Amarth By James Green
There is a fundamental reason why Amon Amarth were voted international band of the year 2008 by metal hammer magazine, even though I don't read metal hammer magazine due to the fact that I am into much heavier stuff, I could not agree more with metal hammer about the decision they made.
Amon Amarth are most likely to
be one of the greatest melodic death metal bands of the decade, and in 2008