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Tuesday 7 May 2013

Reviews: Tracer, Purson, Failure To Follow

Tracer: El Pistolero (Mascot Records)

Australia's Tracer come back with their second album of grunge influenced hard rock. The trio have gone all Mexican on this album with four tracks making up the Suite Del Desperado which is a concept based around the titular gunfighter with the opening title track we are back on familiar territory with some fuzzy bass from Michael Rhodes (replacing Leigh Brown, subsequently replaced by Jett), some hard hitting drumming from Andre Wise and the bluesy riffs and Chris Cornell-like vocals of Michael Brown, who shows his guitar chops on Dirty Little Secret which goes straight into the heavy bottom end of Dead Garden before the Suite Del Desperado is picked up on the acoustic Mariachi-style Ballad Of El Pistolero and the slightly psychedelic Santa Cecilia (which makes it sound very like QOTSA). The suite ends with the penultimate track the hazy Until The War Is Won, but it is proceeded by the ZZ Top boogie of Wolf In Cheap Clothes the woozy verses of Scream In Silence which bursts into a heavy chorus and the Middle Eastern influenced Hangman. This second album is not a massive stylistic difference from their debut, and it still blends Soundgarden, QOTSA and heavy blues rock together to create some hard rocking tunes and some tuneful tracks that bring together melody and aggression. A solid album which does seem to be a little less immediate than its predecessor however after a few spins it opens up into a good rock album. 7/10

Purson: The Circle And The Blue Door (Rise Above)

Rise Above has always been the last bastion of the occult and the downright weird with the space prog of Astra, jazz rock of Diagonal, retro riffage of Gentleman's Pistols and the world conquering Ghost all coming from Lee Dorrian's record label. Newest to the roster are occult folk rockers Purson (who is The King of Hell apparently) despite this fearsome sounding name the band themselves play a unique brand of self-described "Vaudeville, carny, psych, prog" that brings together acoustic guitars, huge organs and mellotrons, along with some searing electric guitar and some defiantly witchy vocals from front woman Rosalie Cunningham (who also provides all of the former), the dreamy acoustics of Wake Up Sleepy Head bleed into the voodoo spiralling carnival soundscape of The Contract which has a menacing arpeggiated bass from Ed Turner. This is then followed by the frantic percussion of Spiderwood Farm and the Sailor's Wife's Lament which sounds like an evil Beatles track. Purson have managed to create some very evil sounding music full of occult imagery, dreamy soundscapes and some seriously good musicianship from Cunningham who is supremely multi-talented showcasing all manner of stringed and keyed instrumentation as well as having a voice to die for. Welcome to the kingdom of hell we're sure you won't want to leave. 8/10

Failure To Follow: Walk Away (Released through Bandcamp)

Bristol's FTF have come back swinging with their debut album Walk Away and much like their Wasting Away EP this is bone breaking British Hardcore with a very melodic edge. The band have added a guitarist and this shows with the instrumental opening bringing the atmosphere before the opening salvo of the title track brings some clean vocals from singer Tom Williams and some machine gun drums from Ollie Coghill providing a backing the melodic guitars of Harry Burrows and Russell Prosser. There is a definite growth on this on this record it's the sound of a band that have honed their craft in the live arena and have transferred this onto the record. Dogs Of Hell brings back the screams and has a killer breakdown at the end. The band have added yet more strong songs to their live arsenal with this record and images of Hardcore dancing and mosh pits come to mind with every snare hit, every bass rumble and every piercing guitar riff (and bluesy wah break on Retribution). This is a strong, professional album from a band doing it for the love, BCHC at its most focussed. 8/10

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