Stealing Sheep – Noah & The Paper Moon
Hailing from Liverpool, spiritually Stealing Sheep inhabit the same twinkling forest floor as hushed, eccentric Scandinavians Sigur Ros and Bjork. This 7 track EP, their first for London’s Heavenly Records, gathers together previous singles The Mountain Dogs and I Am The Rain with a pixies basket of new material. With lyrics in thrall to the mysticism of the elements, conjuring up December chill, mountainous landscapes and moonlit skies, the band fit snugly into a psychedelic folk mould, albeit one unafraid of the occasional pointed icicle of discord. Opener I Am The Rain sets the tone, woozing Velvet Underground-esque string plucks layered with echoing drums in a rich tapestry of woodland song. After this short and sweet beginning the band diversify into 8 bit synth bubbles, reverberating drones and intertwining harmonies, always maintaining their elvish vocals and crackling sense of wonder. A splendid way to beat off the chill of the cruel winter night.
Chozen – Life Begins
UK MC Chozen really canes it on Life Begins. The track opens kinda unpromisingly with an obligatory female vocal warbling a load of nothing, but wait… who’s that on the horizon thundering towards us? Jesus he looks pissed off- and Christ Almighty, suddenly Chozen’s on you, spitting about how he’s ‘a musical nutter from the gutter’ like the bastard riot child of Keith Flint and Tempa T (he even sneaks in a cheeky Firestarter quote at one point). The music is a mix of high energy DnB and the kind of burping bass groans Doctor P’s been known for terrorising parents with. Subtle it ain’t.
No one’s managed to have it away with the Prodigy’s thrash rave crown yet, but if the world were looking for a new champion of punk spirit and speaker shredding street swagger, then Chozen just may be the man.
Jack In Water – The Meaning of Events
Epicurists opens this new EP from the Essex folk 5 piece, and a fine start it proves to be. Recorded in Abbey Road studios with London Philharmonic Orchestra, the depth offered by such a resource is telling- strings, French horns and glockenspiels intertwine the band’s bittersweet stories with subtle emotion, whilst remaining subordinate to the acoustic guitar, piano and Will Clapson’s distinctive, plaintive voice. Whilst few want to be compared to Coldplay, there is a touch of Chris Martin’s early work in evidence, and, perhaps more welcome, the epic engine of Arcade Fire shares Jack In Water’s by turns euphoric then melancholic piano work and soaring, evolving song structures.
On the evidence presented across the 5 tracks here it seems startling that such a talented band should remain unsigned. Our advice would be to catch them in a small venue while you still can, they’re destined for great success….