Friday, 28 September 2012

Flynndie Reviews: Blog #31 - The Rialto Burns - Learning to Fight

Written 28th September 2012

The Rialto Burns – Learning to Fight

The Band: Adam (vocals), Pottsy (bass), Alex and Cogsy (guitars), Shaun (drums)

So today’s album review comes from a band that someone kindly recommended on Twitter after which I decided to go out and look up a few of their tracks, and after hearing their most recent single (at the time) on the band’s website, ‘While you Sleep’, I immediately thought that the track sounded great and showed some potential.  I then found some more tracks on YouTube ‘Radiate’ and ‘For the Asking’ and I quickly found myself hooked on this band’s instant style and sound. “So who is this band?” I hear you ask (knowing full well you already know from the review title!) and the answer of course is Liverpool’s own ‘The Rialto Burns’ and today’s review covers the band’s debut album ‘Learning to Fight’ where I hope to expose more of the instant style and sound of the band that I hinted on earlier.

Round 1…..FIGHT!!!

1. Release
2. While you Sleep
3. For the Asking
4. Show me your Colours
5. Back to Life
6. Cold Hands
7. Learning to Fight
8. Radiate
9. Fingers and Thumbs
10. Slow/Fade
11. While you Sleep (Part II)

Initially opening, with buzzing, razor-sharp guitars things get underway with opening track ‘Release’ and we get our first taste of Adam’s deep, dark vocals which immediately creates somewhat more of a unique sound and style for the band. The track steadily ebbs and flows, between its gentle bass riff back to the buzzing guitars from its initial opening and keeps constantly flirting between the two. With gentle synths before an incredibly catchy, high-pitched guitar riff that accelerates the track along, ‘While you Sleep’ is a very instant Indie track, with lyrics “It takes a touch of innocence/To gain perspective on your sins”. The track constantly builds throughout but it’s the main opening riff that for me gives this track potential future ‘Goal of the Month’ backing music on Match of the Day, which is a high accolade for any band to achieve in my book! ‘For the Asking’ features high-pitched guitars blending with deep, flowing bass creating quite a chiselled sound on the track while lyrics flow “Put it on the ground/Just for the asking/I got the blues/You got the blues”, while solo guitar riffs continue to build constantly throughout the track.

Opening with a very electronic synth feel to it and a very much 80’s influenced guitar sound ‘Show me your Colours’ really does have quite a retro feel to it, with its melody and rhythm giving it much of an 80’s U2 feel about it in my opinion but with a modern take with the style of vocals and synths used throughout. The track coasts along blending its retro mix of guitar, bass and synths with a confident, carefree swagger all about it, before the track signs off with high-pitched, building synths, something you don’t see much on modern Indie albums these days but done to great effect here. Deep, heavy bass sets the early tone for fifth track ‘Back to Life’ and these continue while short, sharp guitar riffs dig and interject their way into the track nicely. “I walk these streets tonight\With a little romance in my life” vocals, being interspersed by still constant deep bass and guitars that are now slowly taking more control of the track as it goes along, it’s another track that still retains a bit of a retro feel for me and builds constantly, as quite a few tracks on this album do, finishing with repeated “I’m a sucker for love/I’m a sucker for love and it’s killing me”. ‘Cold Hands’ follows next and enters with a fast, sharp guitars riff pulling the track along, before we reach a brilliant crescendo of a chorus “I want you falling at my feet/Falling on me now/Falling from the sky” it works really well in context of the track and you soon find yourself humming along to it intentionally or not, as this track has a sense of a forlorn urgency about it throughout. Title-track ‘Learning to Fight’ is a particular percussion-driven track, with a repeated quick drum rhythm at the very heart of the track throughout, we again have softly-sung, deliberately slow vocals here really creating a brooding atmosphere for the song overall. The track features a nice guitar solo coupled with synths midway through to nice effect but overall despite the upbeat percussion this is quite a slow-burner of a track but very much deliberately so, building in its impact and atmosphere that it creates.

“Radiate my soul/In this world so cold” are the distinct opening vocals from ‘Radiate’, as guitars are again steadily, constantly building to another fast and urgent chorus. This was another very instant type of Indie track for me when I first heard it and a track I’m still enjoying on repeated listens; it’s pretty much a well-written, easily accessible Indie-pop song and is all the better for it in my opinion. Gentle, twinkling synths against cutting guitars build the basis of the melody for ‘Fingers and Thumbs’, another slower, more deliberate track here by the band before one of my favourite tracks on the album ‘Slow/Fade’. With an excellent synth slide guitar effect backed by a brilliant guitar riff, the track then eases as vocals from Adam depict an individual’s fiery characteristics, before being re-joined by the excellent synth and guitar, it’s a very pleasant, easy-listening track for the listener and one I liked instantly. The album closes with ‘While you Sleep (Part II) and this really is the ‘darker’ side of the earlier track on the album, with really brooding guitar and synth effects and no-nonsense percussion throughout, it really puts the band’s closing statement on the album and captures the complete style of the band as a whole.

So, overall what we have here is decent debut album with a band really defining their own unique sound, really capturing dark, edgy, brooding tracks with an emphasis on short catchy guitar riffs duelling with synth effects. If I could make a comparison to their sound it would be somewhat of a cross between The White Lies and ‘forgotten’ Indie band The Bravery, with certainly a hint of 80’s era U2 thrown in there as well in my opinion, it’s a very distinct sound the band produce here! I’ve been listening to the album for some time now and it’s certainly a grower with each listen and I’m going to give ‘Learning to Fight’ 8 punch-bags out of 10 here. I think it will be interesting to see how the band follow up this album and it actually shouldn’t be too long to wait now with the band already releasing the video to their next single ‘Hibernation’ which you can also see below, with a follow-up album due out soon, I currently have The Rialto Burns as “one to watch” in my book right now!

Knocked Out

Track 2 ‘While you Sleep’

Track 3 ‘For the Asking’

Track 8 ‘Radiate’

New single ‘Hibernation’

Band website:

Friday, 14 September 2012

Flynndie Reviews: Blog #30 - Two Door Cinema Club - Beacon

Written 14th September 2012:

Two Door Cinema Club – Beacon

The Band: Alex Tremble (lead vocals/guitar/synths/percussion), Kevin Baird (bass/synths/vocals), Sam Halliday (guitar/synths/vocals)

So recently saw the return of Bangor’s very own Two Door Cinema Club with the release of their 2nd album ‘Beacon’, the follow-up to their highly impressive debut album ‘Tourist History’ (which I previously reviewed here in Blog #11). At the time I awarded that record “8 family-sized bags of popcorn out of 10” and suggested that “these lads are a good one to watch out for in the long-term future as well”. So fast-forward 18 months since that review and the band have released their follow-up album but does this new record live-up to the high standards set by their first album and fulfil the early potential shown by the band? Well hopefully, we can cover that question in today’s review and find out what their latest offering brings.

Now Showing

1. Next Year
2. Handshake
3. Wake Up
4. Sun
5. Someday
6. Sleep Alone
7. The World is Watching (with Valentina)
8. Settle
9. Spring
10. Pyramid
11. Beacon

‘Next Year’ gets us underway with trademark synths that the band are well known for before being accompanied by an upbeat percussion rhythm and then both suddenly pausing as Alex’s distinct voice opens “I don’t know where I/Am going to rest my head tonight” before being re-accompanied by the opening synths, percussion and now an excellent, catchy guitar riff during the verses of the track. The track ebbs and flows nicely for the listener and even features a Muse-esque guitar riff midway through and overall gets the record of to a steady start. Next up we have ‘Handshake’ which opens with very much an 80’s style synth melody before the track gathers pace with guitars after 30 seconds. The synths continue to pulse throughout the heart of the track as guitars gently flow in the background before an incredibly catchy, sing-a-long chorus “She said the devil will want you back/And you’ll never find love in another man/Shut your eyes, so you’ll see young girl/And know you always have this if it’s needed back”. It’s quite an instant track, and the verses cleverly build to the big crescendo chorus.

‘Wake Up’ follows next and has a modest bass and drum rhythm initially pushing the track along, before trademark duelling guitars bridge midway through the track. The track is constantly building with guitars steadily duelling throughout before big vocals come in from Alex on the second half of the track “You got lost, lost through the night/It’s no loss, you’ll be alright”, at this point giving the track a big, epic feel to it. ‘Sun’ opens with delicate piano and Alex’s distinct vocals with the line “Ocean Blue/What have I done to you?” and features a gentle backing ‘electronic’ guitar riff throughout. It’s a very well-polished track with a backing brass section in its latter stages and is actually a nice ballad for the album. ‘Someday’ starts off with an excellent rollercoaster of a guitar riff from Sam, while Alex belts out lines “Is it a race or a chase/It’s a difficult one/Are you running faster and further away/Or just trying to keep up”. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album; it’s instantly catchy and again helps to create a big sound for the band. I could easily see this being a future single for the band. Speaking of which previous single from the album ‘Sleep Alone’ shows up next and features a fast drum rhythm against gentle guitar riffs before the band again up the tempo, with a fast and urgent rhythm as Alex’s lyrics possible portray an individual’s battle with Insomnia “He Sleeps Alone\He needs no army where he’s heading\Cause he knows they’re just ghosts\And they can’t hurt him”, this is again a big-sounding, instant track and fitting return single for the band. ‘The World is Watching (with Valentina)’ follows next and is a gloriously, beautiful track! Opening with a chilled out, calypso guitar rhythm this time we find Alex’s vocal are backed throughout the track by beautiful female vocals, possibly the Valentina of the track title itself, and although that description may sound cheesy in this review, on the record itself, this track is brilliantly put together and surprisingly works very well on the album.

Just when you starting thinking what else can these three Northern Irish lads have up their sleeves next on this record, they then turn with possibly the standout track on the album for me ‘Settle’. Unwinding with a soft, looping guitar riff the track steadily builds into a big crescendo of guitars, drums and bass and I could easily see a track like this have an entire crowd captivated by every guitar note though it’s epic journey, this is simply a brilliantly, beautiful track and the highlight of the album for me. We come back down with ‘Spring’ but with a subtly infectious picking guitar riff this is cleverly done, and again we find another track that starts slow but gathers momentum throughout while never leaving the listener behind such is the brilliance of the melody of the track. Another instant type of track, you can’t help but get caught up in the flow of the pacey guitar melodies here.

Penultimate track ‘Pyramid’ opens with one of the more understated guitar riffs on the album, a little quirky but a sound that helps to portray that associated with the mystery of the song title’s architecture, before the band pulling off their seemingly effortless trick of throwing in yet another incredibly catchy chorus and guitar riff right in the middle of the track, this is another great track on the record. Title-track ‘Beacon’ closes the album and features piano backed against a steady guitar rhythm and drum percussion, while an echo is used against Alex’s voice to great effect in its building verse before, yes you’ve guessed it, another effortlessly catchy chorus, it helps rounds off the record nicely.

So I must admit I had quite high hopes for this record leading up to its release. I’d always enjoyed the band’s debut album ‘Tourist History’ and I was hoping this album might steadily build on it but if I’m being honest I think this record not only matches their debut album but actually take the band and their music on to another much-higher level here, with no disrespect intended to their also brilliant debut. What we have here is a genuine ‘Album of the Year’ contender for me, with excellently crafted tracks, layered with brilliantly catchy synths and some outrageously good guitars riffs and rhythms throughout the record. There is no question for me that the tracks written on this album are designed for headlining the big summer festivals and arena tours and this may actually be fitting as I can genuinely see the band moving up to this level within the next few months as I think this is a record that will gain a genuinely big following via word of mouth and the potentially excellent singles this album could deliver in the future. I can genuinely only see big things for this band in the future, they’re just too good for anything else in my book, so get on board ‘Beacon’ now then as I’m going to award this album a precedent 9 Summer Blockbusters out of 10!

Cinema Goer

Track 5 ‘Some Day’ (Live at Belsonic)

Track 6 ‘Sleep Alone’

Track 8 ‘Settle’