Thing of the Day

Miranda, Onward Pilgrim, The Dwyers, Furya, and Collapse Under The Empire & Mooncake

August 3rd 2011

A whole batch of albums today: MIRANDA’s Italian no wave jaggedness, ONWARD PILGRIM’s blending of classic North American alt.rock, the punk pop energy of THE DWYERSFURYA’s progressive technical metal and the post-rock coming together of  COLLAPSE UNDER THE EMPIRE & MOONCAKE

MirandaMIRANDA – Growing Heads Above The Roof  (From Scratch) - Kind of out there on their very own frenetic edge, Miranda are a frantic new wave no wave this wave that wave three piece from Italy. This is their third spiky punchy album, they’re a drum, synth and bass player kind of operation, their songs are jagged, pointy, edgy, intense, their sound is different, kind of crazed, oblique, obtuse, and this latest album sounds like they’ve sprouted off in yet another direction. Miranda are not the kind of band to settle in one place for too long. They’ve been what at the peep show?  Miranda have an urgent sound, a busy sound, and infectiously fresh sound, classic new wave otherness, sounds that are lurching here, bouncing there, springing around at all kinds of angles, pecking at heads, pointing at things... no wave incendiary pop.  Dry, immediate, demanding, always enjoyably good, never obvious, forever twitching, fidgeting... excellent no wave new wave goodness…   

Onward PilgrimONWARD PILGRIM – Onward Pilgrim (self release) - Kentucky’s Onward Pilgrim have an instantly enjoyable sound.They sound like a band from the Southern states of America, they sound like they’ve soaked up that heritage.  They say they are sailing in a Mayflower of melodious chords and riffs, a group of musical pilgrims. Their sound is a refined joy, a more than healthy blend of forward-looking classic rock and alternative pop. “A fanciful mélange of grooving pop and psychedelic rock and roll” is how they put it  The four of them can get a little jagged and a touch experimental now and again, but most of the time Onward Pilgrim are about an extremely pleasing blend of slightly alternative, mellow sounding, psychedelic flavoured North American Southern-edged classic rock. They’re easy on the ear, they pleasantly flow. More about class than musical revolution, they’re just a very enjoyable

The DwyersTHE DWYERS – Bowling With Jesus (Airiston) - Well, not really sure why they’re Bowling With Jesus, but it is better than bowling for soup, we’ll give ‘em that much, (hard not to be really). The Dwyers deal in standard issue rough-edged gruff-voiced punk pop, with a touch of the Ramones thrown in there for good measure. They do something you’ve heard a thousand times before; their saving grace is the fact that they do it with such blustery passionate commitment that it becomes hard not to like them. Sounds like they’re a blast live, or at least if you’re a member of the band – expect it would be a real blast playing as part of The Dwyers. Not sure where Jesus fits in or what they’re on about, and they really could be from anywhere on the planet - that universal thing that is the distilled sound of modern day punk pop. So many bands doing this and none of them are really up to Snuff are they? The Dwyers could be from Finland or Orange County or one of them London satellite towns, they could be from anywhere, it doesn’t really matter, they do their energetic thing well enough. No real identity or anything that makes them anything different to all the others, they do their harmlessly catchy thing with committed energy, with passion, they probably do it with a great big shit-eating smile on their collective faces as they set about living the dream for fifteen back-of-the-van minutes, nothing you haven’t heard before, hard not to enjoy their committed energy though…

FuryuFURYU -  Cio Che Fanina Non Dice (self release) – An instrumental album (besides the occasional spoken word bit) than comes with a CD booklet-sized graphic novel comic book thing, text in Italian so it isn’t that clear what they’re on about. The music is a guitar dominated mix of tuneful, old school hard rock, and what you might term progressive technical metal. Once again a lot of this sounds like very competent musicians jamming at a sound check while they wait for the vocalist to turn up, they’re certainly tight and technically good and it is a pleasant enough listen, but nothing that massively different. Things tend to stick at the same pace and revolve around the same moods and the one guitar texture… I guess we’re talking Iron Maiden, late 70’s Rush, a touch of funk metal bass playing now and again, bits of instrumental Queensryche and such. All very easy on the ear, nothing jagged or edgy, no jumping on grungy pedals or thrashing out or anything else, just uncluttered old school technical metal-flavoured guitar-driven hard rock instrumental tunes that gallop along in a harmless enough manner.  
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Collapse Under The Empire and MooncakeCOLLAPSE UNDER THE EMPIRE & MOONCAKE – Black Moon Empire (Oxide Tones) – Five track split EP, two bands, one from Germany, the other, Mooncake, from Russia. First track features both bands, the EP is completed by two tracks from each of them. All five pieces are pretty much standard issue, politely paced, radiant post-rock – the usual peaks and troughs, the usual atmosphere and slowly moving filmscape dynamic and, if we’re honest, its pretty difficult to tell one band from the other. The five tracks here are very enjoyable, though you’ve heard virtually every moment before: most of this is decent enough good quality Godspeed You Black Explosions in the Sigur Ros Mogwai. A pleasant listen until the last track from Mooncake where that far too clichéd standard issue post-rock atmosphere build up just becomes far far too much like all the others to take that seriously. 
Black Moon Empire is an EP of pleasing enough, soothing, instrumental post rock moves that you’ve probably all heard before. Fair to say both bands do it all very well, not sure why all these bands are happy to just sound the same though? Guess they’re happy...      

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