Date: 10 June 2005
CD Review - The Criminal Sessions - - Label: 'Criminal Records UK' - Genre: 'Alternative' - Release Date: '14th March 05' - Catalogue No: 'CRIM999CD'
Our Rating: 9/10
The Criminal Sessions Full line up: Norton, Kent Thompson, Lowstar, Kaibosh, The Kut, Shuffle, Crow, Crayon, Spider Redundant, Morviscous, Sonja Van Linden Tol, Giantkind, Daniel, Dead Eye, The Mystery Artist, The Dirty Pins, Les Figurines, Kallinger Co & DTI + Hypercube.
' The Criminal Sessions ' features tracks from 19 new artists under the umbrella of new London based indie label ' Criminal Records '. The compilation goes through various distinct mood changes that I have to say made me in awe of the sheer scale of Criminal Records signings. After a couple of listens it was totally clear that the label were not foolish as I had thought (signing this many bands for an indie is rather risky say not?), but emerging with new original bands. I had to ask myself whether I had been going to the right gigs in the past 8 years of living in London!
The compilation flows fluidly and covers a range of styles through the full 80 minute slot and was well worth the mere £7.49 that I paid for it. Featuring tracks from up and coming bands such as ' Norton ' (co-produced by Matthew Ollivier; Manic street preachers, The Veils), atmospheric rock band ' Kaibosh ', funky all girl band ' The Kut ' and post-punk rockers ' The Dirty Pins', the list of good tracks on this album are in abundance - the only downside at it being that it was not a double album! While some may indeed be critical of the wide musical variation between some of the tracks, for me this only suggested one thing - there really is something for everyone on this compilation, so what a better way for Criminal Records to promote their new artists EPs?
Overall, a well recommended CD, showcasing a whole range of good bands that I expect we shall be hearing much more about in the months to come. The only thing is, where am I going to put all the EPs?
[See individual track reviews below, taken with permission the of www.CriminalRecords.cc]
Kaibosh - 'Some Things Will Never Change'. Featured as the last track on their EP '& Now For Plan B', this track has the lot. Hallucinogenic intro, haunting melody and powerful chorus, demonstrates what Kaibosh do best. Top that with vocals that Kravitz would die for and you've got a brilliant song.
Norton - 'Envy'. Featured on Norton's EP 'Two weeks of feast, two weeks of famine', this track fluidly crosses various styles with clarity. Soothing guitar licks, strong vocals and a dramatic journey through a mix of euphoria and anger. Faith no more vs. air, no these guys have a style of their own?
The Kut - 'The Vision'. This best selling track from all girl rock band, The Kut, eerily tells a twisted rock tale through the prospective eyes of a serial killers prey. Now featured on the 'Poisonest EP', listen to this haunting track to make your hair stand on end.
Shuffle - 'My Friends Girlfriend'. Dare we say fifties meets urban? Voted top dog in XFM unsigned last year, this track laughs in the face of current chart and does it so well. Tells a classic story of a friends girlfriend as featured on Shuffle's, 'whatsthatyougot?' EP and also on the Criminal Sessions Compilation.
Daniel - 'Yellow Bus of Hope'. I've said it before and said it again, this track will one day appear on a Tarrantino Film in one of those classic car cruises. As featured on 'The Criminal Sessions' and Daniel's very own EP, this mellow track grasps on emotions others would not dare to acknowledge. Very real, totally moving.
Giantkind - 'Confusion (at the locator map)'. This emotional indie track sees music at its very best. Strong lyrics and astounding vocals from frontman Loz just make the track. A steady build up finds a rewarding submersion into this powerful lead off track on Giantkind's EP '#one'. This track can also be found on 'The Criminal Sessions' compilation.
Lowstar - 'Autumn'. This classic track by accomplished London band Lowstar demonstrates experimental guitar, haunting vocals and the work of a great drummer in the dark realm of indie. This laid back track is somewhat different to their more rocky track featured on The Criminal Session and demonstrates Lowstar's diversity. This can be seen on their EP 'Lowstart'.
Sonja Van Linden Tol - 'Soul Lullaby'. This funky soul track has touches somewhat in line with a female match for frontman JK and early Jamaroquai. Brought to life by Sonja's distinct vocals, when she says can you feel it, it goes with out saying that you can. Soul Lullaby is currently featured on the Criminal Sessions compilation and will be appearing on Sonja's forthcoming EP, due to be ready later this year.
Crow - Carry Me. Featured on Crows debut EP and The Criminal Sessions compilation, this track demonstrates how music should be done. Great riffs, distinct emotional vocals and a fret mad lead guitarist bring out the wide influences of emo, rock and a certain q factor makes the EP a must have release.
Kent Thompson - 'You and me'. Guitar Legends eat your heart out. This track starts with the most amazing solo then ventures deeply into the experience of a woeful relationship. The influences of early Prince and Bowie are seen throughout Kent Thompson's 'The EP' as well as the makings of solo heaven.
Morviscous - 'The Weaver Speaks'. Sex rock soufflé once again. This bunch mix experimental jazz and rock so well and its so fantastic to watch. This track starts timidly then by the end should include a video similar to that for the beastie boys hit 'Sabotage'. The weaver speaks demonstrates what those musical men do best, as featured on their first EP and on the Criminal Sessions compilation.
The Dirty Pins - 'I Feel So Milton Keynes'. Dub them the Sex Pistols of this decade, this track has a hilarious message and is totally addictive. This controversial crews are living the rockstar life, and still managing to mix lots of influences such as Sham 69, The Pistols and The Clash into their own unique rock sound as seen on their EP 'Deaf to the Middle Class'.
Les Figurines - 'Hysterical'.. Excellent track of its own style, hysterical is laid with heavy bass, sexy lyrics and the creation of a great song that you can't sit still through. You can almost taste the influence of the Cure back to back with off the wall music, well ahead of its time. Les Figurines confirm this with their must have EP 'Criminal Infection', remember you heard them hear first.
Spider Redundant - 'A Place In Your Mind'.. Rock track with a difference, these guys mix megadef style lead with new rock and the results are astounding. Fresh vocals, solid drumming, rock guitars and heavy bass: These are the things that make this band unstoppable and make for a great EP. a good band and a great EP too.
Crayon - 'They'. Energetic band Crayon project this track through a mix of drum and bass, emo and almost spoken word style vocals. Classic build through the song leaves a thought somehow reminiscant of 1990s 'Underworld' but contrasted with classic guitar rock solo finale. This track is featured on The Criminal Sessions compilation. We hope to be releasing more stuff from these guys.
DTI + Hypercube - 'Violent Fluid'. These guys take music to another dimension with ever morphing styles as seen on their brilliant EP release 'Genremorphic Collective', and their live show will just doubly blow you away. Jumping from industrial, to drum and bass, to hard dance, to gothic ambience has never made sense until DTI + Hypercube. This track is fantastic and is finale track on the Criminal Sessions.
The Mystery Artist - 'In The Shadows'. The lighter side of industrial is grasped so well by our Mystery Man. When we were contacted by ******* agency asking us to check out their mystery artist, we thought the singer of joy division had come back for a release so this was a definite signing. Although in hindsight the tracks are done with more similarly to Mortice. Catchy, sad and dark all at the same time, this track is available on the Criminal Sessions Compilation and the Mystery Artists EP. The question is, who actually is it?
Kallinger Co - 'About The Americans Part 2'. This lot have definitely got a sound of their own and some brilliant lyrics to match. Track "About the Americans" starts a bit like something the Dead Kennedys might have done with samples of George Bush and someone singing the American national anthem thrown in. The keyboards (or synth) are reminiscent of early Killing Joke and the ranted but spoken vocals are somewhere between John Lydon and Steve Ignorant. [Quote Ian from Punkoioi]. Their classic EP is making a name for these guys and has perhaps got them an FBI file too.
Dead Eye - 'Die'. Starting somewhere in the realm of The Doors, this eerie track progresses into a Nirvana style rock song with fuzzy touches and lyrical humour, topped off with MC lyrical banter at the end. This track leaves you guessing and when it surprises you, its even better. The EP skips effortlessly through styles and is heavily complimented by Smithy's fluid Hendrix quality solos.[_shared_elements/comment_on_this_review.htm]