mike davies 1-8-19


Stourbridge outfit OF KINGS AND CAPTAINS return in stupendous form with a new three track EP, their first since the all-acoustic History album. Due for September release and, as far as I can tell, as yet untitled, it confirms their status as one of the Midlands’ most exciting rock acts. Replay opens with echoey thundering drums, keeping the momentum throughout, before the guitar riff assault kicks in, vocalist Luke Wassell in throaty, urgent raspy form, with a refrain designed for audience shout backs.

Lights again plays to riffing guitar strengths, staccato drumming phases and a driving melody line that invites heaving bodies down the front of the stage as, once again the chorus punches a fist in the air. The final track, Old Bones, starts off relatively more subdued, but, the drums still persistent, it unfolds into another chest-bursting, reach for the skies chorus that calls to mind the barricades storming heights of The Alarm.

Gorstey Lions

Based in Burntood, THE GORSTEY LEA STREET CHOIR are a Celtic Soul duo comprising Michael Clapham (formerly of early 90s outfit The Great Divide) and Rusty Phillips (whose house is in Gorstey Lea), making their debut with Lions (500 Broadcast), a gloriously melodic synth backed soul number that, dedicated to the late Paul Dennis of Afrosaxons, shimmers with the musical spirit of Dexys, Al Green, The Lighthouse Family and perhaps even a hint of Bryan Ferry. They’re currently mixing new material with Gavin Monaghan, so stay tuned.

cherry pickles

A new name to me, CHERRY PICKLES are a duo comprising Brazilian born guitarist and singer Priscila B and two-drum Kings Heath percussionist Mimi B, their debut album being the quaintly titled Cherry Pickles Will Harden Your Nipples (PNKSLM). Essentially DIY retro surf-rock with the occasional Latin tinge, it’s raw, primitive, exciting, energetic and a great deal of fun, Elvis ExorcistFantasma comes with a rockabilly edge, the Portuguese-sung is an echoey percussion driven number with vibraslap and the drums being hit with maracas, It Will All End In ears nods to classic 6os girl groups and A Bruxa (She’s A Witch) is a strummed tale of the new girl on town. A nod to their Cramps influences (especially evident on Lilly Is A Spy) comes with I Still Miss Lux, a tribute to the late Lux Interior and features some nifty saucepan percussion. It ends with the irresistible morning after the night before reverb pop Latin Discotheque (“First you came downstairs and drank half a pint of gin it with the longest track clocking in at three minutes was only 8am but there was nothing else to drink”) and then the longest track, the three-minute slow march, reverb-heavy Jimmy The Werewolf which Mimi describes as the sort of number that comes at the end of an ‘80s teen flick, “where the girl is at prom and doesn’t know if the boy she fancies will be there be there.” They also include a useful introduction to themselves called Nos Somos A Cherry Pickles in both English and Portuguese, declaring “we are the only girls that can make you cry, if we tell you to dance just don’t ask why. But if we say stop, you’d better do it.” I can feel a stiffening already.


Making a strong bid to be the next pop noise out of Birmingham, lining up Arthur (lead vocals), Edie (bass/vocals), Leo (guitar) and Reuben (drums) FLARES have clearly partnered with the weather for their infectious summer and sunshine new single Lightning, their third release of the year following the strung out, gradually building rush of Tunnel Vision and the equally melodic bass driven funky riffing Keep It.

roots-and-branches.com 2020