The NBT Review 111

  The Shakespeares EP – The Shakespeares (independent release)

 Tonight the bridge is built from the solo Merry Ellen Kirk, a bridge built upon her trademark twinkling piano and vocal sighs leading into the darker territory that this Duo inhabits. Still dreams, yes, but these dreams are more cryptic, the shadows corporeal (look they reach for our hands, to spin us in) she is the colour shifting balloon, he is the tumbling ghost holding hard against the pull of the string, the beauty here in the pressure, the interplay tween loose and tight.

 What Aaron Krause adds is something that divinely distorts the shimmer evermore, a touch of acoustic blues and a sliver of grunge, adding loops of thoughtful insecurity to the serene, toughening up the songs, making them scary and bold.

The balance however is perfect, the two artists compliment and strengthen each other and no song here sounds remotely like a solo effort grafted into a new project.

 The fine art of the female/male interplay within a pop song structure is something that has gained momentum in recent years and the Shakespeares can happily join the ranks of acts like She and Him and Jenny and Johnny, but bring something somewhat more ethereal to the stage.

 There isn’t a wasted second in this EP and it makes the listener crave more, more from the Artists both together as the Shakespeares and from their other musical adventures, solo or otherwise

 http://theshakespeares.us/

 tracks from this EP are being played on the NBT podcasts and the NBT 24hr streaming radio

 http://www.facebook.com/NBTMusicRadio

 Actors and Liars – Twin Brother (independent release)

 This slow build takes on different disguises, turn here and we find the slight wounded Gothic, blue spotlight on dark stage. Turn there and discover the jangle exuberance of the indie star confidant. Not so much statements of intent rather maps to pour over, invitations to join the exploration.

 This is the sound of future stars finding their voice, it is personal, often messy and always involving, it is music you want to stay with and music that gives up it’s bitter sweet secrets slowly, willfully, sly and shy all bundled up in atmosphere and delectable drama.

 One secret to its power is the holding back, the less is more template, chaos and theatre and grand gestures are hinted at, sketched, forshadowed, though dont get me wrong the songs are NOT afraid to rock out in that love of Pop way that Interpol or even Franz Ferdinand have. You know, the kind of song that when you hear it you just want to see it performed live, so you can jump around to it with a thousand other beguiled fans.

 The band is comfortable with the slight eccentricity of their songs, there are touches of the gleefully bound Julian Cope (ready to explode) and the sheer delight in the structure of the song, that Edwyn Collins has. In fact, as Twin Brother work at their craft they have potential to replace glow of (rather) less than satisfying bands like Glasvegas, in the indie Nations heart and minds.

 Hear Tracks from this Album on the NBT Podcast

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

and also on the NBTMusicRadio (Facebook page here)

http://www.facebook.com/NBTMusicRadio 

The NBT Review 110

  The Foxpockets EP (independent release)

 there are some kinds of music that make the curious listener very excited, no matter the mood that surrounds him at the start, the music never fails to invigorate and intrigue. This music usually has folk as a starting point, is played and created with sheer joy by the musicians and is often layered, verbally and musically. Bands like Tilly and the Wall, Los Campesinos,Tunng and now Foxpockets are often labelled twee by a jaded press who seem to like a strong spoonful of angst with their cuppa alternative, (you know the type, the ones who write in little books and are afraid to dance when the band goes mad on stage.) and oh how wrong could that label be.

 This is simply music that makes one feel awfully lucky to have found it.

 The Nautical Song slow builds, adding instruments and vocal harmonising at a subtle pace, wonderfully restrained for a three minute tune. What is gentle becomes almost a jig before the song is done, the producer leaving the explosions for another time.

 Voytek is a finely sketched tale of war, Katharine Simner’s serene vocals counterpoint dark lyrics, all leading up to a most heavenly and moving instrumental break.

 And Wintersleep should really be play listed all over the damn place. Timeshifting, swaying, elastic it slips across three or four moods from thoughtful funeral to shy invitation to dance and ends way too soon.

 As a prologue to a full album, this is a delightful introduction to band that we will be hearing a great deal more of.

 http://www.myspace.com/foxpockets

 Hear tracks from this release on the NBT podcast

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

 and in the next few days Foxpockets will be added to the 24 hour stream of NBTMusic Radio

http://www.radionomy.com/nbtmusicradio