A Three-Part Drama : Motions – The Late Night Calls EP Review

Ahead of their first headline show in Whelans on 2nd March, Dublin based alt-rock band Motions have just released their debut EP, The Late Night Calls. Produced by Philip Magee (Kodaline, The Script), it’s a strong, three-track collection that reflects a new level of maturity in both their songwriting skills and arrangement techniques. A subtle blend of artfully crafted, insistent alt-rock and rich, dark electronic atmospherics, Motions’ sound has a polish rarely found amongst their ilk. In fact, it goes beyond ‘straight’ indie or alt-rock, crossing into the more sophisticated realms of blues and blue-eyed soul.

The Late Night Calls EP tracklist: Late Night Calls, Back & Forth, Interlude, Waiting To Tell You

The past twelve months have seen Dublin duo Tom Daly & Dave Nulty slowly evolving their atmospheric brand of bluesy alt-rock. This diligence has paid off, yielding a more sophisticated and tightly woven sound, and while their lyrics remain introspective and at times bleak, the duo has certainly taken their Motions methodology up a level.

Photo Courtesy Whelans Live

“Musical headlights that switch seamlessly from full beam to dip, Motions’ songs are a compelling weave of potent, grizzling guitars, vibrant drum rhythms and infectious, rasping vocals, finished with clever electronic interplay.” 

Creating gritty, yearning soundscapes underscored with defiance is grist to the Motion’s mill and nowhere is that more evident than on the EP title track. A plaintive, mid-tempo fusion of intense guitar grizzle, punchy drumming and rhythmic blues-rock basslines, this paean to loss and the resultant emotional roller-coaster that follows, is trademark Motions. Critical reflection brought to life by Tom Daly’s  powerful, nuanced vocals backdropped by propulsive, dynamic beats and driving Nulty guitars. Watch the Crooked Gentlemen Produced video for Late Night Calls here.

Where the desolate landscapes of Late Night Calls are populated by edgy riffage and potent rhythms, second track in Back & Forth is pure blues-pop condemnation. A more joyous melody line belies the withering wordage and quasi-vituperative tone. A track in which the Graham Gouldman style bass is pushed high in the mix, it’s laced with an infectious blend of percussive elements and gauzy clouds of vocal harmonies. Redolent of the Doobie Bros at their finest, Back & Forth is well-executed blues-rock with all the pre-requisite pop sensibilities intact.

Interlude is literally that; a twelve-second ‘stream’ into an altogether more relaxed state of consciousness. Waiting to Tell You is a song that reflects on the prevarication and missed opportunities at the root of a broken relationship, on which Daly’s hushed vocal delivery evokes regret and sadness without the usual par for the course bitter bite. Spiralling loops of chiming guitars, hazy harmonies, and brooding basslines, build slowly to a dramatic hard stop; and that’s it. Three minutes of sheer soft-rock lushness during which Nulty’s restrained use of his Fender Telecaster is a testament to his adeptness as a guitarist.

Motions blend evocative lyrics and melodies, with powerful messages and mesmerising rhythms. Their innovative twist on alt-rock fundamentals, incorporating fine elements of blues and soul, makes them one of the more interesting and progressive bands of their generation. When you co-join well-honed, insightful lyricism with proficient musicianship, the resultant outputs are going to be of a sufficiently high quality to allow producers like Philip Magee to add their finesse.

The Late Night Calls, is a sleek, classy three-part drama, with a cleverly contrived narrative, set against an ever-changing backdrop painted from a palette of blues, rock and pop, conveyed with a distinct voice clearly identifiable as Motions. It sets an incredibly high benchmark against which any future albums will be compared.

The Late Night Calls EP is out now on all digital channels. Tickets for The Late Night Calls EP launch at WhelansLive on 2nd March, are priced Euro 10.00 – CLICK HERE.

Motions’ Socials:-     iTunes     Soundcloud      Spotify     Facebook     Instagram     Twitter

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Liverpool’s Adopted Son Enjoys Some High Times

The master of acerbic vignettes returns with yet another tragi-comic take on everyday life, as he knows it!

Emilio Pinchi is no run-of-the-mill singer/songwriter. He is a master craftsman of highly polished, low-brow narratives set against a backdrop of smutty redbrick buildings and alleyways strewn with last night’s takeaway cartons. A master storyteller of tales of mundanity, profundity and jocundity, Pinchi is a sort of latterday Dickens if you will, except his ‘hard times’ are set against the comfiest of lo-fi post-rock/indie fusion.

A throwback to his Liverpool flavoured Stoke roots, the most telling thing about Pinchi’s lyricism is its witty honesty. It’s not for nothing that Liverpudlians (even adopted ones) are renowned for their razor sharp repartee and facetious one-liners.  In his songs, there is a strong sense of disassociation from the current jaded world view; not for him a glib acceptance of fake news syndrome or social isolationism.

Instead, Pinchi draws upon a keen eye and empathetic nature to sketch his brief vignettes of the streets, pubs, living rooms and bedrooms of Brexit Britain. With a talky vocal twist akin to that of his 90’s predecessor, Sheffield stalwart Jarvis Cocker, Emilio Pinchi’s conversational singing style gently draws in the listener, holding their attention for the few minutes it takes to recount his tale.

Most recently, Emilio has started playing with a full band, and the breadth of colour and warm textures they have brought to his music is palpable on his newly released single ‘High Times’. There’s a more expansive feel to the sound, a tighter hold on production. The idiosyncratic Pinchi hallmarks are still there – mellow acoustic strumming and infectious melodies, but with the added ‘umph’ of some lo-fi electric guitars and delightful marimba/glockenspiel/xylophone/keys xf (multiple choice instruments), all underpinned by some ‘chillaxed’ drumming.

With its happy go lucky vibe and chatty tone, ‘High Times’ has all the living room lax you’d expect from a slacker indie shuffle. Peppered with colourful ‘green’ conversation and spontaneous chuckling, this sharp focus snapshot of the bigger world picture is redolent of the on-point wordsmithery of Cocker, Turner, and dare I say it, Ian Broudie (excl his Three Lions blip!). Like Broudie, Emilio Pinchi cradles the world in a soft delivery whilst opening it up for discussion through ‘screengrabs’ of events and moments in time.

Emilio Pinchi has been mellowing out below the mainstream parapet for a few years now but one gets the feeling that like a periscope, his sights are set on a higher mark. He may not have made the Sound of 2018 shortlist, but this dark horse is certainly one to watch, and carefully.

Emilio Pinchi has live dates coming up shortly – keep a check on his Facebook page for details. His latest single, ‘High Times’ is available to stream or download now. Listen to it here,

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RTE Strike Performance Full House for Choice Music Prize Event

National broadcaster RTÉ has pulled off quite a coup by nailing all ten nominated artists to play live on the night of its Choice Music Prize Live Event in Vicar Street, on 8th March.

The line up for this year’s RTÉ Choice Music Prize event, run association with IMRO & IRMA, was announced earlier this week on 2FM radio. All ten nominees for Best Album 2017 are set to perform in Vicar Street on the night. In case you weren’t already aware of the skinny, here it is:-

  1. Come On Live Long – In The Still (self released)
  2. Marlene Enright – Placemats and Second Cuts (self released)
  3. Fangclub – Fangclub (Universal)
  4. Lankum – Between the Earth and Sky (Rough Trade)
  5. James Vincent McMorrow – True Care (Faction Records)
  6. New Jackson – From Night to Night (All City)
  7. Otherkin – OK (Rubyworks)
  8. Fionn Regan – The Meetings of the Waters (Abbey Records)
  9. Ships – Precession (Ships Music)
  10. Talos – Wild Alee (Feel Good Lost)

Previous winners of Best Album have included Julie Feeney, Jape and Villagers. Last year’s nod went to Limerick hip hop/rap triumvirate Rusangano Family. Also presented on the night will be Best Song of 2017, with Soule, The Academic, Gavin James and Wyvern Lingo among the ten nominees; listen to a playlist of all ten nominated songs here.

Host on the night will be 2FM’s Eoghan Mc Dermott, and the event itself will be broadcast live from 7pm to 11pm on 2FM. A special highlights programme will be broadcast on RTE 2 on 18th March.

Some tickets for the Choice Music Prize Live Event are still available over at Ticketmaster Ireland  priced €28.00 including booking fee.

In case you need any convincing as to which artist to vote for, here’s a playlist featuring selected tracks from the ten nominated albums. With one month to go, anything can happen. To get your votes in for both Best Song and Best Album – CLICK HERE.

Biggin’ It Up – BBC Music’s Festival Quartet Is On Its May

The Biggest Weekend, BBC Music’s four-fold festival weekend is on its way back this May Bank Holiday (UK) weekend. Ahead of this bumper four-in-one festivale, we took a look at the who, the what and the when …

Date for the Diary

BBC Music’s ‘The Biggest Weekend’ takes place across four days, kicking off on 25th May and closing out on 28th. The where might take some negotiation, not to mind a Tardis, as the four x four festival relay takes in Belfast (N.Irl), Coventry (Eng), Perth (Scot) and Swansea (Wal).

Catering for BBC Music fans across the entire British Isles, the festival organisers have excelled themselves with their choice of venues:

Tickets

Over 175,000 tickets will go on sale – but be warned, the bulk of these will be available only to residents in the immediate locale, with the balance being offered to the wider public. For details on how to get your CLICK HERE.

Who’s Doing What & Where?

Naturally, all the ‘talk talk’ is about Princess TayTay. Fan’s of lil’ Miss Swift will need to hit Swansea on Sunday 27th if they wish to get a sight of this bird! And if that wasn’t enough for one Welsh city, Taylor’s BAE Ed Sheeran will be looping the loop on stage at Singleton Park the evening before, Saturday 26th.
So excited to be part of The Biggest Weekend this summer! I’ve always loved performing at Big Weekend with Radio 1 and this year it’s going to be even bigger. Bring it on Swansea!” – Ed Sheeran
BBC Music’s The Biggest Weekend line up boasts some of the biggest names in music; from Beck and Noel Gallagher with his flock of High Flying Birds, to Snow Patrol and Courtney Barnett. At present, the big Welsh name playing the festival, The Manic Street Preachers, are pitching up at the Belfast docks rather than Swansea harbour. However, former uber-group of the 80s, Simple Minds, will be flying the home flag when they take to the stage in Perth.

It’s Not All Guitars!

Not all of the music acts playing across the four-day festival are from the world of rock & pop. Contemporary violinist Nigel Kennedy will pitch up for not just one but two festival slots, as he’s set to play an opening night performance with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra on Friday 25th in Perth, followed up with date with the BBC Concert Orchestra on the closing night in Cov.
Speaking of the festival, the icon of new-wave classical commented: “I’m inspired by all kinds of music from across the world. I’m also inspired by people and by passion. Music should not be pigeon-holed and I have always believed that. So it’s great to be involved in an event which celebrates diversity across live musical genres with artists new and old. In Perth, I’ll be performing Bach and Gershwin with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and in Coventry, Highlights of the New Four Seasons and Hendrix with the BBC Concert Orchestra.”

And There’s More 

There are more names still to be added to this ridiculously good line up, including a plethora of emerging artists from the ranks of BBC Introducing. Elsewhere, the BBC Big Four – BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3 and 6 Music will be on curation duties.  They’ll be providing extensive coverage of the festival over the four day period. Further coverage will be provided by 1Xtra and Asian Network.

Finally,

Ticket for BBC Music ‘The Big Weekend’ will go on sale Monday 12th February, 2018. The demand will be massive so make you get in on the action early doors. For those of us unlucky enough not to be in a position to attend any of the four days/locations, there will also be extensive TV coverage on BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Four. The festival will be available to watch via BBC iPlayer, mobile and online.

For more details follow BBC Music on Twitter,

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PS Before we go, we’ve whipped up a wee #TBW18 playlist for you. We’ll add to it as additional acts are announced.