Turning Point Brew Co. – Meet the Owner

In a remote town in North Yorkshire, one of the UK’s most innovative, and fresh breweries resides. In Knaresborough, just a few miles west of York, Turning Point Brew Co. base their operations and taproom. Founded in 2017, the microbrewery has gone to strength to strength in just a few years, with a brewery tap in York City Centre and, following the move to Knaresborough, a strong taproom on location. This week the brewery are hosting their first virtual tasting session featuring four “New Frontier” beers featuring collaborations with Roosters, Siren, Thornbridge and Five Points. With now being a tough time for breweries, I caught up with co-owner Cam who answered a range of questions about Turning Point, the brewery scene and how they’re innovating to come through this time.

Let’s kick off with the name Turning Point, where did that come from?

We specifically wanted a name that was three syllables and was unambiguous in its pronunciation. No particularly fun story behind it other than Aron suggested it and we just rolled with it! We often joke that any of our beer names would make a better brewery name.

You say you have one mission “Brew our favourite beers, and have a good time” – of all your beers – which are your top two you’ve brewed and why?

Tough question, but in terms of enjoying the process, probably Chip Hazard. We were terrified to put out a super minty pale ale but it was such a relief to try the beer from tank and very satisfying to see it go down well. In terms of out and out top quality brewing I’d say Dreamcatcher; a fun brew and recipe to put together, with over a year of waiting for that beer to come out. Barrel ageing is a labour of love and we can’t wait to do more.

Prior to recent times, how have you found the move to Knaresborough and the reception to the taproom.

The people of Knaresborough and Harrogate have been nothing short of incredible. We’ve noticed it with so many people asking about the taproom, local bars stocking our beers much more, and most recently with the uptake on our web shop since the world melted. We feel really at home here.

And are there further plans to expand or are you settled right now?

Since deciding to up sticks to Knaresborough to now, I can say we have absolutely no plans to embark on a mission like that again any time soon. That being said, we’ve got a few more big tanks on order, so more beer coming once we’re back in business and the bars are open.

Being a York resident, taking over the Fossgate Tap was a welcome addition to the York scene, how have you found bringing your beers en-masse to the city?

It’s been great to be able to point people to a bar and know that they are going to get the full Turning Point experience. We’ve always loved being a part of the York beer scene but the tap gives us a special corner to call our own.

You only really have the one core beer Disco King – why haven’t you decided to instil a core range at Turning Point?

That was much more of a non-decision! We just started brewing and sussed it out brew by brew. Disco King was one of the first beers we launched with, and along with Lucid Dream, we’re still brewing it today. We didn’t want to pen ourselves in with a big core range that tries to be all things to all people. We’ve ended up with an American Pale ale with a good following: a beer we know like the back of our hand. The rest is ours to play with, and we do love to get as creative as possible. We do bring back a few of our favourites from time to time though!

It’s hard to ignore the impact the current situation is having on breweries, how has it affected you guys so far and what are you doing to help combat it?

Well, pubs/bars/wholesalers/importers stopped buying beer very suddenly, so of course it’s been a challenge. We’ve had to adapt quickly, rearrange any brewing/sales commitments and focus on getting our beers out to people in new ways. We are blessed with an amazing team of people who have adapted positively to new roles and we’re making the best outcome we can out of every day with a smile on our faces!

All beers currently available can be found here.

What’s the score with your virtual tasting night, what will that involve and what inspired you to try it?

We’ve got four collaborations (Thornbridge, Siren, 5 Points, Roosters), all for sale now. We’d planned some events for their release, but again had to come up with something for World 2.0, so are putting on a live tasting on April 2nd for anyone with all the beers to join us and enjoy along in real time. We are hoping that someone from each collaborating brewery can also join the fun. We’re aiming to recreate a bit of the silliness you can expect when we do a meet the brewer event. It should be a laugh!

The brewing industry really is thriving nationally right now, how can people continue to support it during this period?

I’d hesitate to say thriving personally and suggest that it’s adapting and proved how well rooted in their community breweries really are. For people nationwide to be turning out in droves to support their local brewer shows just how unique and wonderful this industry can be. That being said, it’s hard to overestimate the damage that this period can and will have on small breweries, all fighting to survive in what way suits them best.

When it all blows over, what new flavours and styles can we expect from Turning Point in 2019?

Man alive. We’re roaring to get back to it. Stouts. DIPA’s. Barrel ageing. You name it, we’ve got a recipe somewhere and will be bringing the dream back to life as soon as the world permits.

For those that haven’t tried your beer – what would you say makes it so special?

We put our EVERYTHING into every pint, and will never lose sight of that.  Beer first. Chances are if you’re drinking one of our beers, we’d love to chew your ear off (metaphorically, see: social distancing) about how much we enjoyed bringing that beer to life. 

Huge thanks to Cam for answering these questions, head to the website now and pick up some of their great collab beers! Find them right here.

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REVIEW: Breathless – Gallus

I’m loving a lot of the stuff coming out of Scotland at the moment.  The Snuts are vying for the title of Indie Kings.  One of my favourite live discoveries of recent times are Edinburgh’s The Rah’s.  Waving the Saltire for Scottish punk are The Dunts.  To my list of Caledonian favourites, I can now add Gallus. 

Glasgow four-piece Gallus are Barry Dolan (vocals), Craig Duris (bass), Eamon Ewins (guitar), and Paul Ewins (drums).  They have built a reputation for their rowdy, energetic live performances and punky tunes.  Latest single Breathless brings all that raucous sound and attitude to the turntable.

Singer Barry Dolan sums up the theme of Breathless as being ‘a song about someone who is angry at the romantic system and uses Tinder for his own personal gain’.  As the lyrics say, ‘It’s hollow, it’s empty, but he bet’s it feels alright.’.  The song starts with a metronomic drum beat and an angry, clipped, urgent guitar riff that carries on throughout the song.

Dolan’s angst filled vocals kick-in almost immediately.  Dolan’s vocal delivery seems to have changed over Gallus’s last two releases, Breathless and Actual Factual.  There’s a much more noticeable Scottish intonation to the vocals on these tracks than in Gallus’s earlier songs.  I asked Dolan if there was a reason for this?  ‘It’s a conscious decision.  In regards of those two songs, they have an aggressive undertone and it felt natural for me to shout more in them and it felt natural in the narrative of the songs that it was in my natural accent.’.  He’s not wrong.  There’s nothing that says hostility more than a shouty Glaswegian accent.  It’s perfect for the song.

The overall feel of Breathless reminds me of the sounds produced when New Wave diverged from punk.  It’s raw, energetic, passionate, but much more thoughtful than a three-chord thrash.

Breathless is available on all the usual platforms, but if you come across it on Tinder, make sure that you swipe right.

Ian Dunphy

Wanderlust – Allendale Brewery, Hexham

Wanderlust is a West Coast Style IPA brewed by Allendale Brewery, based in Northumberland; brewed with Zeus, Cascade, Centennial , Citra and Mosaic hops allowing for a punchy, 6.5% pale ale which is hoppy, fruity but bitter too.

Summary

A 6.5% IPA, Wanderlust is the little brother of Allendale Brewery’s award winning Double IPA (7.4%). Brewed with a blend of 5 different hops (Zeus, Cascade, Centennial , Citra & Mosaic), the beer has a floral aroma, largely due to the Zeus and Centennial, but when you drink it, Wanderlust is much more subtle in terms of flavours, than anticipated for a beer of such a high ABV, yet the bitterness remains. With an overall rating of 3.46 on Untappd, the beer certainly isn’t to everyones liking. We think it should be a staple beer of any real beer-drinkers fridge if you like subtle tropical flavours with a bitter aftertaste.

Taste

The easiest way to describe it is in three distinct flavour profiles. Initially, through the Citra and Mosaic, you get an instant tropical flavour, with a bit of grapefruit and citrus coming through from the Centennial. You then taste the dominant floral flavour, again due to the hop profile of the beer, but this soon disappears into a bitter aftertaste. It does leave the mouth a little dry after each sip, but that’s all the more reason to not leave it down on the table for too long before having your next.

Aroma

The Centennial (Super Cascade) combined with Zeus, dominate the aroma profile of Wanderlust. Floral smells come through pungently, but you can also smell the bitterness the beer provides in the aftertaste. This might put some people off if you’re expecting a fruit filled IPA, but with an IBU of 77, it’s clear that this bitterness is what drives the aroma and taste profile. We think it entices you in to the beer, especially if you like typical IPA flavours.

Description & Rating

Style: West Coast IPA
ABV: 6.5%
Untappd Rating: 3.46 (28/03/2020)

Available from: https://shop.allendalebrewery.com/collections/cans/products/case-of-wanderlust

REVIEW: Into the Night – Clear Vinyl

Into The Night is the latest release from Sheffield band Clear Vinyl. The long anticipated follow up from their trio of singles in 2019, Into The Night is a song about not fitting in, wanting to escape and go back to simpler times.

Band: Clear Vinyl
Track: Into The Night
Time: 3:29 minutes
For fans of: Cold Years, Puppet Theory
H2N Rating 65/100

In times like these, sometimes you just need a track or two you can put on in the background, not pay too much attention, and just find yourself enjoying what you’re listening to. Clear Vinyl are a band you can do that to; with all of their releases so far, it’s the perfect music for playing at any time of day, in any social situation and nobody would complain, and that rings true with new release Into The Night.

Credit: RoeParkin

As always, the Sheffield four-piece have released a track that has their own alt-pop sound they’ve honed over the past 18 months, and using their own words “staying true to their core beliefs that music should be fun and an escape from the world of political and emotional turmoil that we exist in.” Taking influence from some of the great artists of the time, Sundara Karma and The Night Cafe, their new release has a nice indie feel but with the alt-pop kick they’re best at.

Into The Night, for the duration of the nearly 3 and a half minutes, plays on some of the most current sounds out there in the indie-pop market right now, but the riffs and underlying guitars could come right out of a recent Foo Fighters record which is testament to the numerous influences this band have. That being said, whilst I think it’s a progression from 2019 releases You and Foolish, this was actually one of the first the band wrote together which I was shocked to hear as it is exactly that, a real progression both musically and in terms of catchiness.

“We’ll run away I’l; keep you safe, back in my home time when everything was easy.

I like this band. They do the basics right and whilst some would see them as “safe”, playing it safe is sometimes a risk in itself. Clear Vinyl have had a torrid 12 months and the fact they’ve come out of it the way they have to release Into The Night shows how committed they are to their sound and music. Lyrically, it’s relatable, and does exactly what the guys want, gives you a release, even for just a few minutes and they couldn’t have released this at a more pertinent time. Top effort and I’m looking forward to what’s coming next from this exciting, talented outfit.

H2N Ranking Score
Originality: 10/20
Lyrics: 14/20
Complexity: 12/20
Catchiness: 16/20
Stadium Filler Rating: 13/20

Photo credit: RoeParkin

Calmer Chameleon – Brew York, York

Calmer Chameleon is a core Session APA brewed by York’s “Brew York”; brewed with CTZ, Idaho 7, Mosaic and Simcoe hops to leave a lasting hoppy, fruity taste.

Photo Credit: Brew York Website

Summary

Following a trial brew, Calmer Chameleon fast progressed to being part of the breweries core range, and it’s easy to see why. The beer has a real floral aroma but is balanced well with a citrus kick, largely delivered through the Columbus hops. The blend of CTZ with Idaho 7 and Mosaic means Calmer Chameleon packs a tropical punch, and tastes quite alcoholic even though it’s a low 3.9% ABV session.

Taste

Calmer Chameleon is a very drinkable session and is one I’d happily drink over and over. Using the Idaho 7 is an inspired choice as it gives you a sweetness you don’t normally get in Session APA’s; compared to a Hemisphere (FourPure) for example, it’s fruity but doesn’t leave the bitter aftertaste, and the credit has to go to the hops here.

Aroma

Stunning, to be frank. The hop profile of Calmer Chameleon means the smell is citrusy, fruity and has a refreshing aroma that you’d expect from a beer of this style from Brew York. It entices you into the beer and it doesn’t disappoint in delivering taste.

Description & Rating

Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 3.9%
Untappd Rating: 3.62 (26/03/2020)

Available from: https://brewyork.co.uk/product/calmer-chameleon/

Kelham Island Brewery – Kelham Island, Sheffield

Before the UK went into lockdown, I made the trip from York, down to Steel City for the weekend to see what beer Sheffield had on offer. Having previously been to a Tiny Rebel Takeover in the city and several trips to pubs around Tramlines festival, I was looking forward to delving into Sheffield’s beer scene a little more. Following a bit of reading around places to head, there was one choice that stood out amongst the rest, a visit to Kelham Island Brewery to take part in their brewery tour.

Built in 1990, the Kelham Island Brewery was originally the brewing arm of the city’s famous Fat Cat public house on Alma Street. Over time, as breweries in Sheffield have come and gone, this brewery has continued a modest expansion to where it is today. Before I head into my views on the visit, a quick background into the beers produced by this historic brewery.

The Range

There is a core range of five beers that Kelham Island pride themselves on, two of which were available on the day, Pale Rider, a 5.2% Pale Ale and Kelham Best, a 3.8% bitter; I’ll go into detail on these later. The other three core beers are as expected; another pale ale by the name of Easy Rider, a classic 4% bitter Pride of Sheffield and an amber ale seen across Sheffield, the 4.5% Riders on the Storm. On average, across all beers on Untappd, the brewery has a rating of 3.44/5, signalling a range of solid, yet largely uninspiring brews, and that is something the brewery seems to pride itself on. On the tour it was made clear the purpose of the brewery is to brew drinkable ales, rather than break boundaries with ABV and flavours. That being said, I was excited to try the three on offer that day.

Photo Credit: Kelham Island Brewery Website

The Tour

Now, I must say, if anyone is reading this in place of Trip Advisor, it needs to be pointed out that the Kelham Island Brewery Tour, is much more an unlimited beer tasting session, with a short tour attached to it. On arrival, we were sat down at large tables and the first jug of Kelham Best made it’s way onto tables. Unsure of what was happening we initially rationed our drinking but as soon as the jug emptied, we were presented with another jug. This didn’t stop for the entire three hours we were there and following a substantial Pie and Peas lunch, we left the building full of food and beer.

The tour itself was as long and in depth as it could have been. There was a short walk from the Loft bar we started in to the brewery. From there there were four rooms shown to us; I hold the mantra one you’ve done one brewery tour you’ve done them all, but it’s always good to pick up on the small nuances and differences between brewhouses. At Kelham, what stood out to me was how hands on the brewers are and just how much they manage to produce in such a small space. With the Fat Cat still looming over the brewery, it was refreshing to hear how integrated they still are in the local community. Our tour guide was funny and gave a real insight into how the small brewery operates day to day.

The Beers

As mentioned, three beers were available to drink in the three hours, kicking off with the classic Kelham Best (Untappd Rating: 3.35). Billed as a classic Amber Ale, this one did exactly as it said on the label. The first glass was a challenge, but that was 98% down to the hangover me and my mate were nursing on arrival, but following a few glasses, it became a highly drinkable beer. The reactions around our table of 12 were pretty resounding, it was a beer we were all happy to drink on the day, but when placed amongst other leading ales, we probably wouldn’t choose it over some others. These views though are challenged by many across Untappd and it’s clear that it’s a drinkable beer that’s popular in the city. It became evident our table were more pale ale minded drinkers too so maybe the criticism was harsh but overall, the assessment was that Kelham Best was good, but it wasn’t going to make any lists of best beers in Britain any time soon. Judging it for what it is though, a classic amber ale, you have to say they’ve nailed it.

Next up was the one we were all looking forward to on our table, Pale Rider (Untappd Rating: 3.5), a 5.2% ABV pale ale. It was an interesting one; a “pale ale” in 2020, is very different to what a pale ale was in 2015, or 2010 and going back further you get my point, and with Pale Rider, it was clear that this was more of an early 10s Pale rather than a pale ale for 2020. What I mean by that is if you ordered it in a bar, you’d be expecting highly hoppy, lots of gas, and ice cold (think Camden Pale), but this was more of a golden pale, perfect on cask and much flatter than a typical pale in this decade. It certainly didn’t feel 5.2%, it went down very comfortably, and six or seven jugs later, I think our table had consumed more than enough Pale Rider to last a lifetime. In its heyday, I imagine Pale Rider was one of the dominant pale ales available on the market, and it has indeed won awards, but again like Kelham Best, it felt a little dated, almost too traditional for me. As a beer drinker who loves my ekaunot and chinook hops, pale ales of this style often miss the mark, but I did find myself drinking the equivalent of about four pints of it and it became much better the more I drank of it.

As well as the core beers Kelham Brewery produces, every quarter they have an exciting range of special beers on offer throughout the months, we had the chance to drink their latest at the time Bête Noire (Untappd Rating: 3.68), a 5.5% stout, brewed with a trio of roasted malts which did give off a strong chocolate aroma and I have to say, as far as the three beers we had on the day were concerned, this was comfortably the best brewed beer. It was silky, smooth and packed a lot of flavour into a 5.5% stout. I’m not personally a big stout drinker, and if I were to reach for any it’d be a lactose heavy milk stout, or a Guinness, so I can’t compare this properly, but as a standalone, it stood out versus the two core beers. The Untappd rating indicates that too and they should maybe consider a beer of this style in their core range moving forward.

Overall

It might seem that at times I’ve been negative in this write up. I did enjoy the experience don’t get me wrong, but there came a moment where the unlimited beer did kind of devalue the experience in a way. I was sat there with my mate, genuinely complaining at the amount of beer and felt I was being ridiculous; but that feeling was largely down to the labelling of the experience. What I love about a brewery tour is learning about the beers, what inspired the name, the artwork and the brewing of each, followed by a little taste of each; whereas this was more like a 3 hour drinking session with a tour attached (not complaining at that either!). I didn’t learn anything about each beer and left a little disappointed I’d not prompted more questions. Value for money? Absolutely. Good beers? Yeah they were solid and drinkable. But if you’re expecting an enriching brewery experience where you learn about the brewery and beers, this maybe isn’t one for you.

The Beers Ranked

1. Pale Rider – Pale Ale – 5.2% ABV

2. Bete Noire – Stout – 5.5% ABV

3. Kelham Best – English Bitter – 3.8% ABV

REVIEW: Nylon Wire – Egyptian Blue

On April 10th, Brighton based Egyptian Blue will release their sophomore EP “Body of Itch” the long-anticipated follow up to 2019’s “Collateral Damage”. The band have today shared the second track from the EP, “Nylon Wire” which comes after the release of the scuzzy first track, “Never”. Their debut EP gained radio airplay on some of the UK’s best shows, so I was looking forward to hearing this track; the good news for fans of the band is, it doesn’t disappoint.

Band: Egyptian Blue
Track: Nylon Wire
Time: 2:19 minutes
For fans of: Foals, The Strokes,
H2N Rating 66/100

New single ‘Nylon Wire‘ finds Egyptian Blue at their most direct and thrilling; at just 2:19, the track is a big step away from what they’ve done before, much punchier and exciting by far. It’s the second track, following ‘Never‘, to be taken from their second EP Body of Itch, which will be released on April 10th by Yala! Records.

Produced by Theo Verney (FURTRAAMS), ‘Nylon Wire’ was written quickly, following a jam, co-frontman Andy buss noting “Some of our tracks take weeks of configuration, others take minutes”. This falls into the latter. Frantic yet precise riffs accompanied by a lyrical intensity which is quickly becoming the hallmark of their burgeoning sound. 

What I really like about this one compared to Never, is it hits you instantly when you first play it. If you’re into this style of indie-rock, you won’t need a second listen. I was hooked from the first couple of bars of music. It kicks off with a bit of a psychedelic riff before dropping into the, almost Rakes-esque, vocal. It’s actually hard to make too many comparisons really as it comprises so many sounds and genres. The overriding sound though is that of The Strokes, but with a distinctly British riff-twist to it. If The Strokes had grown up in the South of England, maybe this is what their sound would be!

The epic finale to the track, I could genuinely listen to on repeat. It screams early 90s rock whilst being really current, in line with the style of so many bands playing across This Feeling stages across the nation. What is also great, is that whilst I wasn’t a huge fan of “Never”, I didn’t think it was a step forward from their last EP, when listening to the two tracks after one another, you realise how much they complement each other, and will sound class on the EP.

Collectively, Body of Itch offers a lens to focus the frustrations of the modern world into a burning clarion call to resistance and enact change. In some small way, the baton is passed from bands who have influenced their sound (Gang of FourPreoccupationsIceage, early Foals) and whose words they connect with. I can’t wait for the release and we’ll be reviewing the full EP when it lands for sure!

H2N Ranking Score
Originality: 15/20
Lyrics: 12/20
Complexity: 12/20
Catchiness: 13/20
Stadium Filler Rating: 14/20

INTERVIEW: Reclaim Vienna

I was looking forward to seeing Reclaim Vienna play Zanzibar in Liverpool this weekend.  I was not surprised or disappointed that the gig was cancelled.  These are strange times we’re living in, but gigs will be rescheduled, and that’ll give us all something to look forward to.

Cheshire based Reclaim Vienna are brothers Danny and Ryan Smith (guitar/lyrics, and drums/lyrics respectively), Harry Woodrow (keys), Ryan Harlow (lead guitar), Jon Steen (vocals) and Paul Hill (bass).  They play electronic pop with stomping beats, synth loops and anthemic guitars.  I still wanted to do something and approached the band with the offer of a virtual interview.  It’s not ideal, I’d prefer to do an interview face-to-face, over a table and a pint, but like I said these are strange times.  Thankfully Danny Smith readily agreed to the offer and I fired some questions over to him.     

Reclaim Vienna – Kick The Butterfly

Is it true that the band’s name is a veiled reference to a football match that I attended in 1985?

Danny – It is, my brother and I are Everton fans and we beat Rapid Vienna in the ’85 Cup Winners Cup final.  My Dad was also at the game and I always remember the screens at Goodison, before kick-off they would run a video, it started with the fella getting chased by the police (Eddie Cavanagh at Wembley 1966!) and ended with that game.  It’s a childhood memory.  Our guitarist Ryan had an idea of using the word ‘Reclaim’ and we merged the two together.

How did your association with 42’s Records come about?

Danny – Andy Wood first approached us after hearing our song Paris.  He liked it and made contact with us.  He came to a few of our gigs and we showcased more of our songs and the label liked them so here we are!

How would you describe the bands sound to the uninitiated?

Danny – Electronic sounds for the dancefloor.

Bands containing brothers have a history of being a bit fractious.  How’s things going inside Reclaim Vienna at the moment?

Danny – Not too bad at the moment.  My brother and I are getting along well.  He’s writing some strong material at the moment with lyrics and melodies and if he keeps going, he may become half as good as me!

Tell me about the new single Change The Echo? 

Danny – Change The Echo is our ending song and there’s a responsibility for a song for it to be that way.  You must end with a strong tune and that’s what it is for us.  It’s got synth hooks and vocal melodies that make it a very joyous song.  It’s our favourite to play live at the moment.

With gigs rightly being cancelled at the moment, how are Reclaim using their time?

Danny – We’re awaiting the release of our single Change The Echo on the 27th.  Pushing CD sales and pre-order for merch.  I will be writing songs too now I have a little time away from the world.  I’ve written one today, so I hope to have a few more completed.  Other than that, I will be doing the best I can to help sort this mess out.  The world is a mess right now and we all need to look after each other. 

I think we can all agree with that last sentiment.  See you on the other side.  

Ian D.

Photo Credit: Adam Holland Photography

REVIEW: Feel My Soul – The DLX

Bristol based, dirty-rock, band The DLX are back with new single “Feel My Soul”. The track is their first in 2020 and signals a more mature and original sound than before. It’s a typical British indie-rock song, with a classic DLX grunge-like feel running throughout.

Band: The DLX
Track: Feel My Soul
Time: 3:35 minutes
For fans of: Dirty Laces, Rival Bones, The Enemy
H2N Rating 70/100

Being completely honest, before I had a message in my Twitter inbox from Bristol’s The DLX, I hadn’t come across their music. Now I do listen to everything that pops into that inbox, and again being honest, 80% of it isn’t great; not bad, just not great so it always makes me smile a bit when I click play and I instantly fall in love with a sound, with a track, with a band. That’s exactly what happened when I clicked play for the first time on Feel My Soul, the new release from the band.

Whilst this is a review of their new release, it’s worth noting that 7 days ago I’d never heard of the band or their music; now I could sing you every lyric of G.H.S and How Ya Feelin’. Feel My Soul gave me a taste that I liked and I went and listened to the guys’ back catalogue to allow this review to be reflective of the work they’ve put out to date, and I’m thrilled to say it’s very very good.

The track starts at 100mph with a killer bass riff before the indie rhythym guitars begin to flow. Hooked already. It’s a track that, if you just had shuffle on Spotify playing through your speakers, would make you look up, realise what you’re listening to and pay attention. There’s a “scuzziness” that’s missing from a lot of upcoming artists nowadays which I love. Think Dirty Laces-esque choruses with the loud vocals complemented by the backing guitars and singing. This is a track you can imagine chanting with the lads extremely loud in a festival tent and creating memories you’ll never forget.

It’s got the ring of 00s rock music, the likes of which NME used to promote. The Automatic, The Subways, The Bravery, all those epic bands that are forgotten, their sound lives on through The DLX.

Is it perfect? No, but music like this should feel raw, it should feel like there’s a few mistakes in it and I guarantee, on the live stage, Feel My Soul will get any room bouncing more than most tracks. At times it feels slightly rushed and the recording quality isn’t 10/10. For me, it isn’t a track that will make my end of year best track lists, but what it has done is open my eyes to this band – I genuinely believe they have something others don’t; there’s an attitude, a style that was once popular that needs to come back. Their next release could be the one that makes people look up and notice The DLX and I for one, will be the first person promoting that.

H2N Ranking Score
Originality: 13/20
Lyrics: 13/20
Complexity: 14/20
Catchiness: 17/20
Stadium Filler Rating: 13/20

The DLX – Photo Credit Sam Gould

REVIEW: [Insert Girls Name Here] – The Luka State

There’s little doubt that we all know where the beating heart of North-West indie music currently lies.  Wigan.  Perhaps Wigan should be looking over its shoulder, towards the south and the salty Cheshire plains around Winsford.  Local boys, Deja Vega are building an escalating reputation, Reclaim Vienna are creating a bit of a buzz, and completing the Cheshire invasion are The Luka State. 

Band: The Luka State
Track: [Insert Girls Name Here]
Time: 3:08 minutes
For fans of: Stereophonics, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Pigeon Detectives
H2N Rating 76/100

Singer/guitarist Conrad Ellis, guitarist Lewis Pusey, bass player Sam Bell, and drummer Jake Barnabas have developed a reputation for producing some kick-ass rock n roll tunes.  Hot on the heels of recent killer singles, Girl and Fake News, comes their latest single release [Insert Girls Name Here]. It’s another winner.   

If you’ve been lucky enough to see The Luka State on their recent winter tour, you’ll be familiar with [Insert Girls Name Here].  The song’s been around for a little while.  It’s the song in the set where things start to get loud, sweaty, and messy.  People take notice.  I’m glad to say that this recorded version of the song loses none of that live energy and immediacy. 

The song starts with a rhythmic assault on the senses.  Jake Baranbas’s pounding drums, Sam Bell’s throbbing bass, and the rhythm guitar of Lewis Pusey work in perfect unison to thump the listener around the head before Conrad Ellis’s growling, emotional vocals kick in.  The song races along in a relentless barrage of layered guitars with killer riffs, before developing more urgency towards the chorus ‘Think for a moment, Can you take it on the other side’ urges Ellis.

Apart from a brief bass break, and the melancholic bridge where Ellis sings ‘So come and do me wrong, and I can’t take this, But I’ve been here before and I can make this’, the song is an insistent barrage of sonic emotion.  After the bridge, the big riffs kick back in and the song barrels to its inevitable conclusion.  The sudden, dramatic conclusion echoes that moment when the realisation hits you that that relationship is over.       

I asked singer Ellis to give me the background to the song and its title.  ‘Every musician’s been burned in love.  I think that’s why we write the songs we write, to get that emotion off our chest.  But at the same time, anyone who has been through those emotions can relate to this song’. 

There are rumours that the band’s debut album will be getting released in the summer.  Looking at it from this moment in time, the bands greatest difficulty will be narrowing down the ’Possible v.  probable’ tracks to make it on to the album.            

Rock n roll is alive and well and living in Salt-Town.

Ian D.          

H2N Ranking Score
Originality: 16/20
Lyrics: 14/20
Complexity: 14/20
Catchiness: 15/20
Stadium Filler Rating: 17/20

Merch and more: http://thelukastate.com/

Photo credit: TBC