Tag Archives: Bouquet of Dead Crows

Bouquet Of Dead Crows, Six Bells, Cambridge, 9 September 2017

The local music scene in Cambridge (and I assume in other towns) is being supported by an increasing number of pubs and cafes featuring the best of home-grown talent (special commendations to The Earl Of Beaconsfield and Relevant Records café). Now the Six Bells off Mill Road has broadened its musical repertoire to feature some of the more contemporary indie artists, including a recent bout of noiserock from up and coming four-piece Shyer, as well as a forthcoming December gig from carnival psychsters The Scissors.
Tonight it was an acoustic showcase, beginning with Matt Hammond, added to the bill at the last minute, and very pleased to be playing to an appreciative audience.
He is one of those guitar players who is fascinating to watch, a style based around tapping the strings up the neck of the instrument, forming repetitive, hypnotic patterns to underpin his mellow vocalising. It was all relaxing and tranquil, he is clearly a fan of Nick Drake and John Martyn, as everyone should probably be….

Jethro Steel of Goldblume is not a coaxer of the guitar, preferring a more punishing approach to the strings. He plays effective versions of the electric power-trio’s tracks, with all their unpredictable twists such as whisking us away to ‘Winconsin’. With a new EP release imminent, this magnetic performer knows how to win a crowd over.

Bouquet Of Dead Crows are equally at home as full-on rockers and with different stripped down versions; tonight it was the vocals of Antoinette Cooper with guitar (and some effects) from multi-instrumentalist Neil Bruce and a rare appearance of an acoustic bass played by Graeme Clarke. They were featuring songs from debut album ‘Of The Night’, previously reviewed on this site. They certainly held audience attention, for a couple of quieter tracks we were instructed to be silent to get fully involved, this was readily obeyed!

Varied musical styles, intimate surroundings, good beer, free(!), that must be a good night out…

Bouquet of Dead Crows
https://cambridgemusicreviews.net/2015/09/13/bouquet-of-dead-crows-of-the-night-released-november-2015/
https://goldblumeband.bandcamp.com/
https://www.musicglue.com/matthammondofficial/shop

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Dos Floris, Corner House, Cambridge, 17 July 2016

On a steamy summer evening the place to be was the Cambridge Corner House pub and venue, for a rare UK appearance of singer and multi-instrumentalist Dos Floris.

Opening the show was a special set from Bouquet Of Dead Crows, pared down to Toni Cooper’s voice and acoustic guitar from Neil Bruce. At present they are working on a follow-up to their accomplished song collection ‘Of The Night’, and tonight there were re-imagined versions of many of the tracks from that album. Musically Neil added extra guitar nuance and colour to underpin Toni’s confident vocals which combined to great effect, especially on the new single ‘Epicentre’.

I have been an admirer of the majestic Dos Floris album ‘The Widowed Earth’ since its release, and at the time of writing I still can’t quite believe that I was watching a performance of that hypnotic music and meeting its creator.

The sound is complex and multi-layered, necessitating some backing percussion and electronics being co-ordinated by laptop, but there was plenty of interesting keyboard lines and experimental effects played live as the tracks developed beyond the album versions. Add in some flute, a pure captivating voice and looped backing vocals for the complete picture.

The ‘natural world’ theme that threads through these songs is most evident in ‘Rivers’ but so cleverly are the music and words intertwined that the simple protest of ‘All The Kings Horses’ seems to be a statement that war is somehow a violation of nature (and possibly is as effective a statement against the Iraq War as the 2.6 million words of the Chilcott Report?!).

One of the highlights was ‘Before You Loved Me’, a torch song that could be from 1920s Berlin if they had had waves of electronica in the jazz clubs. Then a version of ‘To The Wolves Part II’ was dedicated to this humble reviewer which made the evening even better…

http://www.dosfloris.com
https://cambridgemusicreviews.net/2015/12/30/dos-floris-the-widowed-earth-released-november-2015/
http://www.bouquetofdeadcrows.com/

Gavin Chappell-Bates, Portland Arms, Cambridge, 8 April 2016

A double R*E*P*E*A*T Records album launch; starting with ‘Horizons’ from Horse Party, mostly a collection of songs released as EPs, singles and downloads over the last year. They are a brilliant live band, tonight the original trio were augmented by a bass player on stage and that gives these new songs even more clout.
The stealthy, sparse vocals and guitar from Ellie Langley and Seymour Quigley set the mood of the song, then the hooks crash in; the opening song ‘Animal’ showcases this to great effect with an extra power bass line and of course the ace drumming by Shannon Hope, driving the sound to new heights every time.
Highlights were the slower bluesy groove of ‘Gratitude Falling’, the bittersweetness of ‘Out Of Sight’ and the energetic final song ‘Paydirt’, this was the best performance I had seen by this electrifying band.

‘We Are The Ones’ is the new CD from Gavin Chappell-Bates (reviewed on this site) and instead of his solo live-looping tonight he was backed by a full band, Cambridge rockers Bouquet Of Dead Crows. Gavin’s songs are from the head and heart; he started with ‘Refugee’ a gradual build-up to a huge Manic Street Preachers (his favourite band) style chorus. The band stepped up to the faster ‘Church Of Rock and Roll’ and the mighty bass line underpinning the disconcerting chord changes of ‘Black Holes’.

’95’ was an anthem to get the crowd singing along to the hookline and his very personal early song ‘Last Angel’ was a sensitively sung duet, then his bitter reflection on recent politics ‘The Finest Hour’ got a full workover from the band.
There was a surprise during the end of the ballad ‘Starlight’; suddenly there were 11 more singers on stage , a choir in black who had been part of the audience. This emotional lift carried into the title-track rouser ‘We Are The Ones’ (a worthy successor to the rallying cry of the late 80s, ’68 Guns’ by The Alarm?) and finally ‘Dead End Disco Streets’ closed the show and launched the album in style…

http://gavinchappellbates.com/
https://www.facebook.com/horsepartyparty

https://cambridgemusicreviews.net/2016/03/22/gavin-chappell-bates-we-are-the-ones-lp-released-8-april-2016/

Bouquet Of Dead Crows, Portland Arms, Cambridge, 6 November 2015

The launch party for the new album ‘Of The Night’ from Cambridge rockers Bouquet Of Dead Crows. First band on were Londoners Cherry White, with some down and earthy blues-rock, vocalist Donata Sounds belting them out over some tight backing from a fluent rock trio, notable especially for some John Entwistle bass styling and some good contrasts of light and shade.

Gavin Chappell-Bates brought his sensitive tunes to the stage flanked by two microphones and a bank of pedals to facilitate an elaborate level of looping creating a multi-layered texture of sound, all from the acoustic guitar, voice and simple percussion. Impressive indeed. There is a warm and nostalgic feel to his songs, including recent singles ’95’ and ‘We Are The Ones’.

An exuberant performance from Cambridge stalwarts The Scissors impressed the growing audience, their sharp pop songs a riot of colourful Hammond organ flavoured keyboards, edgy guitar, crescendos of drums and punching bass, with some interesting lyrical twists. Hopefully a new CD is due soon, to include the dark blues of ‘Why Don’t You Cry?’ currently one of the standout songs in their live set.

As the stage filled with smoke the headliners arrived to a welcoming crowd. Opening with the slowly building ‘Everything Is Temporary’ then into the heavier delights of ‘Epicentre’ and blasting single ‘Just A Little More’, it is clear that the continual gigging and recording of these songs is paying off with a finely honed instrumental unity, topped with Antoinette Cooper’s confident vocals.
The dark riff of ‘Drownout’ pairs well with the sadness of ‘Without You’, ‘Fundamental Flaw Of Solitude’ sets us up nicely for the epic opus ‘Endless’ (its not a happy lyric, ‘over and over I’m drowning in the flames’) with one of the best instrumental work-outs of the evening. Time for a quick encore of early track ‘Implode/Explode’ (‘We should be killing time, but you’re killing me..’) then it was the end of the party.

Bouquet Of Dead Crows should be very proud of this album (with its striking design by Stewart Harris of The Scissors and triple gatefold sleeve..!) and it translates brilliantly to a live environment like the Portland, or of course to a larger venue…

http://www.bouquetofdeadcrows.com/
http://thescissors.blogspot.co.uk/
http://gavinchappellbates.com/
http://www.cherrywhitemusic.com/
https://cambridgemusicreviews.net/2015/09/13/bouquet-of-dead-crows-of-the-night-released-november-2015/

Bouquet Of Dead Crows : Of The Night, released November 2015

After their boisterous double A-side single set the pace, a track by track review of the forthcoming album from the Cambridge four-piece rockers…

1. Everything Is Temporary. A distant wind blows in some pensive guitar notes; like many bands they have opted for a gradually building introductory track. The vocal sounds world-weary to reflect the title and the instruments have a subtle presence until it all steps up a gear, guitar crashes in and we have a fully developed anthem. A sinister electronic insect swarm ends the track and starts the next…

2. Epicentre. This is when the band kick off the earthquake, you can sense the pleasure they get playing this one, plenty of noise but some sophisticated and varied arrangements too.

3. Just A Little More. Released as a single and reviewed on this site, the track slots in nicely here. “…seems to cram a lot into the three minutes, opening with a guitar figure partly reminiscent of classic prog-rock ‘Heart Of The Sunrise’ by Yes (high-praise indeed!) and dominated by Antoinette’s powerful vocals and a strong hook line. A short bass interlude(Graeme Clarke) is some quieter relief then the track rocks to a heavy finish….”

4. Without You. Slower and sad, excellent sharp bass. As is clearly shown on this track the production on this album is excellent, capturing their ‘live’ energy and contrasting dynamics very well.

5. Drownout. Distorted and heavy, the guitar sounds like some stalking creature, threatening to engulf the vocal. Intense stuff, again with some nice bass touches.

6. The Fundamental Flaw Of Solitude. A lovingly crafted epic track, from the title to the bluesy intro and grinding riff. The hookline works into your brain effectively as does thunderous drumming and extra-low bass.

7. The Silent Path (Time Goes By). A gentler meditation on the nature of time. Acoustic guitar (and drum machine?) framework for some thoughtful lyrics and layered instrumentation.

8. Don’t Panic! The second song on the single, from my previous review “…starts with a thunderous guitar riff from Neil Bruce that hardly lets up and I am always pleased to hear dynamic drumming, energetic stuff from Andrew Coxall, especially in the anarchic instrumental break towards the end…”

9. Like A Flower. In full acoustic mode for this subtle but pivotal piece, featuring the album title line and some neat harmonies.

10. Endless. At just over seven minutes you know that this song is going to cover some extensive ground and it doesn’t disappoint. A catchy vocal line and some well developed instrumental passages.

The album will be launched at the Portland Arms on Friday November 6th…

https://cambridgemusicreviews.net/2015/08/04/bouquet-of-dead-crows-dont-panicjust-a-little-more-released-28-august-2015/

http://www.bouquetofdeadcrows.com/

Bouquet Of Dead Crows : Don’t Panic!/Just A Little More, released 28 August 2015

What’s in a name?
Cambridge-based ‘Bouquet Of Dead Crows’ sound like an object found on an ancient quest or the worst order that Interflora have ever had to deliver. But the ambiguity of their name actually suits the music very well. They are a four piece Rock/Pop band and have just finished recording their debut album ‘Of The Night’, due for release later this year. On this new double A-sided single they show their hardest rock sound, but tempered with smooth melodic vocal from Antoinette Cooper sailing majestically above.

Opening track ‘Don’t Panic!’ starts with a thunderous guitar riff from Neil Bruce that hardly lets up and I am always pleased to hear dynamic drumming, energetic stuff from Andrew Coxall, especially in the anarchic instrumental break towards the end. The second track ‘Just A Little More’ seems to cram a lot into the three minutes, opening with a guitar figure partly reminiscent of classic prog-rock ‘Heart Of The Sunrise’ by Yes (high-praise indeed!) and dominated by Antoinette’s powerful vocals and a strong hook line. A short bass interlude(Graeme Clarke) is some quieter relief then the track rocks to a heavy finish.

I caught some of their tight live set recently (at Corner House Cambridge) and also some acoustic songs on a radio session. More evidence of their versatility and variety as musicians, I look forward to hearing the album…

https://cambridgemusicreviews.net/2015/09/13/bouquet-of-dead-crows-of-the-night-released-november-2015/
http://bouquetofdeadcrows.com/