Genres: indie pop, indie rock
1634 Lombard St., 2nd floor
Philadelphia, PA 19146
Feb 10 - 16 2003
Records' releases always come in these delightful slimline
cases. Whenever I get one I can't help but be excited. Not
only are they cute in stature, but they're always so darn good! So
clearly, expectations were high for The RavenMasters' debut ep, Painkillers.
After all, this seemed like the first record Ionik had released from
outside of the American local scene (The RavenMasters live in
Verona, Italy) - why would they have chosen it if it wasn't a real find?
Painkillers is a collection of five songs, each one a catchy
little pop tune. Aside from guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, the
band has decided to spice things up with the addition of a few other
instruments, including some nice strings, as well as samplers, moogs,
organs, pianos, and others. The sound they've produced is a nice
one, with influences ranging from modern day acts like Radiohead
and Nick Cave to classic giants like The Beatles and The
For example, "Meaningless" starts off like a regular
Beatles pop tune and then introduces Giovanni Massari's
vocals, which add a more modern feel to it. Later we're treated
to a nice sixties psychedelic moment in the track when the vocals are
given that neat "underwater feeling" that the Fab Four used
a lot. All in all, it's a very catchy track.
Meanwhile, "Self-Portrait," which starts the album off,
is another affair. Starting off with a sample of what sounds
like a really old Edison Cylinder or something, the track then adds in
some synthesized drums and a bunch of electronic sounds, only to blow
it all out of the water with an onslaught of guitars and vocals.
The mixture owes something to punk just as much as it does to pop - Giovanni's
vocals are as snotty as possible, and the vibrant, distorted guitars
are blasting as hard as the lo-fi recording technology will let
"The Reminder Man" is also a notable tune - its hushed
guitars and emotional vocals offer a sensitive side to the
album. Strings are added to further enhance the effect - the
results are endearing.
Altogether, The RavenMasters are an odd catch for Ionik
Records. Italian bands aren't really a big part of the North
American world, though this ep is a nice reminder of what we're
missing. I can't wait for the full-length.
Fun Fact: As if the clear Beatles
influences weren't enough, The RavenMasters also pay homage to
the Fab Four in recording process - the album was produced in Giovanni's
studio, called "Strawberry Fields."
5 songs, distributed by the
label, released 2002]