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'Sessions From The Hive: Volume 1'
(Misplaced Records) Release Date: 25th March 2014

Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus

the black marque

Citing such influences as The Raconteurs, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Cramps and The Clash gives you a rough idea of their sound. What there is little doubt about is how much love and energy has been invested in this collection of ten tracks.

The band seems to centre on Skye Vaughan-Jayne (vocals and guitar) and Mike Christie (vocals and bass) with another guitarist called Kevin Bombay getting a credit.

Evidently from the band name, they hail from Los Angeles and complete with a dark swagger, they knock out such gems as 'All For Love (Luv)' with panache. Opening gambit 'Seven Shades Of Shame' seduces the senses as does the united cry of 'Wolves To Wallflowers'. Each song captures a charm and an accessible quality that draws you in effortlessly. 'Just Sayin'' rolls along with the chant-a-long chorus whilst 'Cold War' finds a change of gear produces magic to what is a delicious track.

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Debut albums are often strong due to the principle that the band has been building up their best material for a long duration, before being provided with the luxury of suitable logistics in which to release their first music. This seems to apply greatly to what is a very strong album. Never losing sight of a hook, they deliver with consistency some heart-felt and authentic fuzz-pedal infused nuggets of goodness. (Try saying that after a few alcoholic beverages!)

'Dirt Road Home' is a smooth operator complete with a dash of fragility between the doses of the fuzzy stuff, whilst the tattoos shimmer in the dry heat of 'Madness For Some'. If music can be both refined and rough simultaneously, then The Black Marquee Los Angeles have nailed it! With a song title like 'Rotten Truth'you'd expect something a little more ragged and frantic perhaps, and the muscular figure of this track is a rock-a-thon to be sure; highly satisfying in all regards.

Prickly to the touch, 'My Darlin'' rages onward with a furious soul with the lyrical refrain, "Hold on tight my darlin'" being cried from the rafters. After you recover from the fury of the rampaging 'My Darlin'' the ears are introduced what sounds like some red Indians pounding a steady beat with their tribal drums. 'Sunday Servants' races along with an urgency that brings to mind occasions when trying to beat the traffic lights; don't turn red yet, I need to get to my location in good time! Thankfully it isn't one dimensional as the chant and drums return before the song ends abruptly.

'Sessions From The Hive: Volume 1' is a real treasure which doesn't just travel down one highway; it explores the foliage and the single track lanes that are within its vicinity. There is a little of something for everyone if you like the bands they proudly announce as influences, and with a swagger that salutes attitude and honesty, how could you not fall for their charms?

Seven Shades Of Shame
All For Love (Luv)
Dirt Road Home
Madness For Some
Wolves To Wallflowers
Rotten Truth
Just Sayin'
Cold War
My Darlin'
Sunday Servants

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