Coincidence or fate, I distance myself from deciding on this, but one thing is certain: the run of events that led to writing this review appeal at least to me inevitable and can be traced back to a moment in my life I still recall as a very precious and defining one: it has been the day that I started writing song reviews. And it has been the day I was introduced to remarkable and refined rock music, genuinely embodied by the St. Helens based four piece indie rock set TiTORS iNSiGNiA.
It was in May/June 2013 when I was kindly asked by the dedicated and enthusiastic team of music promoters behind Square Pig’s Sty Rockin' Charts (@sqrpig http://squarepig.co.uk/), to write a song review for their website, a song review for one of TiTORS iNSiGNiA’s compositions called ‘Get Yourself A Name’ - a composition which strikes due to its vivid and vigorous melody, its strong and vibrant vocals (read the full review here: http://squarepig.co.uk/review1/; the song itself hasn’t been released yet). I found myself quickly attracted to the sincere and drastic sound of TiTORS iNSiGNiA’s music what eventually made me keep an eye on the band, that has been established in 2008, henceforth. A wise decision as it seems, and a wide-ranging one as well. Now it’s not only a pleasure to give you an insight on how the songs of TiTORS iNSiGNiA’s debut album ‘Fair City Riots’ have appealed to me, it has also been a pleasure to devote myself to a full length album of the band that has - unintendently - made me realize that writing about music is something I thoroughly enjoy.
You might conclude now that I’m slightly biased in respect to the band’s music and I won’t deny that I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity @sqrpig and TiTORS iNSiGNiA have granted me by putting trust into my ability to write a decent and pleasing review for the Sty Rockin' Charts. And yes, this experience has influenced my view on the band’s music indeed, but let’s face it: objectivity in its pure sense doesn’t exist. Every writer strives to be as objective as possible yet can’t absolve himself of being subjective to some point. One’s style of writing might be affected by personal music taste, by somekind of background story or by one’s approach to and attitude towards music. Whilst reading my articles you surely have noticed that my passion and enthusiam for music shows through plainly visible, it’s what makes the reviews, the depiction of bands and reliable music sources [e.g. @sqrpig’s Sty Rockin' Charts, @DrcBones music show, @CultureCityTV (liverpool centred music/art/culture coverage) - articles about the vast institutions that provide and support the music I enjoy listening to, are planned, hence watch out for those] subjective, still it’s what defines carpe carmina. And I wouldn’t change anything about it. As mentioned before, I try to capture a band’s/musician’s sound in a candid way but I can’t and actually don’t want to hide my affection as it’s what breathes life into my description and estimation. To be honest: the music TiTORS iNSiGNiA present, doesn’t need to be polished and praised through my choice of words, through scenic illustration, it speaks for itself. In a authentic and acute manner. Hence let it be heard.
TiTORS iNSiGNiA do not only prove a great sense of music by offering a varied and complex compilation of songs on ‘Fair City Riots’, they do also showcase an unaltered and enthralling sound which is distinctive of dynamic drum (Ste Swift), thrilling and skillfully staged guitar (lead guitar: Rob James, rhythm guitar: Stu Oggy) and emphatic bass (Peter Murphy) cooperation, and also marked by powerful vocals (Stu Oggy), at times edgy, at times rather soft in sonority yet constantly bearing a raw and sharp timbre. The band knows that the music genre they shine most, is pure and intense Rock’N’Roll, a tribute and revival to classic rock anthems, and that’s why their music is convincing to such an extent. It shows that the band members are experienced and firm musicians and that their overall sound is an established and expressive one, a sound TiTORS iNSiGNiA can identify with, moreover a sound TiTORS iNSiGNiA feels comofortable with. It’s this confidence and charisma that wins the listener over, that has convinced me the very first time I listened to the band’s music.
There’s something notable and distinctive to mention in respect to every song of TiTORS iNSiGNiA’s debut album ‘Fair City Riots’ - may it be a striking instrumental moment, a fascinating vocal performance or a prime tonal/lyrical arrangement. ‘Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind’ for instance depends on grungy and brisk vocals, as well as on its keen presentation, and so does ‘Playing With Fire’. The latter makes its mark additionally by staging an authentic, genuine and inviting intro, authentic and genuine due to the scratchy sound of the amplifier that soon mingles with energetic and resounding guitar riffs, inviting due to the impressive and to a certain extent cocky, means forceful, vocals. It’s these cocky, eccentric vocals that make ‘Fair City Riots’, the album’s third track, excel, it’s the unaltered and firm drum intro of the song that makes it shine. And it’s the same with ‘I Don’t Love You’: a short but sweeping drum intro, expressive and trenchant vocals. Yet it’s undeniable that TiTORS iNSiGNiA also put forward rather melodious and light, not all too forceful and impetuous songs which impress with a clear and prominent vocal performance. Prominent by all means: Stu’s voice resounds in a mellow and melodic manner on ‘A Town Called Yesterday’, yet the timbre is indisputably raw and rough. To spot the obvious: ‘A Town Called Yesterday’ is the most conformed song of the band’s debut album, it reveals pop music traits with its catchy lyrics and its focus on a winsome and euphonious brigde and chorus. Light and gentle vocals too characterize both ‘Lonely Girl’ - remarkable in particular due to a string section intro - and ‘Set In Stone’ which embodies the motive of ‘carpe diem’, of making the most out of one’s decision-making-power. With ‘Timewaster’ and ‘The Chancer’ the band concentrates on dominant and notable guitar riffs as the instrumental intros of the compositions explicitly show. The grand guitar sound is enhanced throughout both songs, whilst ‘The Chancer’ depicts a noticeable compositional structure: there’s is an assonant instrumental and vocal intro and outro, complemented by a drastic change in pace that is emphasized through an eccentric vocal performance in between the intro and outro of the track. ‘Bring Me Back Alive’ is introduced to the listener with a guitar intro as well, yet it’s an more ambient sound as acoustic shades shine through. However, the instrumental arrangement is laid-back, the vocals are at the center of attention. And they satisfy with strength and soul. The last track on TiTORS iNSiGNiA’s musical debut, is a stand out one: ‘Freedom Fighter’ is presented in an acoustic style, is prominent due to mellow and emotional vocals which raise and rise throughout the entire composition and thereby distinctly and firmly pronounce the song’s message: it’s a homage to those who have served their country well, a tribute to brave and devoted soldiers.
‘Why can’t we just [...] speak our minds, write it down in a song’ - TiTORS iNSiGNiA have done so in a genuine and heartfelt way not only by composing ‘Freedom Fighter’ [whose proceeds go to ABF Soldiers' Charity (@Soldierscharity (soldierscharity.org), the Army’s National Charity since 1944) and whose official video launch takes place on Aug. 22nd at the Cinema Bar on Duke Street (St. Helens) and honors local veterans such as Andrew Reid and other ex soldiers] but also by releasing a well elaborated, thoughtout and complex album, distinctive and varied in sound, expressive and considerable in its message and meaning.
TiTORS iNSigNiA - Fair City Riots (release: 5th January 2012)
01 Out of Sight, Out Of Mind
02 A Town Called Yesterday
03 Fair City Riots
04 I Don’t Love You
05 Lonely Girl
06 Playing With Fire
08 Set in Stone
09 Bring Me Back Alive
10 The Chancer
11 Freedom Fighter
|Album cover draft|
|Charity single 'Freedom Fighter' (artwork)|
Mark it on your calendar: Charity event ‘Video release for ‘Freedom Fighter’’on August 22nd (https://www.facebook.com/events/527459093992709/ ). See TiTORS iNSiGNiA perform an acoustic set at the Cinema Bar on Duke Street (St. Helens) and show tribute and respect to veterans and ex soldiers. It’s a good cause, hence attend and make sure to pre-order ‘Freedom Fighter’ (on all digital download sites) as the entire proceeds go to ABF Soldiers' Charity.
Update: The charity event has made a mark and difference for those who have bravely and genuinely served their country, now it's your turn to acknowledge and honor the deeds veterans and ex soldiers have done to speak up for their beliefs, to protect the ones they love, to defend their country, in conclusion to defend their homes: do so by watching the official music video for ‘Freedom Fighter’ - a commendable tribute of TiTORS iNSiGNiA - and by purchasing the single afterwards (as mentioned before ALL PROCEEDS GO TO ABF Soldiers' Charity). So what are you waiting for? Watch the video, do a good deed by purchasing ‘Freedom Fighter’ and enjoy impressive music by inspiring musicians!
The band's second album is currently in the making, so watch out for new, notable and striking songs.
TiTORS iNSiGNiA - Beg, Plead & Pray