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Ursine Princes: Ladies & Gentlemen Winslow P Fufkin's The Jamboree Is Proud To Present The Incredible Ursine Princes New Fangled Compact Disc

Just how frustrating are Ursine Princes? Formed from the ashes of three respected Welsh outfits in 2006, the band seem to have keeping a low profile as their main skill. With no website, a fistful of links online that lead no place in particular, a facebook page that you need to sign in to see (...and I don't do facebook) and a few biographies that are filled with more fanciful nonsense than fact, discovering anything about this band is a test indeed. So far they would appear to have released two albums, the unwieldy named CD this review is for (see full title above, I'm going to go with the abbreviated New Fangled Stereophonic Compact Disc that appears on the spine of this release) and Lost Plunder, which oddly, both seem to have landed sometime during 2012 (not that you'd know from the actual CD or booklet…). Which comes first? Who knows, but best to note that this release features drummer Gregg Stockdale, while Plunder has Phil Jones on percussion duties; the rest of the band made up of Grant Nicholas on vocals and guitar, Alan Kenny on second guitar and David Morgan on bass.

Now none of this would be frustrating in the slightest if Ursine Princes weren't pretty fantastic, but they are. However it'll be little surprise to anyone that only a few souls really know it. If you can unearth a live review of this rock n roll outfit (with a twist), then expect to read comments raving about how exciting and accomplished they are, while anyone I've played either of this band's two albums for have immediately come under their spell. Add in that they were originally recommended to me by the ex-reviews editor of Fireworks magazine (and you can only begin to imagine how many albums he used to hear in a month) and you begin to understand my exasperation, because the fact that Ursine Princes remain almost completely unknown is criminal.

Of the band's two releases, L&GWPFTJIPTPTIUPNFCD is probably second best, something more down to just how good Lost Plunder is than any deficiencies to be found here. Nicholas is an expressive, old school singer telling stories with passion, power and a little vibrato, while the manner in which his and Kenny's guitar playing come together is simply sumptuous. In the same way that Drivin' & Cryin' did all those years ago, Ursine Princes refuse to be tempted by flash, or any manner of bells or whistles, instead writing songs from the heart and performing them to the max. There's also a slight correlation between the two bands in the way in which they (on this album anyway) take straight up rock, weave in some country influences of a Southern style and then rather than beef them up, strip them back to be melodically organic splashes of light and colour that thoroughly capture the imagination.

For proof seek out the six part "Lord Of Misrule", a track the ebbs and flows through some clean guitar picking and heartfelt vocals, before a controlled explosion of drums and bass heighten the emotions as harmony vocals and bristling, but always controlled, riffs hit home. "Something About Her" surges and thrusts, a piercing display of fret work galloping at pace, gang vocals adding the shimmers of melody that this band thrive on, while "Traveller Jones" adds a hint of Neil Young to proceedings and "Middle Stump" a hazy atmosphere that becomes more and more heady the longer you live with it. Yet with "Strange Cargo" adding a gritty British take on Americana, "Keep On Moving" living up to its name through every joyous twist and turn and "Monks Of Monte Cassino" providing an almost Latin meets Spaghetti Western flavoured crescendo, this marvellously cohesive exercise in eclecticism delights at every turn.

So yes, Ursine Princes need to raise their profile and get their PR message across in a more bullish fashion. What would help though, would be if we all just went out and bought their albums, and that's exactly what you should do!

Track Listing
1. Something About Her (3:28)
2. Traveller Jones
3. Middle Stump
4. Countryman
5. Lord of Misrule
6. Sunrise
7. Strange Cargo
8. Keep On Moving
9. Monks of Monte Cassino

Added: October 22nd 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Ladies & Gentlemen... at Caerllysi Music
Hits: 1518
Language: english

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