Randay

Without wanting to cast bull-china shop aspersions off the bat, dealing with emotional abuse is more often than not, a difficult ordeal for those affected, but it’s a far more common place subject matter in music than most realise. Arguably the most famous song on the premise, Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive, a classic, near four minute disco romp, detailing the breakdown of an abusive relationship an unknown female character found herself in before finding the strength within herself to leave the perpetrator, is considered timeless as no doubt its chorus will be forever etched on the walls of the musical Pantheon. Its optimistic tones and grandeur made this such an uplifting listen, that in some respects, it could be considered easy to forget the subject matter entirely. Just as famous an example, widely acknowledged to be one of the most misinterpreted songs ever, is The Police’s Every Breath You Take, a portrayal of a stalker-type obsessive whom claims ownership over their past lover, never allowing them to move on. The calm, soothing demeanour of its music, along with the misconstrued lyrics of Sting’s impassioned croon has oft been taken as to be a love song for decades, before being publicly debunked by the Police frontman himself. In that respect, thank goodness for pop artists of the new millennium, such as Ke$ha, whose titanic but transparent ballad Praying released this year, brought to life the torment and nightmares faced under her captive producer, after arduous legal proceedings and years in the media spotlight for this reason alone. While currently building a loyal following of his own, Montreal pop sensation Randay is taking the same page from his contemporaries and making the message loud and clear, as well as highlighting another tale of emotional abuse in the process.

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Putting aside the lyrical content for just a moment, Manipulation serves as an impeccably produced electronic pop number that teases crossovers into the EDM and electronic house forays, all to give his sultry charm room to soar. Repeatedly plucked guitar chords, with a very marginal overdub of synth open up the song, give it a cooling ambience, a calm mood and a steady tempo, as we then phase shift into the song’s main body. Enter a realm of pounding bass pulse, dampened hand claps and understated but beautifully layered synth harmonies that bulk out an otherwise minimalist atmosphere, that all lend themselves to Randay’s honeyed tone marvellously. There’s a small touch of hi-hat added to the mix as the verse progresses and a slight delay on the vocals, on which the echo sounds particularly effective against the beat, utilising the less-is-more approach well on a primarily vocal-heavy song. However it is at the chorus where Manipulation is at its strongest. Where once Randay had a lot of vocal processing on previous tracks, stripping the first chorus down to almost entirely vocals, bar delay and some minor ambient synth, has really given his voice a chance to shine on its own merits and it makes the chorus and its hook all the more memorable for it. Quickly building up the drop underneath the vocals, slyly introducing an acoustic guitar amongst the claps and keys, brings a short rush of excitement as you feel a gear shift about to transpire. But while the music doesn’t quite burst with the bombast you would expect from a modern dancefloor filler, the subdued nature of the drop actually fits really well with the overall tone of the song, whilst still having a beat and a bassline for even the most casual of club goers to move to. Throughout, there are little tweaks, production effects and instrumental additions so subtle, you’ll barely notice them at first, that make the song feel all the more complete, and there are more moments along the way where Randay’s vocal talents are isolated but ultimately accentuated as a result of intentional songwriting. Manipulation’s climax brings that memorable chorus hook against the beats, and Randay delivers it with such authority and empowerment, perhaps channeling an inner Gloria of his own, that you begin to realise the potential star power once the music retracts and his voice is left once more on its own, besides the thumping of bass and a melancholic but deeply fulfilling piano chime to close.

Sadly, I was informed that shortly after this song was written, Randay found himself on the receiving end of his own words, and I do extend my sincerest best wishes to him, and hope that he has found peace and closure from such terrible circumstances. But let that take nothing away from what he is capable of vocally, and his ear for piecing together pop music with a punch. Randay has all the tools necessary to become a breakout star and the blossoming process is well under way with the advent of Manipulation; a smartly produced, electronic dancefloor curiosity. with equal parts passion to attitude and a rightful claim for a spotlight to call his own.

Randay is soon to release a brand new track in the coming weeks, having just entered the studio to record vocals for Manipulation’s follow-up. A second album is also due to be announced at some stage in the near future. For everything else currently out including his first album Renaissance and recent remixes of Manipulation, you can find them all at most respectable music retailers.

Can’t get enough of him? Then here’s some social media links to follow for you:

http://www.facebook.com/OfficialRanday
http://www.twitter.com/Elektro_Randay

And if you can’t get enough of what I do either, then you can give me a like, a follow or subscribe to the site using the link below, always appreciated:

http://www.facebook.com/IAmTheSoundshark
http://www.twitter.com/The_Soundshark

And one more thing, if you do feel you are in a place where you feel like there is no escape or nobody to talk to, and you can’t channel your inner Gloria Gaynor, then I urge you to call whomever your local crime line, victim support or mental health charity is. Be brave. The Soundshark has faith in you. You can do it. You can get through this.

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The Lost Skulls

What would you do if you found a lost skull? I guess circumstances would entirely depends on how you came across it. Excavated out of a centuries old archaeological dig? Into the museum you go. Playing video games? Keep it in your back pocket or shoot at it if it attacks you a la Doom. Wanting to give your home a creepy but distinguished look? Damien Hurst would like a word, probably for copyright reasons. Falling out of decomposing bodies because they’ve had their flesh melted clean off from overexposure to ass-kicking hard rock powerhouses? This one’s a little less likely, but it may possibly explain how Quebec’s rowdy five-piece came to be, the psychokinetic energy of a shockingly heavy hard rock band imbued into reanimating their bodies into the formidable band they became. Became because they broke up last year, either from waning energy to fuel their spirits, leaving their bodies to rest or too great an energy, they decided to divide and conquer. Whichever story suits you best really.The discerning fact is this however, The Lost Skulls have an attitude and a remarkably heavy tone that is lacking in a lot of hard rock outfits nowadays. They play hard and fast in the manner of a volcanic eruption, molten rocks showering and slamming anything in their path into dust from a beefy dual guitar gauntlet. The size of the earth-rattling bass and drums underneath only exacerbates the furious temperament further, keeping that intensity and that fire from the skies coming continuously. Plus, who doesn’t have a little time to trash talk while pandemonium is unfolding beneath them? The title track of their Dirty Nasty R’N’R EP certainly does all of the above and more, taking on all competition while hurling magma in every conceivable direction with the force of being hit by a high-performance sports car. While only lasting in their original forms for three years before spreading their scorching wings to plains new, the potential seen here is staggering enough to be unearthed a few years from now, and be displayed on its own merits as a frighteningly fearsome treasure for those who wish to seek it. The Lost Skulls may now actually be lost as a band, but their spirits still indeed live on in their music, past, present and future whatever may come.

Dirty Nasty R’N’R is sadly what seems to be the only recorded output available from The Lost Skulls, but they very kindly have the EP as a free download on their Bandcamp page, or you can also kindly pay for it if you so wish too.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Lost-Skulls/188739837865773?fref=ts