Tone Puppets
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Tone Puppets

Liverpool, England, United Kingdom | SELF

Liverpool, England, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Alternative Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The Tone Puppets EP"

There definitely is a pleasing originality about the Tone Puppets. Tracks 1 and 2 (Wicked Curse and 2 Days) are both similar in that they employ R n B grooves with spacey guitar riffs with a backdrop of inventive rhythmic flurries. There is an eeriness in the lyrics with harmonies, unlike follow cosmics The coral, Zutons and even early Moody Blues, throughout the EP. The much More down tempo ‘Life’s Test’ is an evocative listen due to some haunting duel Spanish guitar pluckings.

On the superb and powerful closer ‘Indian Kind’ it appears several templar knights members have been teleported over the Atlantic to contemporary America, more specifically the practice room of RATM, for an impromptu jam of sorts. This approach is unusual and this demo may serve useful for them in the future, about where their new honed sound came from. - Good Vibrations Magazine

"Tone Puppets @ LMW"

Having seen this band perform in the same venue a couple of months earlier, I sort of knew what to expect. That is, uniformly logoed polo shirts, songs of a funky psychedelic disposition and a real feeling of 1980’s baggy era ‘Madchester’ flashback. This isn’t to say though that Tone Puppets are mere copycats and comparisons to Primal Scream and their ilk should be seen a s complimentary. In songs such as Wicked Curse and Strange Signs they expertly blend their apparent 60’s influence too (For they do occasionally bring to mind the likes of The Doors and Led Zeppelin) with chiming guitar loops not a million miles away from John Squires melodic wizardry with The Stone Roses.

To this end the bands sound isn’t purely derivative by any means. In a sense they have a trump card in the form of a unique mixture of both Spanish and Eastern influences that resonate through numbers such as Late Nights and Indian kind. This brings innovation to their rhythms and maybe behind some unusual song structures. This gives them a fresh sounding edge and serves to keep the listener guessing. Lyrically they have plenty to offer as well and in respect lead singer Mark Mulhaney does indeed have something of a Jim Morrison about him. Using an upbeat and driven tempo to frame claustrophobic, obscure and sometimes haunting words, their set has an intrigue about it, leading one to think they are perhaps a little more than just a good band.

They have swagger as well and although they don’t particularly stand out visually, Mulhaney does have a stage presence. Now the resident band of The Zanzibar’s Lovely Job night, their distinctive sound ties the night together well and the night can be recommended as time well spent. This regular spot has allowed Tone Puppets to hone their sound and as a result they come over as a very tight and accomplished four piece.

I implore you to see this band if you gat the chance as they have the talent to play to bigger audiences and with any luck will be doing just that soon enough. - Bido Lito

"review of ignore"

The Tone Puppets hail from the legendary musical hotbed that is Liverpool, where they are the resident band at The Lovely Job. Described as a fusion of northern grit and eastern promise they certainly are a curious bunch.

What strikes me first off is the artwork for Ignore which presents a very minimalistic image of a young lady turning away from you, it’s an image one would almost expect to see in a fashion magazine advertising the latest fragrance. It’s an image that also reminds me of The Smiths singles which always portrayed the image of a person in a particular pose, artistic without being pretentious. It may very well be a clever ploy at suggesting reverse psychology; the person is turning away as if to ignore you yet as if to ask can you really ignore this song.

Cover from Tone Puppets Ignore
The song itself begins with a distinct guitar riff and a quite airy vocal melody which reminds me of Tim Burgess’ vocals with The Charlatans, the music meanwhile has a very free-spirited sensual feel to it
similar perhaps to early INXS with its spiralling hedonistic urges. Lying behind the music is a very noticeable backing vocal harmony which has an almost Gregorian chant-like feel to it which really fills out the sound and works well behind the lead vocal.

There’s also a very noticeable progressive feel to this track with it not being in the standard 4/4 time signature it allows the rhythm section to be really creative and allows the guitars the freedom to really
express themselves similar to the work of Jane’s Addiction.

My favourite part of the song is the beginning with its hypnotic guitar hook and haunting vocal harmonies which perfectly set you up for the psychedelic ride that is Ignore. The track as a whole has a very laid
back feel to it, it’s not a big sing-a-long festival hit but it’s without doubt an intriguing song which kept asking me to listen again to see what else I could find.

Life’s Test
This is a very stripped down and simple song compared to Ignore, an acoustic folk song with a
quite medieval feel to it. It’s a song that really captures the imagination, almost taking me inside the heart of a traditional English woodland, again it also has that monastic Gregorian feel to it. Similar to the sound that Fleet Foxes created on their self-titled album it’s also a song that wouldn’t go amiss on Jethro Tull’s Songs From The Wood collection.

However at only 1 minute 49 seconds long, I feel it could have a much greater impact if it were longer. I actually preferred this to the title track because I really felt the vocals beautifully harmonised with the acoustic guitars to create such an “olde world” feel. This musical style is something which I hope the band can expand on and become a bigger influence on their overall sound.

Indian Kind (Killaflaw remix)
This is a track which is not in keeping with the previous tracks yet it still sounds like the Tone Puppets. Present here is the distinct riff and the fuzzed out guitars which can be found in Ignore along with the haunting vocal. However the remix provides an electronic edge to their sound which reminds me a little
of Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails work. There’s a dark almost claustrophobic feel to this track as if it’s a voice in your mind imploring you to follow it’s every command, a Descartian evil genius pulling the strings between your ears.

All in all it’s a pretty mixed bag as far as song writing goes, elements of indie, progressive rock, folk, and electronic breakbeats highlight the bands eclectic feel. I feel that if this band is going to achieve more mainstream success they may have to commercialise their sound slightly in order to reach the masses, a slight compromise perhaps to create that one big hit that bands of this ilk crave. Ignore is an interesting thought-provoking piece of music which will only succeed in intriguing it’s audience and taking
it’s listener on a weird and wonderful ride, I look forward to hearing what else this band can come up with next.

Words by Will Campbell
- musiceyz

"Puppet Masters"

The Tone Puppets are busy lads. Not content with dispensing fizzy, guitar fuelled indie laced with curious time signatures and mathy prog-outs (check out their ridiculously inventive new stuff on Soundcloud) they’re the driving force behind The Lovely Job nights – a reassuringly quality controlled showcase at the Zanzibar.

Oh, and they’re in the export business too: shuttling our brightest musical turns down to that London to increase their exposure. You know, the sort of thing highly paid chief executives of Quangos are supposed to do for a fat salary and expense account, but end up just booking OMD again. They do it themselves. In a mini bus.

Tell us about your Lovely Job nights – what’s the big idea?

I started The Lovely Job because we wanted a night where we could put the bands we liked on the one bill.

I suspect everyone’s got their favourite venues, but The Zanzibar always had the best sound for me. It’s proper old school but with top quality equipment and engineers. You know you’re there to watch bands; you get close to the bands, have a bevvy with them and can feel part of the whole thing.

It was just a natural progression that ‘Tone Puppets’ should be residents of the night, we all have the same belief that you can put on nights with top bands where everyone can get a great deal, bands included.

The night itself doesn’t adhere to one genre, it’s pretty mixed. We’ve had a 30 piece brass band on the same bill as Killaflaw who produce an electro/blues/rock crossover type of sound. It works, if the bands are of a good standard they can hold their own against different genres, within reason.

I wanted a night not only where you get see one or two top acts, but great acts all the way through, justifying the entry fee, which is well worth the effort!

How’ve they been going down?

The nights themselves have been consistently busy for a couple of years now, first year was hit and miss but since then it has been building. Over the years, the quality of the acts are getting better and better.

We also make use of the upstairs at The Zanzibar. At the moment the Mod/Soul night, ‘Uptight’, runs in parallel with live acts and a DJ, it’s bringing a lot of people in. Essentially you’re getting two nights for the price of one.

Tell us about the London based nights?

I’m working with a promoter in London who looks after a few different venues including Monto Water Rats, Cargo, The Bowery etc. People always asked me how to get good gigs in London without having to have a big fanbase down south already, so I decided to try and put on a coach with two bands sharing the cost of hire, per head it works out really cheap. We take a 75 seater coach for both bands and any fans that want to come along…the bands get good exposure and everyone gets pretty messed up!

The idea is to expand and put on coaches for Liverpool bands up and down the country as a type of constant tour of The Lovely Job.

How’s attendance holding up?

It’s going well. The promoter from London puts us on a bill with a few local acts that pull an audience and the bands we bring from Liverpool can pull 100+ between them.

We always get good feedback and the fanbase down south is increasing so the idea is to eventually move to bigger venues.

What about the new material? We love it – talk us through it.

The latest track we recorded was ‘Ignore’ which is up on Soundcloud for free download. We like it because it’s not your typical 4/4 rock rhythm, it’s in 5/4. It gives a totally different rhythm; it’s actually quite funny watching our audience trying to dance to it. Ignore is also available on CD which can be purchased at our gigs.

We have plenty of material to work with heading in that direction, the trouble is finding time to make full songs out of our ideas as we all work during the day. We plan to release another 3-track CD in the coming months following the same format as the ‘Ignore’ CD: two full band tracks and a remix.

What do you think about the Liverpool music scene right now?

The music scene in Liverpool is the best it’s been in a long time, I think. There are so many great bands about at the moment; The Fallows, Owls, Strawhouses, Killaflaw, Bird, Minion TV…too many to mention.

I also think the standard is very high here and that’s good to spur each other on.

You’ve also got Bido Lito magazine and Dave Monks from Radio Merseyside really pushing things on, it all seems to be coming together for Liverpool bands. Hopefully some bands will get the national recognition they deserve.

Who are you listening to?

Col – The sound of Mark and Pete squabbling in practice!

Peter – David Axelrod. The man is largely unheard of. I’ve made it my mission to spread the word of ‘Rod’

What’s wrong with Liverpool now?

There aren’t enough venues dedicated to live performances that don’t demand a fee up front or a fair condition. There are a ton of bars that have bands on but they never feel thought-out. The bars just see it as an easy way of filling their bar with the sound/stage/engineer generally being an afterthought. Bands need to showcase their material on a level it deserves.

What’s right with Liverpool now?

There’s a lot going on in Liverpool at the moment. People have known Liverpool as a place to come to find or watch new and exciting bands in the past and that is coming to the surface again. It’s a great city to be a musician!

There seems to be an influx of people from the local band scene putting on their own nights. With sites like Facebook and Twitter, it’s getting easier for bands to promote their own nights which can only be a good thing I reckon.

With the introduction of Liverpool ONE the city centre has expanded hugely attracting a lot more people, creating jobs and boosting the economy. We have our heritage, but its what’s happening now that matters and will take us forward. - Seven Streets


Ignore - Promo single - airplay on countless radio stations.

Streaming on soundcloud:

Indian Kind
Captain Spacecat
Life's Test
Indian Kind - Killaflaw Remix



Tone Puppets

Tone Puppets originated as a band called Tone Poets, a name inspired by the description of Frédéric Chopin, the original 'Tone Poet', by contemporary critics.

Tone Puppets began stirring up quite a buzz not only in their home city of Liverpool (through their bi-monthly nights at The Zanzibar) but also in London - largely thanks to their efforts in organising a version of the night in the capital and involving some of Liverpool's brightest upcoming acts.

The name Tone Poets eventually morphed into Tone Puppets, which the band settled on in order to evoke the concept of being controlled by the tones and sounds they create onstage.

Once described as being "full of Eastern promise and Northern grit", Tone Puppets have been promoting their latest promo single 'Ignore', which was laid down in a free recording session (won by public vote for Gig Of The Week at Liverpool Music Week.)

Immediately gaining several extremely positive reviews, 'Ignore' is a track that encompasses the unusual time signature elements of Tone Puppets, a strong feature of all their material. Essentially an alternative rock band with eastern influences, they build a layered haunting harmony which makes for a very unique and individual style.

Ignore has already been added to several radio playlists and Tone Puppets have also enjoyed plenty of exposure on BBC Radio 1 Merseyside. Their local success has earned them a loyal fanbase that continues to follow the band down south for their London shows.

As well as headlining their own bi-monthly night, 'The Lovely Job', in Liverpool they have blown audiences away at headline shows at Monto Water Rats in London and are due to headline a show in Liverpool for a promoter as part of The Mean Fiddler group.

The fortchcoming schedule for Tone Puppets is busy - they are due to record their next single in Parr St. Studios in Oct 2011, while a promotional UK tour is planned for early 2012.

The impact the band is having may be due to the fact that they are able to combine their idiosyncratic and original aspects (the shifting time signatures, intricate song structures and strange haunting harmonies) with a feel and attitude that marks them out as having real indie commercial potential.