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Reviews Of Singles Released This Week, 9/8/2004

Up this week are Kealer, Charlotte Hatherley, Keane, Fierce Girl, Natasha Bedingfield and dEUS, amongst others, but that first one was left over from last week but such is what happens when the press release gets lost amongst order forms for a trade show in Norway. Kealer, who is only singer/songwriter Jason Kelly, would have us believe that his home life in Manchester was brought to a swift end when he was discovered as a male stripper, thus capping a life spent rebelling with the usual assistants of drink, drugs and minor crimes.

Why then, choose something as inoffensive as Godley & Creme's Cry with which to trail his forthcoming second album? This version is no better than the original with Kelly putting in much effort for little reward as he heaps on the sensitivity with a shovel. The B-sides - Out Of A Son and Remission - are little different from the A-side and there's the video for Cry, directed by Kevin Godley as a bonus. You could always just buy a best-of Godley & Creme, where you'd at least get Under Your Thumb, maybe even 10CC's Dreadlock Holiday and I'm Not In Love but, if you must, buy from Amazon.

Similarly, Charlotte Hatherley's Summer was left over from last week but, as we reviewed the album instead, we can bump this until now. This is swaggering, strutting pop in the verse but suffers from doubts in the lyrics of the chorus when it goes all minor-key. Hatherley's album is a joy, though, and this, complete with a drunken piano in the second verse, is one of the album's highlights. B-sides Commodore and S.M.U.T. are brittle rock and spiky noise/rock, respectively, with the latter being a take on Grey Will Fade's Stop for kids. Buy it from Amazon or just get the album instead, Grey Will Fade is well worth it.

Keane are safer than bricks and mortar and this is yet more quiet, piano pop of the sort that Coldplay would think twice about releasing in case further accusations were thrown against them about recording music 'for bedwetters'. Surely, most people who'd be inclined to buy this already have the album but, if that's not the case, you can buy this from Amazon. There are a couple of B-sides on the CD single - Something In Me Was Dying and Untitled 2 - and the animated video for Bedshaped but other than remembering that the chorus has a bit more life about it than the usual Keane release and there's a few seconds at the start with guitar feedback, there's not a lot to remember.

There was a rumour put about years ago that girl band Vanilla - "No way, no way...m'na mna", was the closest they got to a tune - was the result of a bet between two record labels to see who could get a chart placing with the worst song imaginable. When Fierce Girl's Double Drop begins, there' a flashback to the five deeply unattractive girls of Vanilla as Scott and Greg bark out lyrics that could be called rap if it had come about from kicking out time at Working Men's Clubs in the north of England and not in the streets of New York. Odd how they should mention Kat Slater as being part of the Fierce Girl world as this sounds like nothing as much as had the Slater family been squeezed into Burburry and herded into a recording studio with Charlie and Mo on 'vibes'. Buy it from Amazon but if you're that desperate to spend your money, give to the relief agencies working in Sudan and do some good with it.

Not even were he my father would I cite Billy Ocean as being one of the biggest influences on my life as I'd feel it necessary to temper any love that I had for the man with the knowledge that he'd recorded When The Going Gets Tough (The Tough Get Going), the video of which, showing Danny DeVito and Michael Douglas wearing tatty white suits and singing backup, is etched on my memory as only something that terrible can be.

You can't help but conclude that, on reading Cherie say, "He really did make some amazing songs", that No. 1 is no more likely to leave a lasting and positive impression than the hangover that invariably follows a night on the whiskey. Over a slight Latin rhythm, a pop r'n'b sound and an acoustic guitar that enjoys occasional backup from electric, No. 1 has Cherie singing, post-breakup, about how she's only going to be looking after herself from this point on. Despite the tired sound, she doesn't much sound as though she means it but that, to keep up with fellow Jive artists Britney, Justin and Eamon, that she sass up her sound. The b-side, Circles, isn't that much better but there isn't the same con in the sound. Both, though, are funky as Caribbean Queen and just as pleasant a listen. From Amazon...

I feel as though I've heard enough of The Calling to last not only this lifetime but another and although Things Will Go My Way is more of the soft rock that you'd expect should you ever have heard II or Our Lives, it's better than anything else I've yet heard from them. There's a couple of B-sides on the single - When It All Falls Down and the original edit of Things Will Go My Way - but there's so little passion here that you'd be better spending your time trying to hone your everyday breathing skills. Amazon have it for sale, as they do the album but expect the sales of The Calling in his country to be negligible compared to the business they'll do in the US, where whole arenas will gently shake a well-cushioned butt at the slow rock of The Calling.

After Kealer, Keane and The Calling, Kristian Leontiou is just what I need...more gentle rock. Ain't it a good thing that I started listening to these records with a clear mind, a packet of Pro Plus and a crate of Red Bull. Actually, Shining was one of the best songs on Leontiou's album, Some Day Soon, although there is much of David Gray about it, particularly the strong pop-influenced chorus and strides out against the subdued verses. With Shining, Leontiou fully deserves being added to the Radio 2 A-List but, depending on your point of view regarding the uncomfortable shuffling in of thirty- and fortysomethings amongst Wogan, that may not be complimentary. Once again, you can buy this from Amazon but with an album of similar songs available for only a little more money, Some Day Soon is the better buy.

Natasha Bedingfield's debut release was Single and although I haven't been that since John Major was still Prime Minister, I liked it plenty, in spite of her being Daniel's sister. There's an album, Unwritten, due on the 6th September but this single, These Words, is released today and following a cracking first few seconds, this goes wrong faster than putting a monkey into an F1 racing car. The chorus is high pop but it's missing the confident strut of Single, particularly in the weak verses that search in vain for a tune. Amazon will have it on sale from today but this isn't a patch on Single.

This summer sees the return of dEUS to playing live and last Monday saw the release of If You Don't Get What You Want as a download-only single taken from their recent album sessions. Available from the band's website - www.deus.be - this is a gritty rock song that hints at pop and stands out amongst recent releases like The Futureheads and the Ordinary Boys. The basic sound - guitars, bass and drums - are nothing special and nor is the song, really, but it pulls together in ways that many other releases don't and if it's only a pound or two from www.deus.be, it's worth it.

Not a great week but there's a 3xCD Jah Wobble best-of from Sanctuary coming up soon (review on Thursday) and we'll try to fit in reviews of The Fall albums from the same record label as well as a review of the excellent Shaznay Lewis album.

Last updated: 15/06/2018 11:51:20

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