Singles of the Week
Let's see what singles we have to celebrate the end of summer.
Butterfly Fan The Inferno
‘Am I Predictable?’ is probably not the best phrase to base a song around especially if it is repeated so often that the listener end up banging their head on the desk while screaming ‘Yes, Yes, Yes, You Are, now please stop’. If you can get past that hideousness then ‘Sunset Scavengers’ is a workmanlike but unremarkable piece of straight ahead rock music that isn’t likely to stand up to repeated listens. ‘i Coma’ is a better proposition but only because it lacks a lot of its predecessors irritating traits.
Available in eight(?!) different versions, Example's follow up to number one hit 'Changed The Way You Kiss Me' sees him questioning whether or not it's right that people spend all their money on partying...no, it really does. Joking aside, you're not going to like 'Stay Awake' if you haven't already fallen from Example's charms but thanks to some sharp production from Nero, it does its job as a dancefloor filler with an unsubtle, but big, chorus.
A gorgeous UK debut for Danish star Fallulah, 'I Lay My Head' is chock-full of kooky charm (handclaps ftw) and an interesting blend of instruments, including Balkan style drums and xylophones. It's even more remarkable that while the lyrics are altogether dark - "I lay my head where your heart used to be / Want to forget what your hands used to do to me" - the end result is endlessly entertaining, fun and completely charming.
[b]Kathryn Calder[/b] is probably best known as a member of indie troupe [b]The New Pornographers[/b], her sweet vocals being heard on their previous three studio albums. Her debut solo album is an altogether more melancholic and sparse piece of work, inspired by the two years she spent caring for her terminally ill mother. Such a tragedy may have caused the music to err on the side of gloomy but, for the most part, this is an uplifting celebration of how unpredictable life can be. Moving from the twinkling piano and starlit ambience of opening track ‘Slip Away’ to the guitar screech of the triumphant ‘Castor and Pollux’ and the delicately picked guitars and vocal harmonies of ‘So Easily’, this is a beautiful and emotionally laid bare collection of songs that only the most cold of heart wouldn’t be moved by.
The New Pornographers vocalist goes it alone and with stunning results.
An odd mix of computer game synths and club beats that, against the odds, completely works, 'Witches' Brew' is further evidence that Katy B's Mercury nod was fully warranted. In lesser hands, it would probably have been a bit of a mess but Katy's enchanting vocals, especially as she swoons "come with me, I'll make you feel so good", would seduce even the strongest willed person.
Kraak & Smaak feat. Romanthony
Fans of Royksopp and Daft Punk will recognise the soulful vocals of Romanthony. 'Let's Go Back' never rises above throwaway electro-house, but is catchy and pleasing while it lasts.
After the dark electro pop of her debut effort 'Mirrors' and the excellent, twisted 'Wonderland' had our hopes high for Perfectionist (out September 19th), here comes the entirely generic 'Free', featuring the guest vocals of will.i.am and a tenner to the first person who comes up with anything he actually adds to the whole affair. It's the musical equivalent of a parent saying they're not angry, just disappointed as there's nothing inherently wrong, we just thought that Natalia Kills had it in her to add something fresh to the overcrowded female solo market. Let's hope her debut album proves us wrong.
Pusha T feat. Tyler, The Creator
It's all in the title. This Neptunes produced hip-hop tune is stuffed with drug references, swearing and misogynistic language. Whatever its arguable merits, not one to play in front of granny.
Two pairs of limbs aren’t sufficient for dancing to the chaotic title track, which sounds like it was conceived on a Red Bull overdose. As much as this impresses, 'You Could Be Forgiven For Thinking That' and 'Mimetic' are even better (if undeniably more conventional). The former has that haunting Burial quality, while the latter combines moody Booka Shade-esque minimal with cracking euphoric builds. Debut album eagerly awaited.
Domino presumably know what they're doing, but we're not completely convinced there's much demand for Smith Westerns brand of sugary 70s pop rock. Sure, Frampton Comes Alive was one of the biggest selling albums of all time - but it's also a charity shop regular. 'End of the Night' is a solid enough advertisement for how SW earn their crust, however.
As introductions go, Theme Park's double A-side 'A Mountain We Love / Wax' is up there with the best, showcasing two sides to a truly exciting band. 'A Mountain We Love' is like Friendly Fires with added summer, packed full of endless jaunty percussion and walks the fine line between irresistibly perky and annoying perfectly; while 'Wax' is its melancholic sibling and is just as brilliant with subtle vocal harmonies taking centre stage. Believe the hype.
Single of the Week
In the current world of cash chasing reformations the reappearance of Big Country, with The Alarm’s Mike Peters taking on vocal duties from the late great Stuart Adamson, was by all accounts a rip roaringly enjoyable ride for band and fans alike. Now they have got together with producer Steve Lillywhite for ‘Another Country’ their first single in twelve years and, to my utter shock, it combines the classic Big Country sound with a modern outlook to reveal a joyous song of hope. Comeback of the year? Quite possibly. Single of the Week? Most Definitely.