Singles of the week

Andy Burrows
Middle of the road pop-rock seeped in the kind of jaunty melodies also attributed to mum-friendly James Blunt. Andy Burrows has got the vocal capability but lacks any sort of initiative to verge away from a standard radio-friendly sound. 'Because I Know That I Can' is perky and by no means offensive, but the three minutes fly by so quickly that you will have no memory of hearing it whatsoever.

Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny
The high priestess of kook is back with the latest single from her debut album Yours Truly Cellophane Nose, and it is a bit of an odd choice. Those not already familiar with Houghton's music may be a bit puzzled over the strange time shifts and unnerving vocals. Yet, while the eccentricities may feel a bit forced at times, ‘Dodecahedron’ is an interesting, and strangely engaging tune that merits a bit of patience.

New Keane and you'll be happy to hear that it sounds exactly like Keane; pretty melody, sweet vocals, lush arrangement...just what it says on the tin. And the horror-spoof video is pretty cool too.

We just saw Will Young in Cabaret (and he was very good), proof that a few of the old time reality show contestants continue to have long-term showbiz legs. 'The First Time' sees Lemar have a stab at more of an AOR pop sound, and it's no embarrassment at all. If this picks up some radio play - which it should on merit - it could see him add another Top Ten hit to the seven he's already had.

Leona Lewis
One of the few "winners" to carve out a successful, and more importantly enduring, career after winning X-Factor, and Leona Lewis shows why she has lasted with this classy tune. Yes, it's your standard pop-diva "oh no you've gone and broken my heart again" pastiche, yet Lewis' first-rate vocals and believable performance puts it slightly above the norm and the song has a steady hook and energy that pulls you right in. Not bad.

‘Rock and Roll Dandy’ is a weird cross of the party vibes of Foxy Shazam and the stadium bombast of Muse yet, strangely, it works as a fun time blast of pure entertainment. ‘Like A Fox’, however, sounds exactly like Muse at their most irritating and does not bear repeated listens. Still, one out of two ain’t bad.

Pistols At Dawn
Gentle, Beck groove with blues-y undercurrents, although the general air is probably Elbow. The video is a comment on the state of Russian politics. Worth a nose on that basis alone.

Seye is the younger brother of Metronomy's Gbenga, but don't hold that against him. 'Mexican Bounce', Seye's second single and first since signing to Mercury, is a wonderfully cool pop effort; appropriately bouncy and full of life, it's an instant pick-me-up and really quite terrific.

Only a tiny piece bit of weird psychedelia in the middle of ‘Every Night I Look Strong’ offers any respite from the mundanity of this double a-sided debut of twanggy guitar indie that fails to set the pulses racing.

Single of the Week

With their excellent track 'Empire' used by Sky for their Boardwalk Empire adverts, Alpines are a duo on the rise and their four-track EP Early Hours showcases exactly why. The combination of Catherine Pockson's strong, haunted vocals and the ice-cool synths proves irresistible, not least on opener 'Got Me Wrong' which proves the duo can do upbeat electro dance/pop alongside the moody brilliance of their earlier efforts. On the basis of this EP, there seems to not be a lot that the duo couldn't do.

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