Singles of the Week: 24th February 2014

I've been round these parts long enough to remember when we used to do these solo missions for the weekly singles round-up. When editorial musings turned to going back to the all-in-one format, memories were fond - as they often are. As I sat in front of this week's bundle though, I remember what a painstaking task it was to be confronted with all the week's goodies in one hit. That is until I recalled how I got through it before: lazy comparisons. So that's precisely what I've done for my comeback.

The experienced ones

This week sees not just one, but two, well known names release new efforts starting with the unashamedly retro 'Carry On' from Lisa Stansfield. Taken from her new album Seven (out now), the track makes full use of Stansfield's strong vocals even if the video is truly awful. Also just releasing a new album (A Flash Of Darkness) is ex-The Bluetones front man Mark Morriss. Blissfully short, 'This Is The Lie (And That's The Truth)' is about as wet as our recent weather.

The cool kids

In order of preference, least to most: When done right, scuzzy rock is up there with my favourite music but when done wrong, you have Cheatahs' 'Get Tight', a track that's anything but and is instead a nondescript, forgettable three-and-a-bit minutes; With beautiful vocals and gentle acoustic strumming, 'St. Peter's' from CHAMPS' debut album Down Like Gold (out now) is certainly a beautiful listen but overall all you can really say is that it's nice. Taken from their second album The Brink (out now), 'Look Of Love' from Aussies The Jezabels has a fabulous euphoric chorus and high-pitched vocals that prove an irresistible combo. Continuing the promise shown by previous single 'Best Friend' and their debut EP, 'Cool Runnings' is a positively dreamy outing from LA-based trio Tashaki Miyaki, underscored by subtle yet captivating strings.

Not my cup of tea

If there's one area of music that's just not for me, it's anything that you can imagine gets played in a club (indie or rock ones excluded). I'm fully aware that's a very generalised outlook, but perhaps I'm just an old soul. I can certainly tell when they hit the notes they're expected too, as both Kraak & Smaak's 'Love Inflation' and Wilkinson's 'Too Close' do, but it just doesn't float my boat and I'm not sure it ever will. In old round-ups, I could hide this in a objective review, but I figured if there was ever the time to just let it all out, it's now.

The folky ones

Remember when the likes of Noah And The Whale and Mumford & Sons burst onto the scene, making folk acceptable again when it was a little against the norm? Not quite like that anymore is it? You need something special to stand out now and on that tough stance, it's what I'll judge this week's batch on. It certainly isn't evident with Feldstar who manage the remarkable task of making the likes of Kodaline sound dynamic with 'Young & Invincible', but Hannah Scott and Matthew And The Atlas fare better with 'The Space In Between' and 'Pale Sun Rose', respectively; the former with a strong, affecting vocal performance and the latter with a neat hook. Best of the bunch though is Lily & Madeleine's delightful 'I've Got Freedom', capturing my heart just with vocal harmonies and percussion. I'm a softie really.

Single of the Week

Perhaps I was being biased when I browsed this week's singles as there was one name that shone out from the start: the TMF-tipped Lowell. But one spin of her debut solo EP I Killed Sara V. proves that sometimes bias can be right. Five tracks of gloriously sharp electro pop-rock, with delicate asides in 'The Bells' and the title track, all held together by Lowell's characteristic vocals. It might be a touch too weird and dark for some palettes but it's perfect for us.

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