Singles round-up: 10th March 2014

Can't sleep. Night sweats. Disturbing dreams. Maybe I should see a doctor? Or, really, do I just need to come to terms with the fact that, after a few years dodging duty, I'd once again volunteered to take a turn at the weekly singles round-up? Memory suggests this became a chore, but how bad can it be?

We get off to a solid start. With renewed interest in the work of Neneh Cherry, I wonder if Trudi Dawn Smith's 'No Pop' might pick up some plays as a result. Blending a late 70s, dubby soundscape with a distinctly London 2014 vibe, this is just different enough to immediately catch the attention.

Falling under the spell of the Arctic Monkeys' AM was pretty easy, but you know what? It wasn't necessarily a great singles album. As a late night, wind-down affair it continues to hit the spot, but on the jukebox or on the radio? Not so sure. 'Arabella' doesn't change that sense; it's moody and sultry and rather fine, but as a single, unnecessary.

It's been such a long time since I knowingly heard a Reverend and the Makers number, it's hard to know whether 'The Only One' is a surprise or not. Critical darlings they may not be, but they sustain a following - and I learn there's still obviously a market for 90s rave-influenced indie.

Remember when every town had a band that wanted to be Oasis, even years after when that seemed like a good idea? Nowadays, there are still bands who look to Up The Bracket for the bulk of their inspiration, with Dexters being the East London band cornering that bit of the local scene. So far, they've done enough to secure Peter Crouch as a fan. Bet he doesn't have any issues seeing the stage at gigs.

Not everyone would flaunt One Direction writing credits in public, but everyone needs a hook, and for Fiona Bevan, that's enough to at least raise the eyebrows of cynical old hacks like yours truly. Inevitably, her debut single 'The Machine' has nothing to do with Harry and his pals, instead being a restless, folk-flecked affair that is well-arranged yet may have you wondering whether there's any more room in your life for this ... stuff.

Which brings us neatly onto Morrissey & Marshall. Not the Moz/Eminem duet you'd always secretly hoped for, but two punchable young men who can carry a chorus, but take the notion of 'innoffensive' into the stratosphere. The Melodic's 'On My Way' is orbiting the same space station and, well, I don't like it. We don't need another punk rock, but there's an argument to say that if you see an acoustic guitar and have a brick handy, then throw it. Enough already. Fuck's sake.

And breathe.

Anyone who mentions Fleetwood Mac in their press release usually gets binned even before they hit the CD player. Lapland somehow got through the sifting process, and while 'Where Did It Go' has that pleasant, driving slowly across America thing going on, I have no time in my life for pleasant music. Sitting on the couch, staring at the wall with the cat on my lap is pleasant. Why would I spoil that moment with music?

Single of the Week

There are only two rules in this house: thrill me or chill me. The problem with much of what's going on up there ^^^ is that it does neither. Young Romance, simply by dint of their name, have the pulse beating measurably faster already. "You know I want to change but when I do I just trip and fail." If YR split up tomorrow (because young love so rarely prospers) at least they leave 'Pale' behind to say they were here - 120 seconds of timeless indie pop thrills that just screams 'Play me again! And again! And again!'

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