Saturday, September 29, 2007

Single Reviews 01/10/07

As the stinking weather of the past week has been pointing towards, October is upon us. A month in which The X Factor live shows commence, the Spice Girls tickets finally go on sale, and generally a whole heap of pop culture events occur, providing us with masses of potential material to rant about. We realise normal people would probably think of Halloween first. Single Reviews, anyone?

First up, a dose of femmecentric power pop comes courtesy of Aly & AJ. On paper, they’re deceptively tweenesque and throwaway, but scratch the surface and there’s a display of sizeable talent underneath. Potential Break-Up Song is a balls-out, infectious slice of attitude-riddled pop that the Pussycat Dolls would sell their crabs treatment for. Samanda they certainly ain’t.

Given that their last album saw both the best (Dakota) and worst (Superman) singles of their career, It Means Nothing has a tough job heralding the comeback of the Stereophonics. It seems to be seated carefully between the two, an easy-on-the-ears strummer with a wafting melody. Sure, they’re showing their age, but it’s preferable to a painful U2-style defiance of maturity, and pleasing enough to earn our Single of the Week title. Check back for a full review of Pull The Pin in a few weeks…

Ditching the repugnant chanting, the pseudo-political whinging, and the klaxons-where-notes-should-be schtick, you’d think we might lessen our hatred of M.I.A. - however, she’s replaced them with cacophonous McRap and fetid gay disco strings. Jimmy further emphasizes how unmistakably, categorically shit this woman is, in turn raising questions as to why she’s seen as some sort of urban deity. Oh, and she’s from Mitcham, by the way, which is, in no manner, a ‘ghetto’.

Similarly shite but in completely different ways is Kate Nash, whose horrific Mouthwash made us shrivel with embarrassment back when reviewing her feeble Made of Bricks album. Sadly, it hasn’t gotten any better with repeated play, possibly as it still contains the lyrics “I use mouthwash / sometimes I floss”. In the bloody chorus! Where people can hear it! Have some shame, woman.

Finally, continuing their return to top form after the exceptional Autumnsong are the Manic Street Preachers, with the superb Indian Summer. Opening not entirely unlike Design For Life, it’s off to a good start, soon coming into its own as a sweeping, commanding anthem with quintessential Manics aptitude. We really ought to give the album a listen, but the hunt for Spice Girls tickets is about all we can think of right now…

Friday, September 21, 2007

Single Reviews 24/09/07

We’d like to dedicate this week’s Single Reviews to the wonderful Sloppy Dog cohorts Kat ‘n’ Bert, who tie the knot this weekend. Sadly, the release schedule has not thrown up any suitable gems, such as I Do I Do I Do I Do I Do, or Crashed The Wedding, or If My Cunting Cake Doesn’t Turn Up On Time I’m Going To Kill Every Fucking Wanker That Looks At Me. Huge congratulations! *applauds*

Returning to the fray armed with a double A-side this week is Shayne Ward. First up, If That’s Ok With You is a formulaic Nordic mid-tempo-by-numbers, featuring backing vocals from The Chipmunks (or possibly Joey Lauren Adams) and sweet FA in the way of originality. And yet, it’s hard to dislike - what sorcery is this?! Whatever it is, he could’ve done with applying some to No U Hang Up, a sub-Ne*Yo R&B gunger. Still, you’ve got to give him props for achieving a fair amount while his label, management and entire squad shifts focus onto fucking Leona.

The Black Eyed Peas have produced some utter shit in their career. And yet, it’s hard to deny Shut Up and Request Line. So you have to wonder why Will.I.Am is choosing to ride the tidal wave of diarrhoea in the catastrophic I Got It From My Mama, rather than channel the few things he’s actually done right. Clearly, he’s chasing Fergie for title of Cuntiest Pea (although it’s safe to assume that will always belong to dancing skeleton Taboo). Shockingly, shockingly bad.

Katie Melua evokes the sound of a million W.I. meetings in the horrific If You Were A Sailboat. In spite of its title, there’s unfortunately no reference to nautical rough-bird Dame Ellen McArthur. Instead, it’s pure, undiluted Melua - drippy, awkward and tiresome, with those characteristically embarrassing lyrics that induce a feeling of shame for being the same species as her.

Finally, claiming a well-deserved Single of the Week are the Sugababes, who make a triumphant return with the stupendous About You Now. Optimistic, energetic and classy, it’s a perfect example of how to progress your sound (Girls Aloud, take note), with added Amelleness just to underline that change ain’t such a bad thing after all. Except in the case of a shit new haircut, which sadly this week, comes from personal experience. Although it could probably apply to Keisha too, in fairness...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Reverend & The Makers - The State Of Things (Wall of Sound)

It’s been a while since anyone successfully married the exceedingly-unattached genres of dance and indie together. Garbage nailed it briefly before flushing it for good; Bis gave it a fantastic shot, if slightly cutesy for it; the Klaxons, for all their achievements, cannot be forgiven their spray-on red jeans. We won’t even acknowledge Bodyrockers…

So, with the release of The State of Things, the debut album from boorish Sheffield numbskulls Reverend & The Makers, it seems that any triumphant fusion of the two genres is a long way off. As demonstrated by lead single Heavyweight Champion of the World, thumping house beats coupled with wheedling riffs does not a blissful mix make, particularly when saturated with fleapit terrace overtones.

Oafish, clumsy and screaming out for a metaphor, it’s the soundtrack to a million regurgitated alcopops splattering the pavements outside a nightclub in an out-of-town entertainment complex. And yet, the titles alone underline that this is exactly the market they‘re aiming for - Sex With The Ex, 18-30, What The Milkman Saw… it’s enough to induce a shiver of embarrassment on behalf of these dense, discordant fools, and that’s even before you’ve given them a listen.

It just all feels very calculated, with the rock and dance sensibilities sitting very uncomfortably with one another throughout. In effect, it’s one big intentional gimmick. Even the instances where the pace tapers down to a more subued, mid-tempo air, grating bleeps and vocoders are awkwardly stuffed in to keep the novelty rolling.

Reverend & The Makers, in spite of all their links and inexplicable acclaim, have more in common with Ultrabeat than they do with Oasis or Ian Brown. Primitive, inept, hackneyed and incredibly uncomfortable, there’s no place in 2007 for an album as gutless as The State of Things - and what a complete fucking state things are in.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Honking Box Review: Nigella Express

Fucking hell, we absolutely worship Nigella here at The Sloppy Dog. Not only did she introduce us to the ironic ambrosia that is Coca-Cola Ham, but we heart the fact that she seemingly writes her recipes in the style of Chaucer. Sure, it means we have to keep a dictionary handy whilst attempting to prepare St Tropez Chicken, but it's hard not to respect that kind of unnecessary wordsmithery.

But if there's one thing that's reminded us just how unbelievably ace Nigella is, it's her new show Nigella Express. Supposedly a whizz through a wealth of instant dinner solutions, Nigella Express is akin to watching a science fiction show, it's so far removed from normality.

"These are all things you'll have in your freezer," coos Nigella in a tone that makes the M&S ad orgasmo-voice sound like the vocal ship's horn of June Sarpong. "Shell-on king prawns, prime unicorn fillets, platinum-dipped rainbows..."

As escapist fantasy goes, you can't get much better than an untouchable kitchen deity talking you through the whimsical contents of her larder, as though it's the stockroom of a Diagon Alley spellmonger's. Hell, she has a LARDER, for Christ's sakes. That's near-mythological in itself, regardless of the content of it.

Let's not forget that this is a woman who picks up her son from his mate's house in a black cab. Her son who, incidentally, looks like an infant Klaxon. You can just picture Nigella once the cameras have stopped rolling: "Now Bruno, be a darling and take off those preposterous neon skinny jeans. You know Mummy doesn't like nu-rave at the supper table. And do brush your hair - it'd be ghastly should you get Chantilly cream in your fringe."

Seriously, who else on television could talk about entirely habitually about an octopus salad, as though it were a bag of Walkers? And who else could sneak to the fridge in the middle of the night to wrap a lamb chop in a slice of ham - a snack worthy of Homer Simpson - and devour it on the spot, yet somehow make it look elegant?

This is why we heart Nigella. She's not a real person. She's like the greatest sketch show character ever devised, living in a make-believe world of oils and liqueurs and thesaurus-speak. That said, some friends of The Sloppy Dog attended a wedding recently, where Nigella herself had made the wedding cake (a lemon sponge with coconut icing, if you're interested in the specifics). Their review? "Surprisingly average. But Nigella looked immaculate". Ah, Nigella Lawson: truly the stuff of legends.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Single Reviews 17/09/07

Greetings, Sloppy Dog enthusiasts. Apologies for the minimal updates lately, rest assured a full service shall resume shortly. In the meantime, we feel we must address this week’s events, specifically the appearance of a certain female at the MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas. Yes, ladies and gents, Sarah Silverman, Patron Saint of Laughter, who we officially heart. Go Sarah, etc etc. Oh, and Britney? Sort yer shit out, love, there’s a good girl. Single Reviews, y’all?

First up are Peter, Bjorn & John with the ubiquitous Young Folks, which gains an inexplicable re-release this week. Let’s pretend it hasn’t been rinsed to bejesus by each and every radio station and music channel since its initial release. Let’s pretend it hasn’t been used as a soundbed on every factual entertainment show for the past 12 months. Let’s pretend it’s not regularly whistled on scaffolding right across the Western world. Makes quite a good Single of the Week, dontcha reckon?

Proper serious rock band Fightstar bestow us with the proper serious rock anthem We Apologise For Nothing. Hey, it’s almost as if that title is aiming for some suggestion of rebellion! Heaven forbid we’d think this was a talentless, in-bred boyband cuntrag posturing alongside some unwashed session musicians, but of course, that’s not the case because Fightstar are the best band in the world, ever. Their music shall bring about universal harmony. They’re not at all an entire fucking waste of oxygen and Marshall amps, oh no.

Elsewhere, the Foo Fighters apply their unmistakeable sound to new single Pretender to full effect, which frankly is a nice way of saying it’s practically identical to everything they’ve ever put out. By no means bad, but we’d say Foo fans have every right to feel slightly cheated and royally pissed off. Thankfully, we’re not fans, so we’ll politely suggest they get themselves some new ideas.

Finally, what better way to round off a rather negative selection of reviews than with… well, another negative review? But hey, it’s 50 Cent featuring Justin Timberlake - surely you wouldn‘t expect anything less? That said, Ayo Technology is two of the most tiresome artists in contemporary music teaming up for a song about wanking. This shit pretty much reviews itself.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Single Reviews 10/09/07

Well, what a funny old week it’s been, eh? While professional ho-bag Jodie Marsh willingly takes herself off the market and dedicates herself to one sole man, the squeaky-clean Vanessa Hudgens (y'know, her out of the dire High School Musical) gets her flaps out all over the web. Still, in a world where everything appears to be going doolally, at least you can rely on the Single Reviews to be consistently ace…

Claiming our Single of the Week are the Chemical Brothers, with perhaps the most peculiar, uncharacteristic track of their career. And yet, one of their greatest. The Salmon Dance, though easily dismissible as a novelty number, is intensely likeable, pleasantly idiosyncratic, and overall, great fun. What more do you want out of a song?

Pipped to the post for Single of the Week are Ash, although we’re sure they won’t be too bothered, having already won it twice this year. Although it’s more likely they won’t be too bothered by the simple fact they’ve probably never heard of The Sloppy Dog. A blend of hummable harmony, jittery R&B undertones, and a towering rock chorus, End of the World functions just as marvellously as single material as it does being the standout track of Twilight of the Innocents.

Anyone remember Clock? Those of you that don’t, we’ll save you the trouble of bothering Wikipedia - a mid-90’s duo who released a seemingly endless string of horrific dance covers. Well, it would seem they’re alive and well in the form of Booty Luv. This time, it’s Lucy Pearl’s Don’t Mess With My Man that’s given the extreme make-under, reducing it to filler on a Big Mix ‘96 3CD compilation.

Presenting us with another sparkler plucked from the treasure trove that is A Tale Of Two Cities are Mr Hudson & The Library. How such a masterpiece of an album evaded the Mercury judges altogether is beyond us, although given we usually feel the shortlist is a pile of shite, it matters not. Either way, Picture Of You should hopefully educate a few more people of the majestic wonder that is The Library.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Single Reviews 03/09/07

So, a male Alice The Goon who conned the nation into believing he’d never heard of Shakespeare won the most pointless series of Big Brother yet. Hell, that’s almost on a par with someone who plays up to his mental illness and claims his dead friend visited him and told him he’d win the show, coincidentally revealed just in time for the opening of the final voting lines. Roll on BB9! And until then, enjoy the Single Reviews

We begin events this week with a soothing lullaby courtesy of Grace. Having already won us over with the uplifting Slowly, the theme is carried over into Sink Like A Stone effectively - perhaps, if anything, too successfully. Still, better to have two great songs produced from the same mould than making something different for the sake of it. If only the same could be said of the next of this week's singles...

Having finally squeezed the last drops of life out of the same rehashed idea, Girls Aloud are having to dig a little deeper on their newie, Sexy! No No No. Sadly, they’ve seemingly only encountered questionable titles and grammar. And while it appears to be entirely devoid of anything resembling a chorus, points are nonetheless awarded for the gale-force rock undercurrent and the most brazen use of a vocoder since Posh ‘n’ Dane.

Underlining DanceX as the most clueless talent show in televisual history are the as-yet-unnamed Winners Of DanceX Wot Won The Show And Were Bruno’s Team, with the repugnant Dancing In Repeat. A dated, awkward, sub-Sash mess featuring feeble, tinny vocals, not even the presence of in-show luminary Rana can act as a plus point. A future staple of Emap channels Top 20 Reality Losers music blocks.

Single of the Week goes to Hellogoodbye, thanks to the charming, clumsy, dulcet Baby It’s Fact, an effective move away from the Euro-stilton cringe-inducer Here (In Your Arms). Significantly more American, with an almost Wheatus-esque college rawk nuance, yet ultimately, it’s simply a gifted pop anthem.

The Noisettes place their electro-screechery on the back burner to bring us The Count of Monte Cristo, a comparatively dawdling, downtempo number amidst their catalogue of buoyant lunacy. A nice way to punctuate a frenetic album with a quick breather, but not necessarily single material.

Finally, hold aloft your cans of Elnett for the huge-haired metal of Nightwish, whose new single Amaranth nods to the most embarrassing 80’s rock sensibilities without a modicum of shame. Fair play to them, mind - it carries a degree of unaffected sincerity, although you’ve got to wonder who’ll buy it… anyone willing to part with money for this is already bound to have The Best of Bonnie Tyler knocking about.
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