Sunday, July 27, 2008

Single Reviews 28/07/08

Well, whaddya know? We’ve actually managed to throw together something resembling a post without the computer going tits-up for the squillionth time in a month. And what perfect timing - with the weather finally pulling its finger out, no-one’s going to be in to read it. Bah! Nevertheless, we present to you this week’s Single Reviews

Much as McFly were the official baton-takers from Busted, and Westlife were the approved Boyzone replacements, it seems Girls Aloud are planning ahead for their departure with the introduction of The Saturdays. We don’t fancy their chances much, truth be told. Tepid, vacuous and all kinds of beige, If This Is Love suggests they have an impossible job ahead if they want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with girl bands that actually put some thought into their material.

The Pigeon Detectives continue to pull a Scouting For Girls, in that they’ve somehow managed to forge an entire catalogue out of just the one tune. Everybody Wants Me is unmistakeably Pigeon Detectives, sure, but unfortunately it’s to the point that you actually consider whether it’s a postmodern spoof of their previous singles. We hereby invite you, Pigeon Detectives, to think OUTSIDE THE FRICKIN’ BOX.

And finally, we come to our Single of the Week. Take a three Irish rock musicians - in this case, The Script - and fling ’em headlong into a skipful of A-list R&B producers including Rodney Jerkins and N*E*R*D. However, rather than the hackneyed blue-eyed soul one might expect from such a collaboration on paper, The Man Who Can’t Be Moved boasts a rare balance of melody and grit, without any indulgent urban cliché detracting from the musicianship. Bring on the album, srsly. Kthxbai.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Honking Box Review: Bonekickers

Yes, we know. Big hefty delays and a hideous lack of updates, yadda yadda yadda. Again, blame PC World. We’re this close to digging out a decade-old PC from the attic, seriously. Which is kind of apt, really, given that we’re about to tear strips off BBC One’s new archaeological ‘drama’, the frankly astonishing Bonekickers.

Running like an hour-long French & Saunders sketch rather than a gritty, thought-provoking prime-time drama, Bonekickers proved itself from the outset to be a colossal stinking pile of the greatest kind of horse shite. Shit that glitters, if you will. Boasting a selection of the most embarrassing dialogue ever uttered on the Beeb coupled with some truly wooden performances, Bonekickers is, on paper, plain awful. Yet the entire milieu of Acorn Antiques ropeyness and out-and-out lunacy actually achieve a result which is quite the opposite.

Where the awful Robin Hood shoehorns issues of today into a virtually unwatchable am-dram shambles (the next series features an increase in knife crime amongst the teenagers of Worksop, and the Sherriff jumping a queue in the market to be the first to get his hands on a Ye Olde iPhone 2.0), Bonekickers gleefully avoids such desperate attempts at credibility or superiority. Take last night’s episode, for instance – Julie Graham’s character descends into a hidden cave, delivering a line about how ‘these walls have never before been illuminated by electricity’. A line delivered with poignancy and raw emotion, and presumably a whole lot of sniggering from the writing team.

This same cave was additionally the location for a number of phonecalls, without a single concern relating to loss of signal until the brave buffoons were a good mile underground. The same cave where it was discovered Boudica got all horizontal with a Roman soldier, prompting Ben to comment “A Roman 4 an Iceni”, shamelessly reducing what would be Britain’s most significant historical discovery to mere txt-speak. In fact, Bonekickers disintegrates the very idea of historical accuracy with a big goofy smile on its face. Even Primeval’s conception of brand new dinosaurs with three heads and built-in laser beams seems more plausible than some of the facts uncovered by Bonekickers’ merry band of mystery-hunters, who themselves carry frightening parallels with the core cast of Scooby Doo.

Elsewhere, the ongoing story arc relating to the enigmatic sword is just plain awkward. At least the narrative threads that run through a season of Lost or Doctor Who carry a degree of subtlety to them – Bonekickers, on the other hand, stands atop a tall building wearing fluorescent colours, yelling “HEY MOTHERFUCKERS!! It’s all leading up to this sword business, you know!” through a megaphone.

And yet, these all add up to what makes Bonekickers so horrendously amazing. Not since the hallowed perfection of Sunset Beach has any show pulled off so-bad-it’s-good to such genius effect. Whether it actually attempts to do this is another matter altogether – it’s hard to believe that BBC One would spunk money up the walls on a hi-def drama that ticks every box a sitcom should. So fingers crossed, for the sake of comedy, they won’t ever actually realise.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Single Reviews 07/07/08

We’re back! And Christ on a bike, have we developed a hatred for technology. And fucking PC World. We’d apologise for the stoppage, but frankly, we feel more deserving of an apology ourselves. So, if any of you happen to work for the unqualified scumfest that is PC World, please feel free to get in touch with some resolute grovelling. The rest of you can read the Single Reviews

We kick off on a positive note with our Single of the Week, which comes courtesy of N*E*R*D. The pleasantly bizarre Everybody Nose does give away the farm somewhat, and once again raises questions as to how they can create such masterpieces for other artists but not for themselves. Yet it’s hard not to find something likeable in it, whether the call-to-arms-by-the-tampon-machine chant, the cymbal-tickling beat, or the vigorous swing quality. And much like their greatest productions, it’s a full-on Marmite job.

Next up, two junior constituents of All-American R&B royalty converge for a potentially monster alliance. Specifically, Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown, who unite for the mid-tempo demi-ballad No Air. While it remains a mystery that the seemingly made-for-radio Tattoo never warranted a release, No Air carries a similarly surefire manner about it, if perhaps a tad safe for it.

Another pairing - albeit far less successful - comes via the unlikely coupling of Dizzee Rascal and Calvin Harris. Squidgy, bland tinned disco elbows any iota of quirky grime firmly out of the way, making Dance Wiv Me a black mark on the careers of both parties, with the fungal, atonal, tiresome mutterings of Calvin Harris functioning only to make Dizzee’s barely-bogstandard contribution appear less dire.

Finally, and only marginally less shit than the stodgy stools wrenched out in the previous review, The Kooks undrape yet another folky fuckfest with languid attempts at sunbeams ’n’ smiles. Quite how they think they can pull off a happy tune with such a offhand, aloof manner is lunacy, yet Shine On is the squillionth example of such futility in their short career, and proves they’re as boring as they are undernourished.
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