Sunday, April 18, 2010

Greetings all. If you happen to be reading this from an airport internet connection in a faraway land because you can’t get a flight home thanks to the clouds of volcanic ash – stop your whining and enjoy! What the jiggins are you reading this shit for? Get back to the pool! The rest of you, bring in your washing and your pets, seal the windows, ready the inhaler and enjoy the Single Reviews...

First up is Shakira, whose celebrated psychosis is more than evident in the barmy Gypsy. Early listens would suggest it to be a summery ballad with a Middle-Eastern flavour, and fairly inoffensive as far as this loon goes. However, it plays host to one of the worst metaphors ever used in song (Sandi Thom still holds the crown) and is further proof – as if we needed any – that Shakira is utterly fucking crackers.

Next on the chopping block are 3OH!3, whose apparent goal to induce a cringe in every human being with access to modern technology is going swimmingly. While Starstrukk at least had some guilty pleasure infectiousness attached, Don’t Trust Me – and in particular, its shameful video – is a work of utter embarrassment that cements them as little more than a heterosexual Fierce Girl.

A slightly more positive review comes in the form of our Single of the Week, which is bestowed upon the very worthy Kelis. The haunting, hypnotic trance of Acapella is an intriguing new direction which matches her smoky, dark vocals nicely. An instant classic, it’s up there with Caught Out There, Get Along With You and Milkshake as one of her greatest offerings. Now if she could just get off her arse and do some promotion, she might get the commercial acclaim she’s more than capable of.

And finally, Hot Chip, a band who can always expect a warm welcome on these pages, except for when they release something we don’t like. Thankfully, I Feel Better ticks enough boxes to get a thumbs up, marrying lush strings with busy house rhythms, and the uniquely eerie quality only Hot Chip can provide.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Single Reviews 12/04/10

Welcome to this week’s Single Reviews, and hey, aren’t we getting better at this regularity lark? Now, you won’t have failed to notice that this week has seen a momentous decision made that will affect us all come May, and provide us with some tough decisions of our own – yes, Simon, Kara, Randy and Ellen opted to use the Judges’ Save on American Idol. Who says politics is boring?

Opening on a positive note, it’s Kate Nash. Arf! Just kidding of course, we still think she royally blows. That said, Do Wah Doo isn’t anywhere near as appalling as some of her more criminal singles, but still boasts enough Mockney whinging and lumbering lyrics to deal a fatal blow to the quality production, which still remains her greatest asset.

Lostprophets present another winner in the form of For He’s A Jolly Good Felon. While the breathtakingly good Darkest Blue might’ve been a wiser single choice (and fingers crossed, still might be), it’s an upbeat, exuberant contrast to Where We Belong. And it also begs the question: at the risk of sounding as sycophantic as a Chris Moyles Breakfast Show hanger-on, is this band actually capable of making a bad record?

In fact, Lostprophets are only trumped this week by the widescreen brilliance of Science of Fear, a substantial portion of musical paradise from The Temper Trap which dulls even Sweet Disposition into near-insignificance. It’s tracks like this which, aside from earning them Single of the Week on these fair pages, pave the way for them to snap at Muse’s heels as stadium-ruling rock pioneers.

And finally, perhaps the most polarising contestant in UK talent show history, Diana Vickers, with her debut release Once. Intentionally-ditzy, mildly-cerebral, girly pop, it’s pleasant enough but nowhere near as unique as the lady herself. And, while Diana’s individuality should no doubt be celebrated, to these ears, it still sounds like a choir of Clangers singing through a pair of tights.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Single Reviews 05/04/09

It's rather worrying to consider we've reached April, and this is the first Single Reviews we've actually gotten around to doing in 2010. Meaning the last time we brought you the Single Reviews was in the run-up to Christmas, and it's now Easter. At this rate, expect the next instalment to be sometime around Halloween.

Paramore are up first with, somewhat surprisingly, a rather decent acoustiballad as opposed to another hefty dose of trite, stage-school rock. The Only Exception is predictably polished and shamelessly overemotive, but its gentle strum and engaging melody make for a welcome display of talent from a band who previously felt more like a fictional Disney garage band than Kerrang-gracing post-rock champions.

A band snapping at the heels of both Ash and Weezer in terms of consistent brilliance, We Are Scientists scoop a piss-easy Single of the Week with the superb Rules Don't Stop. Marked clearly with the stamp of recognisable excellence we've come to love from Keith 'n' Chris whilst simultaneously boasting a fresh, novel edge, things bodes incredibly well for third album Barbara.

It's already blindingly obvious that serial shark-jumpers Xenomania have left the halcyon days of early Girls Aloud long behind them, but their spiral into utter pigswill is almost unfathomable. As if the dire Mini Viva weren't bad enough, dead-eyed nothingfest Alex Gardner continues the trend with the uninspiring gorgonzola beigeness of I'm Not Mad. It's genuinely depressing to think this is the same production outfit responsible for Sound of the Underground.

And closing proceedings - but by no means the headline act, bless her - is Sabrina Washington, presumably hoping to cash in on her appearance on ITV1's Jungle of Irrelevance with debut solo single OMG. There's a fundamental problem in that her impressive vocal contribution to Misteeq was nicely balanced by Alesha Dixon's lunatic MCing, with no such pay-off here. Still, it's all good fun. Enter!
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