Sunday, July 25, 2010

Single Reviews 26/07/10

Good evening, one and all, for another healthy dose of bile-spewing, with hapless popstars our moving targets - more commonly known as the Single Reviews. This week's line-up sees an ex-Eastender who once gave our buddy Neelam some grief; a mismatched boyband who look as though Louis Walsh cobbled them together in X Factor Boot Camp, but surprisingly, didn't; and a rapping rocker who used to stick it in Katy Perry. *sets dial to Bile Tsunami*

Attempting a transition from Albert Square to Madison Square Gardens (bear with us – we’ll think of a better one during the week) is Preeya Kalidas. Her previous stab at pop, the awesomely-daft Shakalaka Baby, set the bar high. But sadly, even the urban-skewed arrangements and guest rap courtesy of Mumzy Stranger can’t disguise the fetid cheese, making Shimmy less Michelle Gayle and more Michelle Collins.

The sickening outbreak of Bieber Fever means the market for training-bra dampeners is lucrative once more, and The Wanted are quick off the mark to cash in. In fairness, boyband numbers are rarely as impressive as All Time Low – amidst the clich├ęd squeemaking and colourless lyrics, there’s a mightily strong melody and almost Coldplayesque backing. So while the band themselves are a clumsy mix of goofy plumbers, wannabe-ethnics and trilling foetuses, the music’s – honestly – not all that bad.

And finally, Single of the Week, which is awarded to Travie McCoy featuring Bruno Mars. Quite why Travis chose to alter his name to sound like a Rugrats character is unclear, but little can detract from the soothing brilliance of Billionaire. A touch of Jason Mraz-style sun-kissed strummage, with a Jamaican stopover and a dash of lyrical hip-hop posturing combine nicely to create what will inevitably become the airplay monster of the summer.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Single Reviews 19/07/10

Let’s all take a moment, prior to this week’s Single Reviews, to wish Cheryl Cole a speedy recovery from her NEAR-DEATH experience. Of course, malaria is no laughing matter, but in the hands of the gutter press, it’s become unintentional comedy gold. Almost as funny as her heated affair with 100% HETEROSEXUAL BALLROOM DANCER Derek Hough. Arf.

We start things off with Adam Lambert, and the Pink-penned grrrl-ballad Whataya Want From Me. Carrying such an immediate, identifiable Max Martin sound makes it far from original, but Lambert's impressive aptitude for gut-wrenching breathes new life into the formula, and cements that his forte lies in emotional, intelligent pop-rock rather than glittery vaudeville electro.

And at the other end of the scale, a band who’ve taken themselves far too seriously finally allowing their pop sensibilities to awaken. 30 Seconds To Mars embark on a smartly-riotous, characteristically-epic emo voyage for Closer to the Edge, but on this occasion, they’ve packed themselves a few space-age twiddles and a refreshing dose of modesty. More of the same, please. Kthnxbai.

Single of the Week is awarded this week to Pendulum. The willowy, wistful intro to Witchcraft is – perhaps unsurprisingly – a red herring, soon lambasted by a violent, stampeding instrumental and unstoppable chorus. The intrepid fusion of moshpit and dancefloor could have all gone so horribly, horribly wrong, but Witchcraft further verifies they’ve knocked it out of the park.

Finally, a joke which was never funny in the first place can easily reach 'excruciating' when told again and again. Demonstrating the point are Jedward, whose futile cover of Blink 182's All The Small Things is entirely devoid of a single positive and only serves to fully cement them as utter, utter fuckwits. Roadkill scooped off a motorway and given a record deal would have more relevance, more charm and significantly more talent.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Single Reviews 12/07/10

So, the World Cup is over. Just think, television coverage without the constant buzz of vuvuzelas providing a migraine-inducing soundbed. It’s almost alien to consider, isn’t it? So for those of you experiencing withdrawal symptoms from the uncomfortable, monotonous drone of an annoying plastic phallus, there’s always Kay Burley on Sky News. Anyhoo, Single Reviews ahoy...

Easing us gently into proceedings this week are Biffy Clyro, who drift across into the slow lane for God & Satan, a semi-acoustic, downtempo affair which shines a light on their softer side. Its clever build-up into a stronger, busier crescendo makes for quite an effective narrative, which no doubt will have parallels with their rising – and largely deserved – success.

Scouting For Girls’ descent towards Worst Band Since S Club 7 is reaching light-speed with the sexless, awkward, infantile monstrosity of Famous, an insincere ‘commentary’ on the culture of celebrity. They’re past the point of comical, past the point of annoying, and have even crossed ‘unbearable’ – Famous is concrete evidence that Scouting For Girls are full-on EVIL.

Onto a slightly less negative review before we drown in our own venom, and an agreeable number from Diana Vickers. While Once was good enough at selling her kooky talents, The Boy Who Murdered Love does a far greater job, instantaneous and original with a solid pop core. There’s still nothing remarkable enough to convert detractors of The Claw, but let’s face it, that’d be the stuff of miracles.

And finally, Single of the Week is awarded to Darwin Deez, whose neo-Americana, indie-folk brilliance is rolled out once again on Up in the Clouds. In contrast to the skilfully-screwy Radar Detector, it’s a more mellow, almost more solemn affair, but still very much boasting the same summery twang and unprocessed charisma.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Feeder - Renegades (Big Teeth)

A new Feeder album round these parts often involves a ticker tape parade, or at the very least, the popping/unscrewing of an own-brand bottle of something fizzy. However, their last offering, 2008’s Silent Cry, was arguably the most disappointing of their career – so with the release of seventh studio album Renegades, you’ll forgive us for not having a bottle on ice just yet.

Thankfully, it’s not too far into the record that the promise of greatness makes itself evident – to an extent, anyway. While the solid crunches of opener White Lines, or Sentimental’s effective mix of quiet brooding and commanding, concentrated bass prove Feeder can lead a moshpit with little effort, nothing is on a par with the strong, spritely immediacy of lead single Call Out.

Still, the barbed ballad Down By The River carries the faint air of a Seattle-esque, early 90s lament, and joins Turn, Oxygen and Paperfaces as a demonstration of a band whose downtempo, emotional numbers often outshine the vigorous rock they’re more associated with.



Intelligent lickwork and riffs-a-plenty; that invaluable knack for a killer melody; and Grant Nicholas’ vocals continue to strike a remarkable balance of masculine and tender – it's got all the key ingredients. And for the most part, the results are of a high calibre, but there are instances where things just fall short of the required level of awesome.

A scarily-high number of tracks come equipped with spoken word verses, meaning the Renegades listening experience is sorely peppered with cringes, best displayed on This Town. It's not necessarily bad, as such, but it's just not Feeder – or at the very least, not something that 2010 Feeder can, or should even try to, pull off.

But kudos for the attempt, if nothing else. Renegades is, on all levels, a far more accomplished, brave and stylised album than the beige, uninspired safety of Silent Cry. Feeder’s track record proves they are a band who can assault the airwaves, turn the layman into a front-room mosher, and have festival crowds eating out of the palm of their hand. And while Renegades may not underline this aspect of the band too fervently, it’s certainly a step back towards it, and once again being the Feeder they’re more than capable of being.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Single Reviews 05/07/10

Wow. Two blog posts within a week! We’re spoiling you rotten, eh? You’ll have to pardon the lack of updates – work crap, a house move and subsequent DIY, and the surprise appearance of a summer have meant we’ve fallen by the wayside a tad. But we’ve mustered up some Single Reviews, and to tide you over during those dry spells, why not follow us on Twitter?

Eliza Doolittle kicks things off with Pack Up, a summery, pleasingly-cartoonish, bluesy number. Which, considering her stardom-assured, jazz-handed upbringing (granddaughter of Sylvia “I Haz Skool of Faymus” Young and daughter of sometime Eurovision warbler Frances Ruffelle) actually bears signs of natural, unaffected musicianship and serious potential.

An intense, vigorous helping of scuffed, spiky indie gives Two Door Cinema Club the title of Single of the Week. The toe-tapping verses and knockout chorus of Come Back Home make it every inch the demonstration of a band to keep an eye on – and once the startlingly brilliant Eat That Up, It’s Good For You warrants a mainstream release, prepare for inevitable world domination.

Next up, the pairing of Professor Green and Lily Allen, who clumsily hack away at SOS Band’s Just Be Good To Me for the iffy-at-best Just Be Good To Green (do you see what they did there?! DO YOU SEE??). Much like Fugative, it’s hard to see Professor Green as anything other than a one-man Blazin’ Squad, although at least Green boasts a sense of humour. Well, you’d hope this was a joke, anyway.

And finally, the frankly barking new single from JLS, a song so frickin’ weird even their gymslip squeemakers seem to be questioning the band’s sanity. And yet, it’s hard not to love something about The Club Is Alive – if it’s not the contagious melody or the thundersome beat, it’s the sheer audacity of an R’n’B boyband sampling Julie Andrews and getting away with it. Magnificently, wonderfully shit.
 
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