Friday, November 04, 2011

Single Reviews 06/11/11

Welcome to this week’s Single Reviews, in which we not only lay into a selection of the week’s new releases, but also take the opportunity to celebrate the 15th birthday of Spice, the fucking magnificent debut album from the Spice Girls. Bear in mind we’re overlooking Mama when we say ‘magnificent’. But hey, Love Thing more than redresses the balance. Happy Birthday Spice, and a huge thank you to Woolworths on Streatham High Road for providing us with such iconic pop awesomeness (may you rest in peace).

A modest, jovial offering from The Kooks opens proceedings this week, a summery burst of radio-indie much needed in the barren, chilly darkness of GMT. Early listens would suggest Junk of the Heart commands two thumbs up - its simplicity and unpretentiousness make for a plus point on the surface, but further exposure highlights that there’s not much to the song beyond that. So we’ll downgrade it to just the one thumb up, with a side of “well, it’ll do”.

Sort-of-birthday-girl-ish Melanie C makes another push for her sorely-underperforming fifth LP The Sea, with the mature demi-ballad Weak. With its dramatic, emotive sounds and its strong Scandinavian melodies, it makes for a more-than-passable album track, but somehow falls down in its new guise as a single. Perhaps her rather vocal fanbase had a point when they called for Burn to be released. Maybe they should’ve done it more politely...

Having produced the worst record of their career thus far in the shape of the braindead She Makes Me Wanna, it’s time for JLS to head back to safer territory. Take A Chance On Me does the trick with ease, all earnest harmonies and ensnaring refrains and twinkly piano moments. Even though it has hordes of parallels with that whole With You /Tattoo / Irreplaceable crop, it’s still less derivative than She Makes Me Wanna, and nestles down for the Christmas market very nicely.

And finally, Single of the Week is awarded to Hackney/Wexford one-man mash-up and peddler of nu-blue-eyed soul Maverick Sabre. It takes a while before the enchantment of I Need fully takes hold, all jittery vocals backed by a straight-down-the-line shuffle. And truth be told, he still sounds like an Amy Winehouse vinyl played at the wrong speed, but given a bit of effort, something pretty special indeed reveals itself.

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