The weekly edition of singles reviews comes to a close with this explosive ending. Savage. Especially seeing as I quite like Two Door Cinema Club. There should be a return to a (slightly less provocative) monthly version from March.
Words: Kieran Toms
Bombay Bicycle Club - Evening/Morning
One criticism sometimes levelled at Bombay Bicycle Club is that they don't do much new or ambitious. Perhaps this is true. And to underline that point, this is a re-release. But what they do do is lovely. I think that the little riff before the chorus is terrific, and that Jack Steadman has a fine voice. And that those fragile little vocals right down in the mix which pop up occasionally, hardly there, are great too. But maybe you thought that last time it was released.
Spaghetti Anywhere - EP
This EP is genuinely fantastic. The singer has a lovely warm Scottish accent, and such a voice immediately adds extra gravitas to the already excellent lyrics. The EP opens with a gorgeous little tragedy about unrequited love that doesn't sink into melodrama despite [SPOILER ALERT] ending with an attempted suicide. It is quality throughout: quirky and folky, catchy and lively. Definitely worth multiple listens. Download 'Girlfriends With Boyfriends' from the EP above.
Chiddy Bang - The Opposite Of Adults
This is pretty decent. It samples MGMT very heavily, but well. This is what sampling should be like, not just speeding up some old record and sneering over it pseudo-bombastically. Lyrically it doesn’t really break much new ground - it’s archetypal hip-hop "aren’t I doing well now?" fare, with added emphasis on the difference between when he was a Kid (you see what he did there?) and these days, when he's apparently "ripping up shows" and his "life is a party" but it's likeable enough.
Broken Bells - The High Road
This collaboration has apparently been on the cards since 2004, though Danger Mouse and James Mercer didn't actually get around to doing anything until 2008. After all that time, I was very keen to hear what they'd come up with. I must say that it didn't initially grab me, but multiple listens reveal all sorts of little layers and ideas. The more you hear it, the more the melody gets inside your head, and the better it sounds. I have high hopes for the upcoming album.
Gil Scott Heron - Me And The Devil
The man is obviously a legend, and has been for quite some time so you could forgive him for just sitting around wallowing in his glory. But instead he has produced this brilliance. It is minimal and brooding, with, perhaps unexpectedly, quite a lot of electronic sounds floating about. He is 60, and his voice sounds it, but in a way that tells the tale of all the things he must have seen in his life. If you buy this, or check it out on Spotify, there is a fantastic orchestral version of the track as a B-Side, too.
Frightened Rabbit - Nothing Like You
Frightened Rabbit have gone a little bit more radio friendly, toned themselves down a bit maybe? I was initially disappointed with this, expecting more after enjoying their first album massively. But it’s again a bit of a grower, with a lovely little melody. It's probably definitely chasing a more mainstream audience: there's something vague about cancer in there, to bring a lump to people's throats, and something upbeat about lovers, so couples of whom only one really likes Frightened Rabbit can kiss for a bit.
People who have never heard Frightened Rabbit will love this. “Oh my!”, they’ll say “Frightened Rabbit are my fave band.” That’s fine really. But, hopefully they will listen to other Frightened Rabbit songs as well. Because, in this life of limited time but almost unlimited choice, it's worth spending your time with the real good stuff, which Frightened Rabbit's first album is, and this, despite its many qualities, is not.
Speaking of valuable use of time (or not), I now move to the real dregs of this week’s releases.
Here are Two Door Cinema Club, with a song which is completely lacking in any novel idea, emotion or worth. But as it sounds a little like a whole bunch of recent bands that have been a bit successful, they'll get bummed by people who don't really like music but work at record labels. Then they'll be rammed down people's throats, until some of the general public think they like them. Thus, this song is a perfect argument for the destruction of the music industry. It is almost literally unlistenable, full of empty happiness, and false glee that makes this track tear-inducingly bland. Maybe, again, I am being too harsh - perhaps this band are being clever, jumping through whatever derivative hoops they need to now, in order to get signed. Then, their plan is perhaps to release a second album doing what they actually want to do. But until that unlikely scenario plays out, don't listen to this band. Just imagine, if one day, you were 3 minutes from death. Think of all the things you'd long to do in those three minutes. And to think one day you wasted three minutes listening to this song. This irony might, perhaps ironically, kill you.
Sitting next to the Two Door Cinema Club lads in the bland corner is Ellie Goulding. Last year 'Young upcoming solo woman' seemed to become a genre, in the eyes of whatever buffoons make up the music industry. That Florence And The Machine girl has a fairly distinctive voice, and some decent tunes too. And Little Boots had that little tamogotchi-style instrument. Ellie Goulding has nothing distinctive. She’s quite pretty. Does that make up for it? No. There is nothing to make this Ellie Goulding. She might have written it, or maybe a robot wrote it.
The music is forgettable at best. Her voice is alright, it might be good. But this song lends it no opportunity to shine. It's produced as if it could be any poor R'n'B single from the whole host of throwaway pop groups of the last decade or so. Some people will like it, I can believe that. It's so dull as to be barely unlikable. But for me, it's very, very boring.
Other Notable Releases
Chapel Club - O Maybe I // Alphabeat - Hole In My Heart //
Archie Bronson Outfit - Shark's Tooth // Girls - Morning Light // Blood Red Shoes - Light It Up // Muse - Resistance //
Screaming Maldini - EP