Single Reviews: January 2004

 

The Strokes - Reptilia (Rough Trade)

The follow up to last year's "12:51" from the much lauded band. Can they live up to the hype?

T: Well, it's not as if we haven't heard this before, and it does bear more than a passing resemblance to "Take It Or Leave It" from their debut long player "Is This It?" but still, the track possesses all the fire and rampant energy to ensure that the New Yorkers have another surefire hit.

N: A band who to my ears maintain a consistency in their musicality - this of course coming the extremely strong "Room on Fire", an album from which any of the eleven tunes could have been cherry picked for release. 9/10

 
 

 

Escape Pod - Losing Control (Dead Digital)

Released on the relatively new, small Manchester label Dead Digital, this three piece has been together since meeting as photography students four years ago.

T: This sounds to me like the Beta Band riding a horse majestically over a hill, and then joining up to share funny fags with the Boards of Canada. It works pretty well, and there are moments that are strongly reminiscent of Arthur Lee's Love too. A little messed up, but pleasantly appealing all the same.

N: A seven inch that arrived in the office with very little to say about it, other than what we were presented with when needle hit vinyl. But what I can say is this is music that possesses an almost complex simplicity. mmm, make of that what you will, but the way an acoustic element interacts with naive electronic layers is certainly progressive. Messed up? Yes. Pleasantly appealing? Without a doubt, and Beta Band...we'll use this as a yardstick, butdo go out and discover the Escape Pod. 8/10

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Delays - Long Time Coming (Rough Trade)

Having already dented the Top 40 recently with "Hey Girl", Delays have already been A-listed at Xfm and B-listed at Virgin Radio with this little gem.

N: One of those tunes that will undoubtedly fit into the category "heard it before", such is the practise of pre-release airplay. Did you like it? Well we sure did, this is a wonderfully crafted "West Coast" pop tune that will fit into mostrecord collections alongside the Beach Boys and the Thrills.

T: Do you agree that they sound like a more polished version of the Grim Northern Social? Both great bands, but this single is certainly one of the warmest independent releases we've heard in a long time.

N: Possibly, but I think it's their name that sets them apart....obviously! 8/10

 

 
 

 

The Veils - The Wild Son (Rough Trade)

Taken from their forthcoming debut album "The Runaway Found", this single was produced by ex-Suede guitar virtuoso Bernard Butler and the band will shortly be taking to the road at venue near you.

T: I don't think there's much doubt that this band has been influenced by the Divine Comedy to some extent. It's quite a pretty build up but perhaps a little overladen with strings towards the end of the song. Enjoyable, but a tad too orchestrated.

N: Elvis's "Blue Hawaii" is what came to mind in the opening seconds of this single, vocalist Finn Andrews then started to sing, and McCulloch and McNabb stole this initial thought from me. Any complaints? Certainly not, this possesses a strong catchy, if not entirely memorable refrain, that I hope I will carry to my dreams tonight. 8/10

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Carina Round - Lacuna (Dehisce)

Carina has a fast-spreading reputation as one of the best female performers around. This track is taken from her much praised album "The Disconnection".

N: You may consider it sloppy for me to commence my comments in such a way, but Polly Harvey came to mind in how Carina presents her music. Something I'm now reminded has been stated before on this site, then we continued discussing that although this is how she has a tendency to sound, the content, although enjoyable, isn't anywhere near as heavy.

T: A good track, the backing music sounding like a cat knocking over several milk bottles. Nice. 7/10

 

 
 

 

Courtney Love - Mono (Virgin)

Courtney Love comes out of her own Hole to release a single in her own right.

T: No great surprises here. This track is as frantic and as urgent as anything recorded by her band. It's certainly powerful and exciting. One thing that struck me though, is that she's starting to sound more and more like Suzi Quatro every day!

N: Like chalk and cheese, this couldn't be any further from the former listenings this month. Imagine the obnoxious teenager sticking his face into yours at the local bar, before lifting a knife out from his denim jacket and making threatening gestures. Obviously an over the top comparison, and maybe a cliched one, but Courtney's done it again in producing a way nastier rock 'n' roll than I've heard of late. I thought she was "cleaning up". 7/10

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Joss Stone - Fell In Love With a Boy (Relentless)

Surely this can't be a version of the White Stripes classic "Fell In Love With a Girl"...can it?

T: I'm afraid it is, and where the original "kicked ass" and pumped you full of adrenaline, teenager Stone's version sounds like a seventies US sitcom and then becomes a hugely forgettable soul/funk cheese ball.

N: Can't disagree with your comments there. This is a highly original tune, recorded and presented in such a way as to fit another market and taste, its only saving grace it has to be said.

T: I'm reluctant to mark it down TOO much though. I mean, something like this is infinitely preferable to something like Westlife's carbon copy of "Mandy", as at least the artist here has attempted (and succeeded) to actually bother CHANGING it. So kudos for that, just not my cup of tea. 6/10

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Ilya - Bellissimo (Virgin)

Sampling George Melachrino and his Orchestra, Bellissimo is released early in 2004.

T: The sort of music you'd only ever hear either in a cafe bar in Western Europe or as the soundtrack to a James Bond film. I think that pretty much covers the flavour here.

N: This is a hard tune to draw any further comments, other than those already stated. Cliche for cliche's sake. Five versions that hold dance versions that may hold further appeal.

T: In short, we are shaken but not stirred. 6/10

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The Church - Song In Space (Cooking Vinyl)

It's getting on for a quarter of a century since this Aussie band first formed now. In that time they've recorded a phenomenal 17 albums, and this is the first single to be taken from the latter.

N: A U2 for the Australian market now comes home. 24 years in the outback and "I can't believe it's not Bono".

T: (shudders)

N: Sorry about that.

T: What I will say, getting away from terrible puns, is that, even though they are only a couple of years short of their zimmerframes, they are still creating interesting tunes with an edge. Oh NO! I didn't just say an Edge did I?!!!

N: All the jovial remarks aside, this whole single is full of brilliant material. A real winner. 10/10

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Obi - Creatures (Cooking Vinyl)

Damian Katkhuda, main singer songwriter with Obi, armed himself with a guitar and a dictaphone of collected ideas whilst in a little house in Southern France in 2003 after the New Year celebrations. These are some of the results.

T: Relaxing background music but not particularly exciting. I'm sure if you were eating out somewhere you wouldn't mind the band playing whilst you fed...

N: A little more than that. Maybe nothing to jump and scream about, but this is lo-fi that I'm sure will hold great appeal. 7/10

 

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Gisli - How About That (EMI)

Gisli is a 26 year old Icelandic songwriter who touts "Leonard Nimoy Sings" as his favourite all time CD! Hmmm...

T: Like the welding together of Eels, Weezer and Liam Lynch as supervised by Beck. It's amusing enough. I mean it's highly unlikely that it'll ever be regarded as a classic, but still, I doubt if he ever intends it to be.

N: It's all in the words here. Gisli has crafted this Beck-esque song to great effect, although using the radio unfriendly f-word is the only downside that I can see to his popularity.

T: Thank you Mrs.Whitehouse. 8/10

 

 
 

 

Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out (Domino Recording Co Ltd)

Here at Atomicduster, we thought this band's last single, "Darts of Pleasure" was one of the highlights of 2004. But can they keep the momentum up?

T: One of the best new bands around, and this is, in my opinion, the best single of 2004 so far. Ok, admittedly we've only had fifteen days or so, but still. Not bad for a bunch of Scottish layabouts. They remind me of a modern day Blancmange, and that's just what our charts need!

N: Without a doubt a highly infectious rock track that holds shades of the Strokes taking lessons from David Byrne and Jimmy Page. Wonderful, meet Franz, lift a jug of bier as you tuck into your Sauerkraut! 10/10

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