Single Reviews: May 2005

 

The Mau-Maus - Ataraxi e.p. (Boobytrap) 30/05/05

The Mau-Maus are "a 6 piece London band who specialise in an unusual blend of R&B, hip-hop, cut-up classical and spiky alt-rock". Enough to confuse our reviewers?

T: I do like things that make me scratch my head desperately trying to decide whether I love them or hate them...

N: There's certainly something cheesy about this number - "a big cheese fountain", as was the remark you made this morning - I like the lyric and musical accompaniment, like Bus Driver and Outkast, this is driving the right route.

T: Spot on with the Outkast reference, though I would suggest a mightily "under the influence" Andre 3000 would have written something like this! 8/10

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The Lights - Neighbours (Seeca Records) - download only single - 30/05/2005

Featuring ex-Monoman member Ryan Kane and Imogen Andrews, formerly of Strange Nation, this West London outfit are described as "Stevie Wonder writing songs for The Human League". Hmmm...

T: Sounds more like KC and the Sunshine Band having a friendly, informal meeting with Jamiroquai to me...

N: Despite Kylie and Jason, who adorn the sleeve, this really has nothing - that's NOTHING - to do with the Aussie soap, apart of course from the fact that they have chosen to call the song "Neighbours". An obvious Jay Kay influence is what leaps out, but The Human League or Stevie Wonder? Nah.

T: I thought you were just going to leave it as "This really has nothing", and I wouldn't have disagreed.

N: That's a little cruel. It's funked up and souled out enough to find its place in a long hot summer. I can see now where Kylie and Jason fit in. This is late eighties, and perhaps somewhat past its sell by date. Let's hear something further from the group before we commit them to the Atomic Dustbin. 5/10

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Sons and Daughters - Dance Me In (Domino) 23/05/2005

Produced by the great Edwyn Collins (I take it he's better now then?), this is the latest single from the Glaswegian quartet.

N: You say you preferred "Neighbours", but admit it, Sons and Daughters are far livelier dressed this way.

T: But I can't shake the idea that they're suddenly going to go "Shotgun gimme gimme lowdown funboy" in the middle, so reminiscent is this tune of Haysi Fantayzee's "John Wayne Is Big Leggy". They wouldn't thank me for saying it I'm sure, but come on, it DOES!

N: No dismissal here, but Haysi Fantayzee was almost a quarter of a century ago. Surely we're due for a revival? And anyway, I LIKE this Sons and Daughters, and could have been caught watching the earlier one! 6/10

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Motley Crue - If I Die Tomorrow (Motley Records) 23/05/2005

Lock up your daughters, hide your whips and chains - those demons of debauchery are back with a new single.

T: I'm more than a tad surprised that SImple Plan had anything to do with the writing of this single, seeing as it's rather more masculine than they'll ever be.

N: With a nine inch cock and a bottle of JD in their other hand, these guys scream "Look at me"!

T: You like talking about cocks today don't you?

N: Well, this is how this genre of music should really be approached. Bigger, louder and more obvious than the next man.

T: With a big cheese fountain.

N: The first new product in a number of years following their reformation, Motley Crue show that they've still got what it takes, will still deserve the headlines I'm sure and are not just making this to supplement their pension funds. 7/10

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Morning Runner - Drawing Shapes (Parlophone) 23/05/05

So called because the band noticed how whenever you see blueprints for a building or whatever, they're always made of little boxes. So, "this is our first e.p. - it's us drawing shapes".

N: Set to support Coldplay, I can see this band stealing the glory from their headliners on the forthcoming tour. Although perhaps not so widely accessible, this group have that seed in their sound that I hope will see a band of a massively alternative leaning develop.

T: Funny how you get an idea in your head sometimes. I had an unflinching belief that this band was either Scottish or Irish for a while, because I could see The Waterboys, Hothouse Flowers and U2 all shining through, but no, they're from Reading! Still, it's a pleasant little number.

N: Their sound might suggest a band hailing from Northern Britain rather than the South as id the case, and I CAN hear the references with which you make comparison, although the two B-sides are a little Chris Martin for my liking. 7/10

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British Sea Power - Please Stand Up (Rough Trade) 23/05/05

Second single from the band's glorious "Open Season" album, I'll be going home in a huff if Nick doesn't agree that this deserves at least an "8".

T: Marvellous track - one of the best on the album, and I think the moments where the band utilise such breathy vocals as they do here work just perfectly.

N: Those breathy vocals to which you refer seem to fit perfectly with the similarly desperate guitar riff, which sets this out as a classic. In some ways, an Afghan Whigs, Kitchens of Distinction or even the Jazz Butcher Conspiracy from time-to-time, a fine collection of artists with which to share history.

T: Or put another way, just a superb record. 9/10

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The Glitterati - She's Gone (Atlantic) 23/05/2005

Squeeze on your Spandex and get that embarrassingly dodgy perm done, for The Glitterati are back!

N: Cocks the size of a skyscraper and the attitude to accompany, that's what first became apparent when listening to this single.

T: It hadn't struck me until this single how incredibly CAMP The Glitterati are. Perhaps it's the Judas Priest style hook that does it, but there's definitely an element of effeteness about them.

N: But Frankenfurter had a cock, and surely he was the epitomy of camp!

T: Ah but don't get me wrong - I think this really is a bundle of fun and should see them climb still further up the Bon Jovi ladder of chartiness.

N: But surely you could call this the Big Mac of current rock trends. The meal you can eat without filling you up! The single's finished now, and I really can't remember what it was about.

T: But like a Big Mac, you've still room for more afterwards. Though I suspect I like this more than you do.

N: The same could be said about your last girlfriend... 6/10

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Coldplay – Speed of Sound (Parlophone) 23/05/05

What at first comes over as a “Chris-Martin-by-numbers” ballad actually starts snapping like a terrier at your heels after a few plays and it becomes apparent just how cleverly written this single is.

You could say “Speed of Sound” is the musical equivalent of a Renoir painting – a pleasant reflection of real life in the relevant century, in which you notice more and more subtle differences every time and how much painstaking attention has been given to the tiniest detail.

Full credit must be given to the band for releasing another very good single and one which eventually becomes as infectious as leprosy. But in a good way… 8/10

Tone E

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C-Jags - Paradise Park / Please Please (Voluptuous) 16/05/05

Inspired by the likes of Richard Hell and the Voidoids, The Police and Iggy Pop, C-Jags release their debut double-a-sided single this month amidst a steadily increasing stream of A&R men clamouring for their signature.

N: Alright, following the fisticuffs we've almost had this morning, I'll lay my cards on the table by saying that this is a blinder.

T: It's the sort of thing that I often like admittedly, but unfortunately it's a bit TOO derivative of the initial influence cited for me to get too excited about it. What I mean to say is that Hell and co did it better, as did The Damned in their earlier days, but yes, I do agree that it's a good single. Just listen to "The Kid With the Replaceable Head" and tell me you can't see the similarity. No bad thing I know, as they have a fine defining taste that should shape them into a band to watch over the next 12 months, but I feel they need to develop their OWN sound a bit more rather than rely so heavily on their peers.

N: The past three minutes do seem to have lasted far longer than the counter suggests, the downside being, as you've suggested, that the band are following current trends rather than being themselves, or anything particularly new. 7/10

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Kaiser Chiefs – Everyday I Love You Less and Less (B-Unique) 16/5/05

Not content with hitting the top ten with their Blur soundalike tune, the Kaiser Chiefs have now released a single that evokes memories of The Skids, which, to be fair, is more of a blueprint for what the rest of their album sounds like. In fact, now I come to think about it, “Oh My God” is a LITTLE bit similar to Ultravox’s “Love’s Great Adventure” – must be a bit of a Midge Ure influence in there somewhere!

Still, it’s a catchy little bleeder by a band who are becoming the undisputed champions of British wimp rock. 7/10

Tone E

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Stevie Wonder Featuring Q-Tip – So What The Fuss (Motown) 16/05/2005

What a great new track from a living legend or two. With en Vogue on backing vocals and Prince on guitar this is one ensemble that cannot fail. Now having said that this is’nt likely to go to number one it has too much quality for that. This is a great track with a good vocal hook from Stevie and fat rap from the man Q-Tip. 8/10

Nic Caesar

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Antony & the Johnsons - Hope There's Someone (Rough Trade) 16/05/2005

You're sat at a table, enjoying a 'long drink', waiting for the main billing to take to the low stage before you. You've heard this artist described when he sings as like being in the presence of an angel, or at the very least "...like hearing Elvis for the first time: two words and he has broken your heart…". Acclaim coming from such quarters as Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed, this Californian born artist (now a resident New Yorker) released his second album "I'm A Bird Now" earlier this year to great acclaim and just the title seems to fit with what you've heard, but this suspense is killing you and then Antony Johnson takes to the stage...

T: I can't help thinking that this would be more at home in the yearly 'Classic FM Top 100' count down. It's certainly a striking piece, and I feel that with repeated plays, 'Antony and the Johnsons' may just utilise a stun gun to impressive effect.

N: It's fair to say that the sounds of a bygone day are heaped here when you're lost in the centre of their sound. Antony does poses the most extraordinary voice and puts it to good effect with the Johnsons, but how accepting an audience will find this, save the initial 'stun gun' you speak of, I just hope they 'come to' before the record ends!

T: Well it's kept me pretty much on the edge of my seat! The biggest compliment I can pay it is that it somehow manages to sound very cold, whilst at the same time very warm... much like taking your loved one to Niagara Falls. Very touching.

N: Antony manages to effect a memorable performance here and I think you're right and I was a little harsh, this, once heard never forgotten. If our idle banter has wet appetite's enough (and I'll be honest, even it it hasn't and you're still confused) do check out the web link, the official web site features a wealth of resources; both audible, visual and let's face it, you'll get the whole picture. 9/10

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Maximo Park – Graffiti (Warp) 02/05/2005

Given the incredibly recent top 20 single, “Apply Some Pressure”, and the fact that “Graffiti” betters even that, I am starting to wonder whether Maximo Park are shaping up to be one of the great heavyweights of the “noughties” (I hate that expression with a passion, but I can’t think of a better way to describe the initial years of the 21st century); the pointers are clearly there to suggest that they will be.

Like a particularly angry David Gedge being backed by a particularly angry Inspiral Carpets with a particularly angry sound engineer cranking all the amps up to full power, this is quite frankly a phenomenal record! 10/10

Tone E

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Idlewild - I Understand It (Parlophone) 02/05/2005

The second single to be lifted from the band's latest album, 'Warnings/Promises'. A rousing anthem in the making, 'I Understand It' shows just how I appear to be hogging this band at the moment, having reviewed their last single and album all by myself.

Trust me I'm a Doctor, and this is the general opinion of us here at the Atomicduster. Idlewild are shaping up to be one of the UK's premier band's. 8/10

Nick James

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Marc Caroll - A Way Back Out Of Here (Evangeline) 25/04/2005

Marc Caroll, an artist who released his second album 'World On A Wire' earlier this year, has taken this work described as "his most personnal and commited yet" from this album. From the cover I have to say that this cast a shadow suggesting a rather dowdy and somewhat boring 4 minutes, but what about his music?

Well not much to report really, yes I find a very accomplished musician, but the single's presentation is a little lack lustre and all this besides the obvious musical reference to 'T'Pau's - China In Your Hand', I have the original artist's LP so I'm not intending to add bias to my critism, but was this intended? He's had a go at reworking 'Buffalo Springfield's - For What It's Worth', later, on the CD single and in this case I'm going to have to borrow the lines from the song - "There's something happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear'? This song epitomises a generation, but Marc's stripped it of any emotion, there should be laws! 2/10

Nick James

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Brand New Heavies – Surrender (Onetwo) 11/04/2005

A pretty standard offering from the heavies, I mean, its good but it doesn’t do much to get a reaction from me, its just ok. Nice vocals good track, it’s a nice song! 7/10

Nic Caesar

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Freemasons – Love on My Mind (Loaded) 11/04/2005

This is a great dance record! It has a great rhythm to it a superb vocal hook taken from an old Jackie Moore track and what more it see a return of Russell Small, of Fats and Small fame! One for my box this summer for sure, no remixes available as yet but I’m sure there will be some good ones to come! 8/10

Nic Caesar

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