Singles Reviews: July 2001

  Ash - Sometimes (Infectious)

Another glorious slice of summer pie taken from the band's stupendously brilliant third album proper "Free All Angels". This was probably the most obvious choice for a single and the fact that we do actually seem to be HAVING a summer this year can only enhance its chart performance. If this doesn't become a major top ten hit the nation should hang its head in shame. The fact that the song is about the end of a relationship matters not a jot ("Sometimes it happens, feelings die/ whole years are lost in the blink of an eye"). This is still one of the most joyous, uplifting singles of the year. One of the CDs even features some DVD footage to frighten you off the idea of ever going on tour with the band. 9/10 Tone E

 
 

  Damage - So What If I (EMI)
We're generally very objective here at Atomic Duster here you know. And very good at constructive criticism. Except that this is a total pile of crap so I'm afraid that theory goes flying out of the window a little here. The only problem is, I can't slate this as much as I would like to because there's nowhere near the amount of "Aaahllluuuurrveee youuuueeeooooggggiiirrrllll" type squealing that has become the band's trademark. Still utterly pathetic nevertheless. Oh bugger. That's completely ruined my chances of ever copping off with Emma Bunton. 2/10 Tone E
 
 

  Robert Miles - Paths (S:alt)
This, the first single from the darkly disturbing but eerily beautiful "Organik" album, is the only track to feature any vocals, provided by the haunting tones of Nina Milanda. Obviously embracing cultural diversity as well as more leftfield experimentalism, this has the effect of placing you alone in a magical wonderland and tempting you to explore all the hidden treasures you may encounter there. A bit like drugs really. 8/10 Tone E
 

  Preston School Of Industry - Whale Bones (Domino)
An inspiration to many bands of the current ilk, Pavement's founder member Spiral Stairs has continued updating his already impressive CV by adding the lazy, hazy sound of Preston School Of Industry to his list of achievements. The main hook line of "Driving the whale bones home" could either be an autobiographical account of Pavement's final day of their last tour - or is it a sarcastic take on ageing rockers who really should have given up the ghost by now? Either way, this is a more than welcome return to form for Mr.Kannberg and will, I am sure, keep fans of the former band delighted. 7/10 Tone E
 

  Sparklehorse - Gold Day ep (Capitol)
"It's A Wonderful Life" is such a fantastic album that it's a real shame anyone had to choose one track as a single. However, this was probably the one that was crying out for a shot at the big time. Beautifully optimistic - "May all your days be gold my child" - and complete with a "Strawberry Fields Forever" type feel, it's probably the best chance Mark Linkous has had yet of denting the UK top 40. Then again, having said that, we shouldn't forget that the stunning "Hammering The Cramps" of a few years back was also cruelly overlooked. Whatever happens, anyone who actually makes the effort to hear this song will be won over instantly and marched to the record stores by an invisible presence to fill the missing hole in their collection. 9/10 Tone E
 

  Manchild - Nothing Without Me (One Little Indian)
Oh great. A new Manchild single. I remember their last album, - the very impressive and mean alternative dance laden "Untied States". Hopefully this will be more of the same dark Prodigy like stuff that we were offered back then. Here we go….can't wait……

(puts CD on)…..Ah. Er….Oh dear. A new Manchild single I remember their last album, the very impressive etc etc. WHAT'S GOING ON GUYS? You sound like Daft Punk now! Surely you haven't sold out already just to get a hit single? Sad sad sad!! I'm sorry to say this, but I would sooner listen to a tramp breaking wind than this. 3/10 Tone E

 

  Nitin Sawkney featuring Eska - Sunset (V2)
"Aagghh! Help! A fly! A fly! Get it off of me! Aagh! Help! Please…Pleeeaaassee!! Mummy!!!" That's what I reckon Nitin Sawkney says quite regularly on account of his squeaky high voice and limp melodies. What's that? He's quite a big bloke you say? Oh…er…well, of course I was only joking. Seriously though, this really is horrible. A song that I would turn off immediately if it came on while I was driving my car for fear it would turn me into a raging road monster. If you like modern R&B you might like this, but personally I can't stand it. The only reason it's got a point is for the bit done through the radio mike that sounds like Red Hot Chili Peppers. 1/10 Tone E
 

  Michael Franti and Spearhead - Rock The Nation (Parlophone)
Lyrically this is an outstanding track. Musically it's a deep down and dirty, funky rap type thang that reminds me of a number of earlier "ghetto acts" like Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five or Melle Mel, and even Public Enemy or NWA. Perhaps not quite with the same attitude as those two, but there is a similarity there I assure you. Anyway, to sum up, it's a pretty good offering really. 7/10 Tone E
 

Super Furry Animals - Juxtaposed With You
Probably the most unusual "real" word to have ever been used in a song title. This is SFA at their finest and more than likely to be the biggest hit they have had. At least in a long while anyway. It's a beautiful indie pop love song with some quality lyrics such as "You've got to tolerate all the people that you hate". I must admit, I thought this band would struggle to beat their "Fuzzy Logic" album of some years back, but if this single is anything to go by, the forthcoming one should be a treat for us all. 8/10 Tone E
 

Stephen Malkmus - Jeny and the S dog
I was pretty much convinced this was a great single right from the opening line of "Jennifer dates a man in a sixties cover band" and basically this just gets better and better from thereon. "She's 18, he's 31". Hang on a second…Chris Evans and Billie Piper anyone? Then again, I'm not sure I agree with the universal opinion that Evans is a dirty old man. After all, I wouldn't turn her down, would you? Ok maybe if you're a girl you might. Or you might not. Hmmm…now that's an interesting thought. OK…I've got to go now….I have to…erm…do something upstairs for a while. Anyone got any Kleenex? Anyway, this is a top song. 8/10 Tone E
 

Big Sur - Desert Song (Epic)
There's something to be said for songs that make you feel like you are wher the title suggests. You can easily picture yourself in the passenger seat of an open top car in the desert, hair blowing in the breeze (if you've got any), with nothing but glorious sunshine and ice cold beer to keep you company. Comparitively speaking it's a bit of a novelty because the verses sound like Simon and Garfunkel, the bridge like Crowded House or the Mamas and Papas, and the chorus ("Burn burn city burn / lost myself on an open road") sounds bewilderingly like the Men They Couldn't Hang! Still, I think I'll be taking this track to Italy with me as one of my honeymoon songs. 8/10 Tone E
 

Seafood - Cloaking (Infectious)

I have quite high hopes for this band. It's a storming intro with a nice bass heavy melody that could be likened to a mix of Rage Against The Machine, At The Drive-In, Pavement, and, purely because of the bass riff, The Pixies. And bearing any resemblance to the Pixies, no matter how remote, is always going to win this particular writer over. There is an ever so slight nod to The Fall's early output too. A perfect two and a half minute pop song that has, unfortunately, probably very little chance of becoming a hit. 8/10 Tone E

 

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