Single Reviews: July 2004

 

Ben Christophers – Devil To Kill (Cooking Vinyl)

This rather bluesy little number is available by download only up until the end of July.

Nice and dreamy, with a laid back, almost gospel kind of feel calls to mind any number of originals that Moby may have sampled at one time or another. That and Blur’s “Tender” anyway.

I’m pleased to report though, that the chorus here is NOT “Why am I beating myself off?” as my (obviously sick and twisted) mind had previously concluded, but in fact “Why am I beating myself up? I got a devil to kill”!

To sum it up, this is a luscious, soulful “anti-ballad” that gets better with each play. 9/10

Tone E


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Grand National – Cherry Tree (SundayBest)

A serious funky, joyous track, with an upbeat tempo and a very ‘dancey’ feel considering the band are not a dance act by any means. The other tracks on this release demonstrate some serious song writing skills so worth getting hold of the album ‘Kicking the National Habit’ that has received great reviews. I tell you this would go down a treat on the terrace at Space!!! 8/10

Nic Caesar

 
 

 

Morrissey – First of the Gang to Die (Regal)

Whilst Mozzer’s albums are always littered with peaks and troughs, I am happy to say that the great man himself has chosen, on this occasion, to release what is probably the finest moment of his solo career to date.

A kicking, uptempo track with fiercely tongue in cheek (I presume) lyrical content, this is probably the most cheerful mood we’re ever likely to find Stephen Patrick in.

“My Life Is a Succession of People Saying Goodbye” is a perfect dinner companion to “First of the Gang to Die”, being as it is one of those sleepy but intelligent moments that were so abundant on his 1997 album “Maladjusted”.

Let us keep our fingers crossed that they continue to put whatever it is they’ve been sticking in Morrissey’s water lately! 9/10

Tone E

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The Beta Band – Out-Side (Regal)

The remarkably influential outfit returns with a surprisingly hopeful sounding three and a half minute romp!

The whole thing sounds like all the “cooler” bands of the sixties sharing a bong with Adam and the Ants, occasionally floating off into another parallel universe, rarely pausing for breath and eventually being brought back down to earth gently with a heavenly mop on the brow.

Having said all that, and whilst also acknowledging the greatness of the band itself, I must confess I prefer the group’s darker forays that we are far more accustomed to hearing.

It’s still a top tune though, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it became their biggest hit. Plus you can’t help but admire a band that samples a dog barking…especially as the last time I heard this idea utilised was on Wonderdog’s 1982 embarrassment – the minor hit “Ruff Mix”! 8/10

Tone E

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Ash – Starcrossed (Infectious)

Not really a great deal of point in me delving too deeply with this one, because you will already have read that Tim is a dead ringer for Bobby Gillespie where this track is concerned, if you mulled over my review of the band’s phenomenal “Meltdown” album.

Well guess what? He STILL sounds like the Scream’s inimitable frontman, it’s STILL a wonderful Ash-by-numbers power ballad, and it STILL gives you a warm, glowing feeling inside.

Wheeler and co. may as well be advertising Ready Brek right now, so healthy feels the glow! 9/10

Tone E

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Alex Lloyd – Hello the End (EMI)

This Aussie superstar has a distinct disadvantage with me when he releases anything new, but that’s his OWN doing, not mine. You see, I always inevitably think “He can’t possibly top his remarkable “Black the Sun” single from a few years back”. Then I end up thinking “I was right then” every time!

That’s not to say he doesn’t make a spirited attempt to do so though; “Hello the End” is a well crafted and infectious tune reminiscent of both REM and Ryan Adams. It just seems to lack that “cutting edge” that it’s crying out for. Then I could truly consider it a thing of beauty. In fact, I’d polish it every day and take it out for rides in the country if it added that dimension to itself. It’s NEARLY there but it never really truly arrives. A nice enough bit of fluff though. 7/10

Tone E

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Minus – The Long Face (Smekkleysa)

Not as instant as the band’s last single (the uproariously brilliant “Romantic Exorcisms”), but this is still as engaging and dirty as you would have hoped. And we LIKE dirty, oh yes!

Possibly the noisiest track I’ve heard to utilise a saxophone, this Icelandic band are slowly but surely enticing me into their deepest, darkest lair with their addictive and oh-so-slightly-disturbing music. Then, after my inevitably twisted initiation ceremony, I’m sure there is much houghmagandy to be had.

No. I have no idea what that means either.

I’m sure it’s a good thing though. After all, Minus is a big plus. Eh? 8/10

Tone E

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Dimitri From Paris – Strong Man feat. Omar (Discograph)

A cool down-tempo house track here with the original version included. The A side has a remix from Matthias Heilbron and the B-side has the Bibi and Dimitri ‘Back to the scene’ retro remix. Solid, soulful house that would suit an early evening bar set. Released 5th July. 8/10

Nic Caesar

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Colour of Fire – The Exile (Riverman)

Sounds like Brett Anderson and Brian Molko flicking eachother with wet dishcloths.

Incidentally, that’s not as bad as you might expect; I ought to point out that I actually LIKE both those respective frontmen’s bands, and whilst I personally think you’d be hard pushed to arrive at a better description, I should mention that those dishcloths are made from a very heavy material that would damn well HURT if you were flicked too hard with them!

Hmmm..the band’s forthcoming debut album was produced by the legendary Steve Osborne (U2, Suede, New Order) and is to be called “Pearl Necklace”. Ummm….nice… 7/10

Tone E

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Marlowe – Popularity Gel (Probe Plus)

There seems to be rather a buzz around this band at the moment. I’ve read several reviews that claim the band makes “Heart tugging music”or are “moving” in some way or another.
Heaven knows why. The band doesn’t move ME at all. I found “Little House on the Prairie” more intense and emotional than this (No, in case you’re wondering).

In fact, Marlowe sound like any number of bands that supported my old group at countless dodgy venues across the UK in the past. You know – those groups who turn up bringing rent-a-crowd with them (who are then ordered to go home before the headline act comes on) and maybe end up supporting the Auteurs once before fizzling out into oblivion.

Maybe I’m being a bit harsh. After all, the other two tracks here – “Feeding Time” and “Can’t Take It All With You” trample all over the main release. It’s just that the so called “heartwarming” effect never took place. Sorry. 6/10

Tone E

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The Fiery Furnaces – Single Again / Evergreen (Rough Trade)

Good lyrics – “I wish I was single again/ ‘cause when I was single, my pockets did jingle”.

I didn’t realise until recently that this band had a female singer, as she sounds so much like The Small Faces it’s unreal! Anyways, “Single Again” sounds like Bow Wow Wow playing hopscotch with The Selecter, and double A-side track “Evergreen” is a bit like listening to The Beatles’ “A Day In the Life” whilst rolling down a hillside like you did as a kid, but after having inhaled some pretty strong substances. Strange. 7/10

Tone E

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