Single Reviews: September 2002


Harvey - Get Up And Move (Go Beat)

Hot on the heels of Romeo Dunn's pretentious self indulgent eponymous recent top ten single, fellow So Solid Crew member Harvey releases his debut hoping to emulate the success of his companion.

N: Gangsta rap with a goody goody slant. Yes that's right. Can you see Tupac ever utilising the line "Thou shalt not kill"? Perhaps these guys have gone straight, or maybe it's just a stipulation of their parole. What's the bet we've still got naked butts in the video though?

T: Hopefully. After all that was the best thing about them. Anyway, it may be because Mr Dunn's effort was so truly appalling that this really doesn't grate all that much. MC Tor's rap is extremely reminiscent of the late Lisa Lefteye Lopez. Not too bad actually. 6/10



Incubus - Are You In? (Epic)

A bit different for Incubus this, to say the least....!

N: A modern day Faith No More? On this single certainly funked up and a great deal lighter, or a great deal more palatable.

T: For you personally or in general?

N: To be honest I think in general. This seems a very saleable single.

T: My view is that I tend to prefer their rockier stuff, but they can carry off the mid eighties laid back funk feel quite effortlessly. However I would advise against them doing it too often, or they may well alienate their existing fanbase. I'd hate to see them turn into George Michael.

N: A frightening thought for all concerned, but back to the single. The remix here sees Incubus meet the Happy Mondays with the inclusion of maestro mixer and producer Paul Oakenfold contribution. So this was an easy day Paul? 7/10

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Gemma Hayes - Back Of My Hand (Source Records)

Nominated for the 2002 Mercury Music Prize, top prize for the Hot Press Best Female singer award in Ireland, Album Of The Week in both the Times and the Observer and a new legion of new fans after the release of her album "Night On My Side", Gemma Hayes, you could say, has had a pretty successful year so far...

N: Who's this Gemma Crow? Alanis Hayes? Oh GEMMA Hayes! Yes, one of those artists that I sat through and then duly overlooked from this year's Summer Sundae. Am I bruised now!

T: It ambles along without ever really going anywhere from what I can hear. Certainly your Sheryl Crow likening is the most obvious of any, but Ms Crow tends to pick songs that grab your attention a little more than this does. One of those tracks where you realise you can't remember how it goes immediately after it finishes.

T: Yeah okay, so there are a plethora of female singer/songwriters out there, all sounding very much like one another in some small way. Hmmm...female...or good even. There are also a lot of boy bands out there who all sound the same, or should that be dance the same? But this is where the similarity ends. I tend to disagree with your "instantly forgettable" comments. I like her laid back approach. 7/10

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Hundred Reasons - Falter (Columbia)

Having just returned from a successful tour of Japan, Hundred Reasons release another single from their "Ideas Above Our Station".

N: I think that I'd like to like these so much, but that said, this is an awful lot like so much I've heard before and not left that much of an impression.

T: I agree. I do actually quite like the band, but certainly if you play this single more than three times you end up picking the dirt from between your toes. And if you play it any more than that, you'll end up eating it too. 5/10



Fields Of The Nephilim - From The Fire (Jungle Records)

Yes you heard right. Those late eighties goth rockers are back after 12 years in the wilderness. Will we welcome them back with open arms I wonder...?

T: Hmmm. THEY'VE changed a lot then...

N: Andrew Eldritch, Wayne Hussey, Patricia Morrison may be resigned to the annuls of history, a fate we thought had met the Fields. Is this a new release or a re-release?

T: Though to be fair to them, if they'd come back sounding like B*Witched or something we'd have slaughtered them. So they've stuck to what they do best and good on them for that. However, I can't help thinking, the more it goes on, that it sounds like one of U2's darker moments, also with traces of Echo and the Bunnymen.

N: For those of us who lived through the "goth phenomenon" this is actually like bumping into an old friend but I also felt the same when Phil Oakey returned for his "romantic" phase. It never really happened. Maybe these are just happy memories. 6/10



Pinhole - So Over You (Too Nice Records)

I shall let the press release speak for itself here: Pinhole are the classic teen gang as a pop band: they walk like The Clash and sing like The Beatles, but with tough, angular attitudes and power chords that gives their sound a spine.

T: Apparently inspired by The Clash, The Beatles, The Who, The Smiths and The Pixies, I really ought to like this band, seeing as that's almost a listing of my all time favourite bands. And I don't dislike them. I think they're quite good, but sadly, I'm afraid that's about as far as I can go.

N: Apparently exuding the "same exciting rush of punk's first wave", how can anyone from Kerrang! allude to say that? Were they there, or just being breast fed? Pinhole may exude the feel of punk-esque American College Rock, but if anything, these are no more than the breakfast club. 5/10

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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Whatever Happened To My Rock And Roll (Virgin)

Following their eponymous debut album and sold out shows supporting Oasis, BRMB return with a new single from the above mentioned disc.

N: Although I can't help being reminded of the Reid Brothers here, this does have an anergy and rush of sheer adrenaline.

T: It's an unashamedly ballsy single with a late sixties feel to it, except that it's been coated in distortion and chorus pedals and the overall effect is to create an absolute corker.

N: Many might well as the same thing as the title asks here, but BRMC answer their own question in the air of this single. 9/10

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Seachange - Superfuck (Radiate Records/Virgin)

Being asked to open for Idlewild and playing with the likes of And You Will Kbow Us By The Trail Of The Dead are just two of the many achievements that Seachange can lay claim to.

T: Not a bad single by all accounts, but very much in keeping with the current trend of bands such as The Hives, The Vines, The White Stripes and The Strokes. I hope they don't think they're doing anything new.

N: Mike Read would have a stroke here, but this is the "clean" version. What's all that then? But whatever happened to my rock 'n' roll? Maybe we can find it here. 7/10

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JJ72 - Formulae (Lakota Records)

Massively successful with the release of their debut album, the criminally young JJ72 are back with a new single from their forthcoming "I To Sky" album on 23rd September.

N: Is this Mark singing here? He has developed a very unique style, if Hillary hasn't taken a lesson from the Peter Hook school of bass.

T: Whatever, it doesn't really matter. The fact remains that the trio have made what I regard to be probably their best song to date and, in a climate of few shining lights musically, also are releasing possibly the most well crafted, uplifting single of the last three years. Some feat for a band not long out of nappies.

T: Yes ok, so JJ look to follow up their earlier success with another collection hopefully worthy of the praise heaped upon their shoulders. You've already said it all. 10/10

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Garbage - Shut Your Mouth (Mushroom Records)

Shirley Manson and co return with the 600th single from their "Beautifulgarbage" album. Well, ok, the 4th single, but I think any more than 3 from any long player is milking it really. No pun intended...

N: The first track from the group's hugely successful second album should have been the first and not the fourth. features Shirley's trademark acid tongue in fine voice.

T: Although it starts rather amusingly like Paula Abdul doing a spin-off with Prince.

N: But is it now not time for a new album? A familiar story. 6/10

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fulc - The Fallen EP (Stunted Records)

Formed in 1998, Fulc have been going from strength to strentgh recently. A number of record companies have made offers and been rejected by the band, who want to find the right deal before settling down. This single was recorded at Cornwall's Sawmill Studios where the likes of Muse, Oasis, Supergrass and Robert Plant are regular visitors.

T: Having witnesses this band performing last night in Leicester, I can with my hand on my heart say they are probably the best live band I have seen in about five years.

N: I don't think I fully appreciated the rush you got upon hearing your report. These are Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and even Metallica all rolled into one, and in the confines of a venue like the Shed, I'm surprised your head didn't explode!

T: It wasn't far off I can assure you! All those bands you mention are in evidence but Fulc are so much more than that. Certainly there are traces of Grunge, Nu-Metal, Indie, even Emo, but I wouldn't say the band sound particularly like anyone. The final track, "Backroom Surgery", which is probably my favourite on the ep, has undertones of the late great Mr.Cobain on Nirvana's less commercially viable album tracks such as "Territorial Pissings" or "Gallons Of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through The Strip". Quite simply stunning. 9/10

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The D4 - Get Loose (Infectious Records)

Following the band's sell out show at London's garage in July, New Zealand reprobates The D4 announce the release of a new single "Get Loose" on 16th September.

T: You have to respect a band that have released an album not too long ago, that choose to release a completely NEW single after releasing just a couple of tracks from it.

N: Then employing a new designer to differentiate your sleeve might be a good idea? To be honest this doesn't sound that far removed from what I heard on the album, so new track or not, what's the point?

T: Perhaps a little unfair. I think this is far and away a miles better track than the aforementioned album contained, with shades of the Ramones and The Damned, so to me the band are at least improving. 6/10

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Timo Maas feat. Kelis (Perfecto Records)

Only one thing to say about this by way of an intro. Apparently when recording this track, Kelis was weighed down by a stinking cold. So, without batting an eyelid, she picked up a huge spoon of chillies and swallowed the lot in order to get her singing voice going. Whoever was it that said she was a strange girl?

N: This is that track that reminds me of the "Knight Rider", but please, no wet dreams implied. Another track taken from his mighty debut album "Loud", is exhilerating and fast paced, can Timo do nothing wrong in my eyes?

T: I just hope he doesn't take a wrong direction and end up outside your bedroom. 8/10

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The Libertines - Up The Bracket (Rough Trade)

NME cover stars The Libertines return after supporting The Strokes and The Vines with this single on 30th September, a double A-side with "Boys In The Band". They will be supporting Supergrass on tour in October.

N: I've certainly heard better, but maybe this hasn't grown on me yet. Or maybe it's the wrong lead track, as there appears to be better featured here.

T: It doesn't set the world alight admittedly, but I like it in the same way that I like apples. I don't eat many of them but the ones I do eat I enjoy. Very much like the two bands they've been supporting recently. 7/10



Radio 4 - Eyes Wide Open (City Slang)

New Yorkers Radio 4 have built up a sizeable following Stateside with their 2000 debut, the band are taking London by storm in September with dates at Club Fandango, Barfly and Death Disco. This is the new single.

T: This single reminded me of The Jam in their later days leading on to Weller's Style Council. Songs such as "Precious" and "Circus" I'm talking here.

N: So when I mention a Strummer/Jones collaboration, it could be more the time I was getting at. It doesn't set my world alight.

T: But it's ok. 5/10

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The Strokes - Someday (Rough Trade)

I doubt whether this band really needs an introduction, given the mass coverage and hysteria they have gained in their short career so far.

T: This is one of the few bands of this ilk that I think were actually DESERVING of the praise heaped upon them before the music media wet its pants and went spiralling out of control.

N: You've mentioned these earlier in this session so by rights I shouldn't think that much, but what a great riff.

T: Agreed. And an admittedly fantastic album, but let's be honest here, we've now had 5 tracks released from this album and that's too many! OK, the album was great. Now GO AND MAKE ANOTHER ONE. 8/10

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<209> - Bitch (Bohemian Records)

Hoping to push the boundaries of rap metal, this seven piece band's debut single is released on 14th October.

N: Check, check, check. At last in this politically correct climate, a band not too fearful to do the opposite. Whether or not the lyrical content is that incorrect I can't decipher, but a cracking track all the same. Reminiscent of Rage Against The Machine.

T: What? My mate's mum sounds more like RATM than this does. Can't say I'm overly impressed with it to be honest. It's not bad but it's not really that different either. It sounds more like Mark B and Nlade to me... 7/10

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Suede - Positivity (Epic)

The massively influential band return after a seemingly gaping absence on 16th September with a new single taken from their forthcoming album "A New Morning" on 30th September.

N: A crumbling band from their moment in time, or a relevant comment from a representative of today's youth? I don't think the Nephilim would ever lay claim to the latter, so why should I consider that Brett should be trying to? Any comment?

T: Just that in today's mass marketed and prettily packaged world, a Suede single, be it a great one or an average one, should be welcomed with open arms to fill the void. Otherwise there'll be yet another place taken by Westlife or A1.

N: Fair comment, but I do think that this is a rather lacklustre affair, which begs the comment "they've done better". 6/10



The Parkinsons - Streets Of London EP (Fierce Panda)

Apparently this band has been labelled "the punk rock So Solid Crew", and by the Independent on Sunday as "schizoids with the key to the bad speed cupboard", this, their debut single, is out now.

N: I'm five, I'm stomping around. "I like shouting. I like shouting!", but I'm now 32, I grew up. Why is it that this should detract from what the rest of the band are doing? But it does.

T: I grew up too, but I quite like this. I hate you. I HATE YOU!!!

N: And you're the one with the mortgage! 5/10



X-Press 2 featuring Dieter Meier - I Want You Back (Skint Records)

I want you back is the latest single from X-Press 2 which follows on from the phenomenal success of their debut single Lazy which hit number 2 on the UK charts earlier this year. Collaborating with Dieter Meier both on this release and on the decks at Pacha in Ibiza this summer, Asley, Rocky and Diesel stray from the sustained melodies and ‘killer’ chorus of Lazy to create something a little darker.

This single features both radio edit and original versions of the track. I want you back is a mellow percussive house tune with the added warmth of filter sweeps and Dieter Meier’s deep sleazy vocals which drives the track from the word go. Immediate resemblance’s to the unmistakable sounds of the charismatic front man Maxi Jazz from Faithless can be drawn from this single, but it lacks the uplifting build ups and infectious melodies we have embraced from Faithless and unfortunately struggles to maintain the listeners interest.

I want you back is a disappointing follow up single from X-Press 2 and lacks the same ‘commercial friendly’ sounds of Lazy so consequently will struggle to duplicate the same success. In it’s current form this single is destined to feature embedded amongst a DJ set in the club scene and in my opinion would greatly benefit from a remix… Anti-climax! 5/10



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