Single Reviews: September 2005

 

X - PRESS 2 - GIVE IT 26/09/2005

Top Quality new single from X-Press 2 including vocals from Kurt Wagner from Lambchop. Following vinyl releases in June this has had massive play all over the shop and is set to be a mainstream success too. Great remixes available best of being 'Beatless mix' and 'Switch's Give it More Remix'. 9/10

Nic Caesar

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Simple Plan - Untitled (Lava/Atlantic) 26/09/2005

T: Like I've mentioned before, I haven't got anything against bands like Simple Plan or McFly but sure as hell wouldn't buy anything by them. Worryingly though, this sounds rather too close to an East 17 "Stay Another Day" type of tune, WAY over the top with strings and excessive sentiment. It even has the obligatory cheesy guitar solo part that is so favoured by eighties power ballads. So, as I said, I have nothing against Simple Plan but if they keep coming out with stuff like this, I may just be forced to change my views...

N: I'm sorry, after our earlier listening this morning, this is just shit. Sentimental dross, and no, it's NOT twee! This is everything I hate. I suppose, giving them their dues, these guys HAVE managed to fit this all in, making it easier for me to discard and live a happier and more fruitful life.

T: You've said it all, but it bloody well IS twee and I won't accept any arguments.

N: Alright I stand corrected, twee it is then, with shit on the side. 0/10

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Franz Ferdinand - Do You Want To (Domino) 19/09/2005

T: For some perverse reason, this is reminding me of the Bay City Rollers. Some may be horrified by this revelation, but I say bring it on - I've always had a fetish for women in tartan skirts, so if this is the start of a tartan mini-skirt revival, I'll be in my own private Utopia. The tune here, which is the first single to be taken from Franz Ferdinand's much anticipated second album, is pretty much what you'd expect from them - a pacy, catchy number which, oddly enough, stops sounding like the seventies teen idols towards the end and becomes more reminiscent of The Damned. Good move.

N: First fruits from the second phase of this group, and to be honest I can't say I'm terribly impressed. Instead finding a somewhat sluggish single that didn't ignite in the same way as their introduction. Calling it pacy would be to give too much credit to the hare.

T: But the tartan mini skirts....

N: That's just YOUR fetish. They'll be keeping files on you next.

T: Oh. I'd better take it off then. 6/10

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Juliette and the Licks - Got To Kill (Hassle) 19/09/2005

T: I have to admit, I was surprised how much I liked this band when I first heard them. I mean, let's not forget what Keanu Reeves' band sounded like, just as our yardstick. Juliette Lewis fits more in to the post punk days of the early eighties, perhaps even at times bearing a striking similarity with Pat Benatar. I've always liked songs that go "Oh oh ah ah oh" ever since Lene Lovich did "Lucky Number" as well!

N: I find it difficult to escape the image Juliette drew of herself in the character she played in "Natural Born Killers", and this current persona, although softer, is entirely in keeping. You're right - it could so easily have gone wrong, but as it happens, she can also sing. Yeah, pleasantly surprised - my view is one of a Shirley Manson similarity, although I would have liked to have seen a nastier one. 7/10

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Bloodhound Gang - Foxtrot, Uniform, Charlie, Kilo (Geffen) 19/09/2005

T: It's been a while since we heard from this bunch, and it would appear that their creative edge has been ebbing away somewhat. This drifted by making little impact and I can't remember it at all, despite the fact that it was on the CD player only a matter of seconds ago. The band's debut album and "Hooray For Boobies" were both hugely enjoyable, but I would suggest that if this is what they deem to be a strong single from the new album, they might want to retire soon.

N: Oh right. I can see what these guys are saying now. Clever to attempt to get around possible embargos like this, but is it any good? I have to say I've heard better tunes by these purveyors of childish cranks. Nice enough tune, but I can't see it sticking. 4/10

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Body Rockers - Round And Round (Mercury) 19/09/2005

T: Sounds like ZZ Top covering the BodyRockers' last single "I Like the Way". Strangely appealing all the same. No doubt another 20 odd weeks on the chart are on the horizon.

N: It's "Sharp Dressed Man" for me, but we haven't heard that for 20 years or so. I can't see it bringing those beards back into fashion though. 6/10

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Doves - Sky Starts Falling (Heavenly) 12/09/2005

T: Although this is unquestionably a very listenable single, I can't help feeling that Doves are simply regurgitating what they've done before but dressed it up in a dinner suit. Surely this is "Pounding" in a tux. Nothing wrong with this band of course, but they're no longer an artist whose forthcoming releases excite me.

N: Saying that, there always is something dependable about these guys, but it's perhaps because they're putting out the same "Best of" each time with a subtle twist to differentiate it from the last. I'd really like to see them explore something new however. Risky, but it may be less of a risk than disappearing up their own backsides. 6/10

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Goldie Lookin Chain - Your Missus Is A Nutter (Atlantic) 05/09/2005

T: I read a review of something by the GLC a while back which said "What is this band doing? Who exactly is this music FOR?" and absolutely slagged it off. Well, I can answer that - it's for ME. Totally immature, a celebration of its own crapness and tongue planted firmly in its own cheek - how can you NOT love this band?

N: I can't say that these guys are looking to make any cultural statement; just to say this is like the Streets getting down in Cardiff. Is it Charlotte Church they're talking about?

T: Hell no, they'd be FAR more rude if they were talking about her! 7/10

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Echo & The Bunnymen - Stormy Weather (Cooking Vinyl) 05/09/2005

N: I first heard this via radio airplay recently, before finally catching this from my own copy of the single and I'm pleased to recount that although first time round I was suitably impressed, second play and in my own time and space it had gotten even better. McCulloch's gloriously waxen lyrics are up front here and on the B-side 'What If We Are?', but the faster paced A-side rides a fantastically superb nod and a wink to classic Bunnymen. If this is anything to go by, and it is, McCulloch and Sergeant's pairing is a match made in heaven and one I'm certainly pleased to hear reunited.

T: It probably IS more reminiscent of the Bunnymen when they were at the absolute pinnacle of their powers, but I'm loathe to say that it is a "return to form" because I don't think McCulloch, Sergeant or any of the other Bunnymen have ever put out ANYTHING less than very good in the past. That said, this is a beautifully uplifting track that puts most bands half their age to shame. It definitely IS Heaven up here... 9/10

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Coldplay - Fix You (Parlophone) 05/09/2005

Funnily enough, such is the fashion for pre-release air-play, I'm reviewing this single whilst I can still hear the faint glimmer of the radio playing this exact tune in the next room, but in the weeks running up to the release of the current album it was this track that was deemed the natural single and yet 'Speed of Sound' had already been deemed this albums first release. Well sure enough this track was going to make it to the smaller format and come the second single to be taken from their current album, X&Y, 'Fix You' has bowed to popular pressure and been allowed its single debut.

Now given the exposure this album and its contents have had in both the media and my own personal life, 'Fix You' has become less of an attractive proposition, but this said, from its starting point with strains of the church organ and Chris's vocal in isolation, that later swells into the sort of track it is said will have the hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck rippling with anticipation, and a rythmn and pace that's so simple its magical, it really is a stroke. So put that way, this could be said to be their finest moment in a career that is surely only just starting?

Get sick of this one? Well maybe that was a little harsh, well written and superbly exercised from whatever your standpoint may be. 8/10

Nick James

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Emanuel - Soundtrack To A Headrush (Vagrant Records) 05/09/2005

Download only single - visit HMV.co.uk

T: Someone really ought to give Emanuel some tablets for their terrible bout of vomiting. I mean, it's well over 2 months since I reviewed their album and it appears they're still ill now. Sometimes you'd be forgiven for expecting Linda Blair to appear behind you with her violently spinning head. I guess if I ever start deriving pleasure from killing and gutting other people I might start enjoying this. For now though, while I'm at least semi-sane this is just a pile of poo.

N: Nuff said! 2/10

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Black Velvets - Once In A While (Vertigo) 05/09/2005

"The Black Velvets produce no nonsense glam-punk", music that couldn't be further away from recent perponents of the glammed up vibe, those cock-rock misters The Darkness. But whereas these guys couldn't really be taken seriously, Black Velvet are somewhat different in that the weight and treacle like music posseses an air of rock wannabes, a band that are taking themselves very seriously.

This said I still haven't managed to work out exactly what Black Velvet are trying to say, other than a huge amout of feedback and amps ramped up to 11. Maybe Reef might have some competition here if they were still active, but "...once in a while..." maybe enough for the Black Velvets. I'll be interested to listen to the forthcoming debut album before I draw judgement on this stage of their career. 6/10

Nick James

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Freemasons - Love On My Mind (Loaded) 22/08/2005

Great sounding house track with diva vocals and retro samples all over the shop. Has had some massive cover from all corners thus far so a big 2005 track, set to be a classic.Must buy! 8/10

Nic Caesar

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FischerSpooner - Never Win (EMI) 15/08/2005

Taken from the band's album, 'Odessey' this single is a fine document of what the group are about. Musically it vere's through crashing synths and ever riding guitars, with a solid back drop of a programmed drum pattern. Throughout the number the guitar riff is familiar to that of Pink Floyd's, 'Another Brick in the Wall', with dead-pan vocals offering an air of the classic 1979 hit, but whereas these were a sign of defiance, Fischer Spooner pleads "...don't you want to help me..., tell me what to do, tell me what to say...".

Like the Body Rockers, these guys edgy rock is filled with a dance vibe at their core and works extremely well. Audiences should be pleased, with the only downside being that the single is filled with reworkings of the same tune. 8/10

Nick James

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