Singles Reviews: Oct 2001

Thirteen : 13 - Try (Polydor)

T:         It sounds like Teenage Fanclub doesn't it?

N:        I can't say they ever poked my boat. They did have their moments, but I regret to say that this was not one of them.

T:         I actually really quite like it. One of those "nice" songs.

N:        I'd go along with that. Inoffensive, and as a consequence might actually do something. I think they've sat on the fence though. Maybe that's a bit harsh - because altogether it's not bad.

T:         I'd risk splinters from the fence though. I think it's a promising single. It used to be a B-side apparently. I can see why it's now been rejuvenated and released as a single in its own right. 7/10



1 Giant Leap - Braided Hair (Palm Pictures)

N:        All the way from one of the best dance bands of recent times, Jamie Catto jumped the Faithless ship to explore musical horizons. I last heard their debut "Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost"and have to be honest was a touch disappointed (check the download out online and tell me I'm wrong and I'll stand corrected), but this, their new single, the PM Dawn-esque "Braided Hair" is a different story entirely and shows great promise.

T:         There seems to be something in the water as regards current trends toward all things "Arrested Development", De la Soul and the aforementioned "set adrift on memory bliss" songsters. That's fine by me, as this kind of "mellow rap" appeals quite keenly to these ears. The CD also features Speech and Neneh Cherry.

N:        But what a web site! Either way, love them or loathe them, you have to check this one out. 8/10



Preston School Of Industry - Falling Away (Domino Recordings)

T:         Spiral Stairs, latest incarnation have released the best track from the album in my opinion. And it's not like I'm a Royale is such a great line and you can't really help but picture John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction when you hear it.

N:        Any reinvention featuring ex-members of Pavement would have to go a long way to do anything wrong in my humble opinion although mine is one where I consider Stephen Malkmus to have produced the better of the two albums releases. That said, I would have to go along with the opinion that this is the pick of the crop from the album, "All This Sounds Gas". A sound so many have tried to emulate. 9/10



Alabama 3 -Wade into the water

T:         I can't say, unfortunately, that the prospect of a new Alabama 3 single ever really sends tingles of excitement down my spine. However, at the same time, I never actually seem to dislike their releases either. I think this is one of their better efforts though. Is it just me, or are they starting to sound like the B-52's?

N:        It's just you! I think the only reason you've said that is because of the female vocals of Eileen Rose, featured here.

T:         No...I just thought it sounded a bit "wacky".

N:        Put your roll-ups away and listen to the music. I think from track 2 here, the live version of "Too Sick To Pray", the better of the offerings, if god were listening they'll have difficulty getting through those pearly gates, in fact I'd go as far as saying they'll be sent straight to hell, no collecting £200 either!

T:         Oooh, listen to Mr. Preacher man! Anyway it all sounds pretty mundane to me. They're like an aging eighties band that never moved on.

N:        It could well be Mr. Shaun Ryder, the MC on track two though. I think the fact that I centred in on this, might suggest that being a version of their last single, this was the stronger track. 6/10



Gloss - This is all I need (Nude)

T:         Sounds like a Super Furry Animals track as sung by The Cardigans.

N:        For me it's Kraftwerk on a chance meeting with The Cardigans or maybe even just wearing cardigans!

T:         That's a really crap joke Nick.

N:        Or Phillip Oakey circa "Travalogue"or "Reproduction".

T:         Sounds quite seventies on the chorus. Right up next to "I lost my heart to a starship trouper".

N:        In short it's nice, but that's as far as I'd go. I'm not in a hurry to wait for the shake, as it were.

T:         Me neither. It's listenable.

N:        That's bloody good, 'cos I wasn't offering.

T:         Anyway. 5/10



Goldrush - Love is here (Truck)

N:        There's so much in a name and unfortunately, if I was flicking through the new releases in my local record emporium, I would I fear I this would pass me b, based purely on the grounds of the name alone. But that said, this really isn't that bad. It's a very easy going road movie of a single.

T:         What a great quote. Normally I don't know what the feck your about.

N:        That makes two of us!

T:         It's a "nice" record more than anything else - more in line with Turin Brakes or the last Gorky's Zygotic Munci album. Particularly Gorky's in fact. 8/10



Louise - Stuck in the middle (Emi)

T:         I see. Louise has "cleverly" missed off the "with you" part of the original title so that she avoids the fact that is version A in the Guinness book of hit singles next time around. Look, this is a great song, and, whilst Louise recently informed us that she "really didn't need the world to see "my" bare breasts - after a tabloid newspaper printed topless sunbathing pictures, she has at least got her own back by inflicting this dreadful version on us.

N:        Undoubtedly a great performer, after I saw her in Nottingham on tour, she -

T:         Whoa, hold on there. Let's not just skate over this piece of information. You went to see Louise "Live", you sad sap.

N:        Er - it was the Woman in me -tour, but why does she have to release THIS which puts her in the realms of every other manufactured band of the day. I think she'll have to go some way to recover - and why release a megamix as track two? I remember listening to "Stars on 45" when I was about 11 and thinking it was great! But hey, then I got a life, I think. 3/10


Fun Lovin -Criminals -Bump/Run daddy run (Emi)

T:         Call me an old homophobe if you like, but I feel a little uncomfortable listening to Huey informing me "It's gay night / don't get uptight / it's alright."

Not that I have any objections to whatever sexuality someone chooses to be (I'd be a very sad individual indeed if I had), but I have to say that this struck me as the weakest track on the album when I first played it. Thankfully, it's a double a-side with the song I considered to be the best one.

N:        Without a doubt, definitely a retro vibe coming from Huey and the lads on the first track with clever wordplay. The second track would appear to be more in fitting with Fun Lovin Criminals.

T:         Personally I thought "Run Daddy Run" was the one with the clever wordplay outstanding lyrics.

N:        Although forgive me, because I still feel that "Come Find Yourself" was their finest hour -although I know others who would disagree with me. 7/10


Ash - Candy (Infectious)

T:         I was amazed that they never released this as the first single from their wonderful "Free All Angels" album as it was a track that stood out to me from the outset. It just about had me weeping the first few times I played it - and it is the cleverest use of the Walker Brothers, "Make It Easy On Yourself" to create one of the most moving and memorable singles of the year. I doubt if it'll get very high in the charts though. They've left it too long to release it.

N:        In difference, not necessarily MY favourite track on the album. I really can't see how this came from the group, although hopefully it will find them a wider audience. A bit too over the top for me. 8/10


Seafood - Splinter (Infectious)

T:         If you've read our album reviews this month, you will be aware of the high regard in which we hold this band.

N:        An album I see myself playing loud, at breakneck speed down the motorway. Not TOO breakneck you understand ..although some would disagree with that.

T:         And this is another great single from the album, although they are one of a number of bands this year not to have released my favourite track on their album. “Western Battle, in case you're interested.

N:        Why on earth they've had to edit the album track into a single version I don't know, as the former is by far the superior.

T:         Even so-

N:        This group kicks arse! (We are English you know!)  7/10

Garbage - Androgyny (Mushroom)

T:         Sounds oddly Oriental. I don't think it's their best single but I quite like it. It's just that in places it gets dangerously close to sounding like Texas, which wouldn't be all that pleasant.

N:        My first comment, sadly, is - very disappointing, seeing as Butch Vig produced some of the best albums of the nineties. I have little more to say.

T:         Oooh stroppy! It's not that bad, but it's only an average single I'm afraid. 6/10

 Tetra Splendour - DE-RAIL (Wishakismo)

N:        I had a dreadful feeling that this was going to be terrible, but in all honesty I can see how they deserve their signing. Not half bad.

T:         It sounds promising. The only thing that may go slightly against them is that somehow it sounds like an early eighties metal band's frontman gone solo - but set to a more indie beat than before. Then again, sometimes they sound like Pearl Jam. It's a pretty good single by all accounts. They do sound a promising band, and their diversity is noticeable, with the second track on this CD sounding like Radiohead circa "OK Computer".

N:        The only thing I can see going against them is their name! Lose the name guys somewhere at the back of the in-tray. 7/10

Roxette - Milk And Toast And Honey (EMI)

T:         Oh come on! Do you REALLY need us to tell you that this is a mediocre, wet, bland vomit inducing ballad that will only appeal to people who live on another planet and women over 50?

N:        Euro pop Heaven for those who swing that way. The press release states that the album "Room Service" has been a huge hit in Europe. Aren't we part of Europe then? In all honesty, it has to be said that, musically, we are the biggest part of Europe.

T:         Please stop the CD now.

N:        Never mind. They are the biggest group in Toytown. 2/10 (we can think of worse bands-just).

The Healers -The Last Ride (Pacific)

T:         Isn't this used on an advert? I'm sure I've heard it before. Anyway, Johnny Marr has rarely made bad records and this is no exception.

N:        Sorry Johnny, but this is how Oasis SHOULD have sounded. A fantastic debut single from the man who almost singlehandedly penned indie music in the mid-eighties.

T:         It's like a modern shoegazing anthem.

N:        If it is, it's a remarkable comeback for the trend. I have no complaints there.

T:         Of course, we all knew about Marr's musical and creative abilities before, and obviously in Morrissey and Bernard Sumner he had the chance to work with two of the greatest lyricists in the business. These two factors combine splendidly to create a superb riff heavy single that ought to appeal to anybody with a shred of taste.

N:        Genius.  9/10


Spek - Look Me Up (Echo)

T:         I'm quite a fan of "mellow rap", which is what this is.

N:        A remedy for the post summer haze.

T:         Ah. The Autumn haze. Interesting use of the Zombies,"She's Not There". I don't mind songs being sampled or used in a creative way like this. I just hate the ones that are covered note for note by boy bands as a practically carbon copy - or the less talented DJs who grab an old record and put a new drum machine beat over the top that took about two minutes to program.

N:        In closing, slick presentation and laid back air.

T:         Well I wanted to say something else actually! It's the kind of CD you can put on in the background while you're hovering up, or clearing the mess off your coffee table -or, if you're anything like me, staring vacantly at the ceiling. 8/10

Lowgold -Beauty Dies Young (Nude)

N:        Taken from the band's debut album, "Just Backward Of Square", this is a re-release of their earlier single. This time reworked by Graham Coxon.

T:         Lowgold also have a lead singer who looks uncannily like my ex-mate who ran off with my girlfriend of the time, not long after I'd bought a house with her. Maybe it IS him and he's changed his name and accent to fool me! No, hang on, it can't be - because this bloke has written some fantastic uplifting songs such as this pearl of a single. The chap I used to be friends with was about as talented as a drunk wood pigeon.

N:        A single of true single proportions, where B-sides exist, and compete head to head with their A-side siblings. 8/10

The Mansions - Rock & Roll

T:         Although this band have been compared in the American music press with the likes of Suede, Blur, Pulp, The Smiths and Radiohead, I have to say that to me they sound nothing like any of them. The one band that sprang to mind near the beginning of this single was the Violent Femmes. If we're going to make any kind of Britpop references here, we can mnaybe say that the chorus is very Damon Albarn circa "Modern Life Is Rubbish". It all makes for quite an exciting release.

N:        An exciting band in every possible sense of the word. It is groups like this that show the competition the way to go and exactly what they have to live up to. Well produced, and possessing that rock'n' roll image that so many aspire to. Good website with lots of downloads.

T:         I think this is definitely a band to watch in the near future. 8/10

45's -Something Real (Ugly Man)

T:         A brit-pop 10cc.

N:        There are so many likenesses that can be drawn here, most of all emanating from the 70's prog-rock genre. But with that said they've got the mixture correct in that I went away on first listen, with the melody riding through my head.

T:         Thankfully Something Real sounds more like Supergrass by the time it finishes. So it gets my vote. 8/10

 Tall Tin Box - God's Love.

On paper this sounds like it should be massive (Tall Paul, Darren Stokes of Tin Tin Out & Danielle Davoli of Black Box amongst others) but unfortunately, it is atrocious.  It sounds like it was recorded in someones bedroom.  It has got those terrible "hands in the air" type screams, as favoured by early 90's italian house producers, all though it, whilst a pumping beat drags the track along.  The only saving grace for the track is the "Original Club Mix", but even this is only just passable.

Do Not Buy This. 0.5 / 5 Martyn Owen


 Planet Perfecto - Bites Da dust.

Shameless rip off.  I think that somes this one up quite aptly.  To do this sort of track takes very little imagination.  After what was a massive tune last year in Bullet in the Gun, to follow it up with this seems a bit odd really.  The bassline from Queens "Another one bites the dust" is awesome, but so recognisable that to use it in its original form, as is done here, means you have to have created something really special otherwise you risk being torn apart for it.  Unfortunately, this isn't something even remotely special. Using  the sample of "Der Schreiber" by Timo Maas, another massive track, is a good idea, but the total package leaves me feeling nothing.  Disappointing. 2.5 / 5 Martyn Owen


 Nilo - A Summer Song (Be my friend)

This is one of my favorite songs of the year.  Go straight for the "Sunset friendly mix", which is exactly what it is.  You could picture yourself on the rocks outside your favorite beach bar watching the sunset (It really is that beautiful).  All that is missing is a San Miguel, and a suntan.  It is a floaty, guitar led track with a simple sentimental vocal that makes you want to do nothing except sit and listen.  My only criticism is the release date, as  surely that summer mood has gone until next year.

Bring back the sunshine. 4.5 /5 Martyn Owen


 Llorca (with Lady Bird) - My Precious Thing.

"Laid-back Jazz House"??, is that a genre?  I don't know, but it does sum up "my Precious Thing".  The vocals by Lady Bird are magical and enchanting, helping you drift away.  The Radio Version, is a very relaxed affair, with "smokey jazz club" piano, and percussion, but with a traditional 4:4 house beat behind it which all works well.  The Llorca Rework treats the track with the respect it deserves whilst upping the tempo a little, but not to the detriment of the track, however, it is still too slow to be played in a club in my opinion.  The other remix on the single is the Rollercone vocal,  again this ups the tempo, and reminds me of the Masters At Work, without the overindulgence in the brass section.  This is, in fact, the best remix on the CD. 4 / 5 Martyn Owen


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