Single Reviews: October 2002


Econoline - Full Tar (Seriously Groovy Music Ltd)

NME recently claimed that this London quartet sounded like Dinosaur Jr, Get-Up Kids and The Cure swiping at swarms of bees. A feasible comparison or a shoddy assessment?

T: Dinosaur Jr I can see in abundance. Not convinced about the other comparisons though. What do you reckon?

N: Sometimes, I wonder just what they put in the coffee in the offices of these big magazines. Reach up into the air, grab a handful of comparisons and see what comes back. It's like the rawness possessed in many a late eighties indie tune, and sounds great for it too.

T: Yeah late eighties without a doubt. In fact, the third track here, "The Flypast Is Go" reminds me enormously of early Wedding Present stuff. Kind of like a "retro-indie band". 7/10




Idlewild - Live In A Hiding Place (Parlophone)

Idlewild have successfully gleaned a new legion of fans after the release of their recent "The Remote Part" album. They recently returned from Hollywood where they filmed the video for the single under the direction of Wim Wenders, the man responsible for such cult classics as "Paris Texas" and "Wings of Desire". So is this single a blockbuster or a turkey?

T: When I first played this album, I instantly took this one to be the outstanding track, but to be honest I am a little bewildered to see it released as a single. It's a beautiful song but something tells me it should have remained an album track. Am I making sense here or just gibbering a load of bollocks?

N: I have found their album to be a real grower, and having recently seen the band live I have to say that this has completely turned around my opinion of them. Album track or single track? I have to say this possesses the essence of Idlewild, and as such - why not release it as a single?

T: I just was expecting it to be one of those albums I returned to a few years later and thought "Great album, but as usual they never released the best track". So I suppose it's a little bit of artistic snobbery on my part. Feel free to pull my nose and call me Cuthbert if you like.

N: "Cuthbert"!

T: ......Ow! 9/10




DNA Doll - Happy Valley / Everyone Loves Stars (Marshmallow Records)

DNA Doll unashamedly fucking the barely warm corpse of rock. Necrophilia or just an excuse to grow a poodle perm?

T: I have a feeling that this band's going to do a Milli Vanilli on us. I can just see Axl Rose jumping out of Marc Eden's stage costume whilst Kiss burst forth from the remaining members. I'm not entirely sure how long they've been living in their "Happy Valley" but one thing's for sure - the outside world's moved on somewhat since the eighties.

N: Essence of late eighties rock certainly, but before this group went into the studio, do you not sense that the night before they watched the "Rocky Horror Picture Show". The press release describes Marc as having the voice of a KY lubricated Robert Plant. Does he not know which orifice in which to use it? He might find his music benefits greatly from reading the instructions on the packet! 4/10




Athlete - Beautiful (Parlophone)

Following their top 40 hit "You Got The Style", Athlete have received rapturous receptions at V2002 and T in the Park. Being regularly mentioned in the same breath as Coldplay will have done them no harm either. But will they survive under the Atomicduster spotlight.

N: I really can't understand the creaming that once again NME offer up to this group - "Oh, this is beautiful..." are words they strongly advise we learn. Why? The song is ultimately boring, the segway two thirds of the way through is in my opinion the only shining light in this sub four minutes of boredom.

T: I would love to disagree with everything you've said, but I'm afraid I can't - and if you like the band, let me just nullify their credibility even more by mentioning that I can't help thinking of David Essex when I hear this bloke's voice. 5/10



Magnet - Chasing Dreams (Ultimate Dilemma)

Now that we've decided that this group are not Magnum, perish the thought, we are free to listen with an open mind. With echoes of 'Mark & Lard's' (UK Radio One) single of the week ringing through our minds and surely giving this group an unequivocal 'thumbs-up', Magnet comes in the form of Bergen's 'song writing troubador' Even Johansen. His music described as: wonderful, beautiful, delicate, fragile and emotive, we'll leave it there otherwise this could take all evening, but what did we think?

T: I like the musical diversity going on deep down in the heart of this track, but unfortunately the vocals make me think of Savage Garden, which puts me off a little to be frank.

N: If you were hoping for anything truly original, then you'll be sadly disappointed. I can see why a Radio One DJ is going to vote this as Single Of The Week as it's inoffensive, and is ultimately radio friendly. Foot tappingly nice.

T: But your mum would probably like it. And that's not necessarily a good thing... 6/10

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Moco - Where She Goes (Poolside)

Heralded by the Manchester Evening Post as the "best live band in Manchester", can Moco live up to such praise?

N: Sadly not. Is that now or forever?

T: Now probably. Maybe all the current Manchester bands are shit.

N: I think you've hit the nail on the head there.

T: Musically Supergrass could have written these songs, but had this been the case, they would have housed a more slapstick quality, and Gaz Coombes would have carried the whole thing off a damn sight more effectively. 6/10

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The Vines - Outtathaway (Heavenly)

Nominated for just about every major music prize award over the last six months, The Vines are certainly one of the "bands of the moment". But how likely are they to make it to the 2002 AD Awards ceremony?

T: There seems to be an obsession in this country at the moment with bands that sounds like your younger brother's outfit who perform with too many distortion pedals in your next door neighbour's dad's garage. I'm not averse to this kind of stuff and that is a great guitar riff in this song, but when you've heard your thousandth band of this ilk it tends to grate a little.

N: There I would tend to disagree. Certainly in terms of longevity, I don't think I'll be listening to this band in twelve months time, but as for the moment, their exhilerating rush is obviously what all the fuss is about. This group may be more Brian Jones than Charlie Watts - better to burn out than fade away. 7/10

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Ashton Lane - Yesterday's Too Late (Chrysalis)

We lost the press release for this single, so we'll just have to make something up. Or make it up yourself if you like. She can be a one legged, ukelele playing dwarf if you like. Yes, ok then, that's what she is, and this single's a food fight with an ostrich. That'll do.

N: One of those singles that may well get inside your head and rattle around for what seems like an eternity, but I suspect this is going to lead to total annoyance rather than utter ecstasy. Why are all these singles "nice" and nothing more? Have we all got too complacent in our centrally heated castles? Maybe Sainsburys should introduce "Free Range Shopping", issue rifles at the door and leave us to fend for ourselves while we attempt to "bring home the bacon". Perhaps this will inspire the punkiness, rather than the couchiness.

T: I disagree. I think it would only work at Asda. 5/10

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Sondre Lerche - Sleep On Needles (Virgin)

Citing Burt Bacharach, Cole Porter, Beck and the High Llamas as his biggest influences, Norwegian Sondre Lerche has already notched up a top 3 single, a grammy and a gold album back in his native country. Over here, as he asks in this single - is he likely to succeed?

T: Aside from the fact that the chorus of this track sounds like a sped up version of the Beatles' "She's Leaving Home", this is a rather jauntily appealing single. I can't help feeling there is a strong undercurrent of a certain band whose name escapes me at present...unless the ed can help.

N: Finally some lyrical inspiration, even if the essence is a little derivative, of what we're unsure, but I'm certain this is going to be an issue that will live until we have solved the puzzle.

T: I've solved it. It sounds like Mull Historical Society to me. Anyway, certainly one of the better releases this month. 8/10

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Richard Ashcroft - Check The Meaning (Hut)

I doubt whether the ex-Verve frontman needs any introduction, so we'll just say that this is the first single from his forthcoming album "Human Conditions".

N: Well this has to have something as it's got the team transfixed...

T: I was going to say that I am relieved. Why? Because not so long ago, Richard Ashcroft released a couple of rather upbeat numbers that, if you really listened carefully, sounded like songs that Ronan Keating may have written. So it is with great relief that we discover the man has gone back to his roots and returned with an entrancing single, making use of an unorthodox string loop as the backdrop . Back on form with a bullet.

N: Like a bar of wet soap sliding across the floor, Richard moves throughout this song with effortless ease. 9/10

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Raging Speedhorn - Fuck the Voodooman

Presently the most rock 'n roll band in rock, Raging Speedhorn release this, the second single from their "We Will Be Dead Tomorrow" album on 28th October.

T: This band sounds like I would sound if I'd just drunk six pints of lager, had just had my house repossessed and someone was repeatedly trying to set fire to my earlobe with their lighter.

N: A group for the unwashed, pus filled generation. Maybe I'm past it, but this is not rock 'n roll...

T: In a nutshell it's agressive, defiant and about as much fun as injecting mercury into your testicles. 0/10



Turin Brakes - Long Distance (Source)

Achieving the rare distiction of being a sleeping giant - pretenders to the crown of "media darlings", Turin Brakes have so far managed modest success in the UK, but have quietly picked up a plethora of music prize nominations along the way as well as two top 40 singles. This single is released on 21st october.

N: Anything has got to sound better than the last offering, but these guys at least served up a Verse-chorus-verse with melody and rhythm to boot. You will be pleased to know that they can actually play their instruments too.

T: I find this band a refreshing change. They're not doing anything particularly new, but they manage to sound intimate and original regardless. This single is a haunting slice of tremelo coated indie pie. It was worth the wait. 9/10



Praise Cats - Shined On Me (Subliminal Records INC)

Shined on Me was originally a limited release on the ‘Subliminal Soul’ label last December and since then has experienced success in France and in Italy and has recently been picked up by PIAS Recordings for release in the UK on both 12” and cd.

Shined on Me is an uplifting house tune which combines all too common piano chords, a funk influenced bass line and competent gospel vocals to produce a track which sounds a little outdated and under produced. The catchy vocals and basic song structure adds to it’s commercial appeal and undoubtedly added to it’s cross-over success both on the radio and dance floor in Italy. The UK cd release features both radio edit and original versions of the track as well as a much needed remix from Italian producers Bini and Martini. On it’s own merits Shined on Me lacks the production that features in contemporary house music and although will have no problem finding it's way into a DJ’s set, in my opinion the original version will fail to achieve anthem status. The Bini and Martini remix attempts to breathe new life into the track and does this with great success by using delayed guitar solos, contemporary synth timbres and effective build ups without altering the integrity and vibe of the original version.

Overall, producer E-Smoove generated a good base for a successful tune with Shined on Me but it took the talents of Bini and Martini to give it a contemporary “make-over” and as a result has giving this track the potential to propel itself into dance floor anthem status. Saved by the remix!!!

7/10 Jhonus

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Radio 4 - Dance To The Underground (City Slang)

From the critically acclaimed album "Gotham", Radio 4 release their new single on 18th November.

T: Who's been listening to The Clash then?

N: Obviously nothing terribly original, but you'll be surprised when your feet catch the beat. In my opinion there's nothing wrong with plagiarism when it's done well, and this group, whether it be unsuspecting or not, have made a fine job of it.

T: Indeed. This particular number could have easily been sneaked onto the cult heroes' "London calling" album and nobody would have been any the wiser. And that is the highest praise I could heap on them.

N: I'm certain Mick Jones would be proud. 8/10

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British Sea Power - Childhood memories (Rough Trade)

Having toured with Clinic, Cooper Temple Clause and Electric Soft Parade of late, BSP are currently putting the final touches to their debut album. This single is released on 4th November.

T: It might sound materialistic of me, but just seeing that this record is on Rough Trade makes me realise that it's more than likely to be a good tune. The fact that it sounds exactly like Kitchens of Distinction is neither here nor there. It's an enjoyable track that builds and builds to its finishing peak...and the second track sounds like (very) early Roxy Music!

N: As I recall, I wet myself over the release of the group's last single, but at first listen, this one failed to make the same impression, but if there were ever a grower, this is it. British Sea Power have just poured fuel on the fire that is the expectation of their forthcoming album. 9/10



Coldplay - The Scientist (EMI)

What more of an introduction do this band need? Even Justin Timberlake cites them as one of his main influences...erm...yes...of course they are Justin...

N: With the release of their debut single from "Rush of Blood", I felt disappointed, and the further media praise over a forthcoming album just sailed over my head, but "In My Place" got under my skin and left an indelible mark, and the album wasn't that bad either. Sorry, did I say that? "Bloody fantastic" more like. This is another diamond, but don't overlook the B-side, "1.36".

T: Which features a certain Mr Tim Wheeler on additional guitar, and sees Coldplay in an altogether more rocked out mode. I, like yourself, was at first disappointed in "In My Place", but would have to concede that I also eventually learned to love it. "The Scientist" however, always stood out like a wart on the end of your nose as being the best track on the second album. Maybe the band have been rather oversaturated by the music industry, but if this single is a glimpse of the future, they deserve every inch of success they already have. 9/10

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