Single Reviews: October 2003

 

John Cale – Things (EMI)

As our readers will be aware, we were well impressed here at the AD office with the legendary old codger’s recent album and this track from it is no exception. The one thing that struck me the most about this as a standalone piece though, is how much it sounds like a composition by the recently departed songwriting genius Warren Zevon. That’s just fine by me though – “Excitable Boy” would rate as one of my all time favourite albums anyway. An interesting take on the lead track follows in the form of “Things X” which features all manner of instruments played in a warped, backwards fashion. The overall effect is that of being run over by a golf cart whilst trying to look up a lady golfer’s trouser leg. 8/10

Tone E

 
 

 

The Holiday Plan – The Holiday Plan e.p. (Fallout Recordings)


A steadily growing fanbase is evident where the Holiday Plan are concerned, having supported Biffy Clyro, thisGIRL, Brand New, Jarcrew, Billy Talent and the magnificent Jetplane Landing on their recent tours.

Well, there’s no getting away from the fact The Fly has set a blueprint for any future releases of this band. I’m more than a tad impressed with the insightfulness shown by the guys at that magazine – they claim that The Holiday Plan are “the best bits of Funeral For a Friend and Million Dead married with melodic, pop sensibilities and super-fucked in the ear”.
Well, I don’t know about the “best bits” but the rest of that description is practically impossible to better. I don’t doubt this band’s potential, but on my virgin listen, they leave me unconvinced. 6/10

Tone E

 
 

 

Future Kings of Spain – Hanging Around (Red Flag)

An Irish three piece whose work to date vehemently denies their tender age. I would imagine the band have taken a fair deal of inspiration from Frank Black in the not too distant past as well as (and this is one artist who ought to copyright his name as I’ve used it so often to establish various bands’ influences) Mark Linkous. Anyway, this is a delightful three track single full of peaks and troughs and a tribute to the recent movie “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” - a story about a rocker who undergoes a sex change. Hmmm…is there something you’re not telling us guys? 9/10

Tone E

 
 

 

Tahiti 80 – 1000 Times (Atmospheriques)

Though I have dismissed this band in the past as Jamiroquai wannabes, I’d have to admit that there is a far more laid back feel in the production of Tahiti 80’s music. It’s still unlikely to grace my CD player too often though, I’ll grant you that. It’s just a little too carefree for my liking…which is a strange thing to say because I normally LIKE carefree music. In fact, the less care that is taken by a band, the more likely I am to like it. I think, in my lopsided way of thinking, what I’m trying to say here is that Tahiti 80 come across sounding carefree, but at the same time it’s obvious that they’ve put a great deal of care and effort into the music. Uuuurgh shall I just shut up now? 7/10

Tone E

 
 

 

Broken Social Scene - Cause=Time (Mercury)

I will let Rolling Stone magazine take up the introduction of this band: "With as many as sixteen members and song titles such as "I'm Still Your Fag", Broken Social Scene have improbably produced one of the year's freshest indie-rock albums - "You Forgot It In People". Brimming with symphonic clatter, subtle atmospherics, "People" is what might result if a jazz orchestra wrote first rate pop tunes and recorded them in a garage". So what do we think of the Canadian outfit?

T: Is it just me, or is this month the best we've had for superb singles in several issues?

N: I don't think so, but then again, we do know that we tend to share the same cycle!

T: A ballsy track that will have you jumping around samshing things. Incidentally, because of Nick's recent comment about menstruation, allow us to become transexual for the next few reviews as the lovely Nicola and Tonya take over. 9/10

 
 

 

British Sea Power - Remember Me (Rough Trade)

The band achieved their second consecutive top 40 hit with this single recently and are currently in the midst of a new tour. So what did the girls think?

T: (high pitched voice) Oooh it's a bit noisy isn't it? What do you think Nicola? Do you reckon they should have got that nice R Kelly in to do the production?

N: Will this wondrous torture never end?

T: YOU MEN ARE ALL THE SAME. Always thinking about yourselves....

N: {silence)

T: Do you want me to stop being a girl now?

N: Well I know at times we find it fun, but the wife's in the next room, and she'll catch on that something's afoot.

T: Ok back to sensibilities then. This sounds like a duet between David Bowie and Jarvis Cocker over an atmospheric soundtrack.

N: Two great songwriters, one great film then! 8/10

web site

 
 

 

Jane's Addiction - True Nature (Parlophone)

T: Perry Farrell. He does exactly what it says on the tin.

N: And what is that, pray tell?

T: Creates exciting, engrossing music that never seems that different to any of Jane's Addiction's previous stuff, yet still manages to captivate the listener to the extent that the music still sounds fresh and original.

N: I was right then - squeals like a stuck pig and rocks like Kurt Cobain on acid, which is pretty good, considering he's been dead almost ten years. This is a standout track on the recently released "Strays", but as the whole album itself is filled with standout tracks, we could be here some time. I do however have a cunning plan to which you will reply "What's that then?" and then I will come back by saying, as Bowie almost said, "Let's mark". 9/10

web site

 
 

 

Paul Jackson - Rock & Roll (Underwater Records)

After the success of 'The Push' I would like to say this track does it for me, but it doesnt. Its a good track but its just not my thing. It doesnt move me at all. Some of the elements within the mix do, so maybe a good remix might get a better response from me. Its good atmospheric stuff but it just not funky enough for me.
The B side however is another story altogether. As tough sounding as 'Rock and Roll' but 'The Way we do it' just has more of a unique personality and is a real groover!! This is the first release from Underwater that hasnt totally inspired me, but then you can please everyone, all of the time! 6/10

Nic Caesar

web site

 
 

 

The Strokes – 12:51 (Rough Trade)

Julian Casablancas and friends have a hell of a lot to live up to, having released such a hugely successful, not to mention deservedly critically acclaimed debut album in “Is This It?” and they’ve started off in fine fettle indeed. Not much has changed – the corking riffs are still intact, Jules still sounds as though he is singing through a tin of baked beans (I LOVE that effect) and the melody is equally as infectious as anything on its predecessor once you’ve played it a few times. In other words, it’s perhaps not as instant as, say, “Last Nite” or “Hard To Explain”, but give it time and if it fails to win you over, well, you may as well go and watch your Fame Academy video before it’s past your bedtime. 9/10

Tone E

 
 

 

The Movielife – Jamestown (Drive Thru / Eat Sleep)

A lot of expectant eyebrows have been raised in regard to this band. Several journalists seem to have them inked in as the “next big thing” but to be honest, to this unassuming journo they just sound like a rather more testosterone charged version of Sum 41. No disrespect meant there – I mean I actually have a soft spot for the aforementioned band, such is their “We know we’re uncool and we don’t care” stance on their position within the industry – but although this is undoubtedly a decent rock tune, it doesn’t really work on a personal level for me. And anyway, who cares? They’ve split up now. 6/10

Tone E

 
 

 

The Sleepy Jackson – Good Dancers (Virgin)

If you can get past the fact that the intro sounds a little similar to Amen Corner’s sugary “(If Paradise Is) Half As Nice, you will find a far greater depth herein. The only problem with it is that you find yourself loving the thing the first couple of times you hear it, but after that it becomes a little too monotonous and you realise there really is nothing much to it at all. That said, simplicity often produces the best results and if they’re going for immediate impact they are definitely on to a winner. 7/10

Tone E

 
 

 

A Perfect Circle – Weak and Powerless (Virgin)

This is basically what the Men They Couldn’t Hang would sound like if they#d joined forces with REM, though to be honest it doesn’t really do a lot for me. It has its moments, genarally when it’s at its most “Stipe like”, but it’s far from exciting and I think I would have preferred a more feral production than it has. We’ve been blessed with a lot of top singles this month, and although this is much better than the steaming pile of poo that pollutes our national charts and airwaves on a regular basis, it’s still my least favourite of the bunch (except perhaps for Chicks On Speed). 6/10

Tone E

 
 

 

Machine Gun Fellatio – Roller Coaster (Doublestrike)

I keep swearing the theme tune t Film ’89 or whatever year it was is going to break in after the opening bars of this single. A bluesy singalong number that informs you that “You’re like a rollercoaster in a big four poster bed”. Interesting. Whether that means you go like the clappers or like to have several people riding you at any one time is open to question, but that aside, this is a swanky and even rather smug tune that is difficult to shak out of your head. 7/10

Tone E

 
 

 

Brand New – The Quiet Things That No-one Ever Knows (Sore Point)

A delightful single that really IS emo at its very best. Maybe the label of “emo” is becoming a tad overused these days, but there’s no getting away from the fact that this most definitely IS. It’s easy to forget that this band has been around for three whole years now and they’ve come on in leaps and bounds since then. Having said that, when the you have the likes of Steve Haigler (The Pixies, Quicksand) acting as your producer, it’s probably not too hard to sound great. The main track is coupled with an acoustic ditty imaginatively titled “Jude Law and a Semester Abroad”, and is also quite charming. The rise to fame continues…and then some. 9/10

Tone E

 
 

 

Funeral For a Friend – She Drove Me to Daytime Television
(Bullet Theory)


Funeral For a Friend are one of those bands you either love or hate. Sadly for them, I fall into the latter category generally speaking. I can’t get the notion out of my head that they are nothing but Deftones wannabes with delusions of grandeur. However, I would have to admit that this new single is the closest the band has come to winning me over. Boasting one of the best titles in recent history, this does actually pull all the right strings to prevent them sounding like Raging Speedhorn in their foulest temper – like they normally do. They’ve still got some way to go before they convince me they’re worthy, but hey, this is the first rung on the ladder anyway! 7/10

Tone E

 
 

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