Singles Round-up (07/07/08)
- Underworld »
- White Denim »
- Those Dancing Days »
- Let's Wrestle »
- Metronomy »
- Born Ruffians »
- Wet Dog »
- N*E*R*D »
- Portishead »
- The Last Shadow Puppets »
Let’s Wrestle – ‘I’m In Fighting Mode’ (Stolen)
“I always win,” states Let’s Wrestle frontman (and genuinely brilliant lyricist) WPG here, and anyone who’s been charmed by the London trio in recent months would find it hard to argue otherwise – scrappy, rough-edged, utterly charming and wholly beguiling, Let’s Wrestle are three kids making the absolute most of a relative modicum of musical know-how. “I’ll sing the songs of truth… I’ll teach YOU a lesson”… and if that’s the case any hater had better not mess with the threesome, as their signature track ‘Let’s Wrestle’ features on the flip: “Let’s wrestle… let’s FUCKING wrestle…” is the sing-along, prior to violent nonsense about biting off mouths and fingers and noses. Get my t-shirt off and get in the mud? Sure thing.
ALSO OUT TODAY
Portishead – ‘The Rip’ (Island)
An eerily beautiful turn from vocalist Beth Gibbons, far sweeter than elsewhere on this single’s parent LP Third (review), bleeds into propulsive beats as Portishead continue to wow with their belated comeback material. A softer standalone than lead single ‘Machine Gun’, ‘The Rip’ is more typical of style, one of its feet with a toe in previous glory boxes, but there’s an edginess to this trio’s post-millennium work that wasn’t always obvious when Dummy was wheeled out at cocktail parties. Superlative stuff.
N*E*R*D – ‘Everybody Nose’ (Interscope)
You can look at N*E*R*D’s latest from third album Seeing Sounds (review) two ways: one, it’s a party banger to bounce to, ignoring the stupid lyrics about snorting the naughty salt; or two it’s a stupid song about the naughty salt that’s not quite banging enough to bypass the impression that Pharrell Williams is on cruise control here. Me, I fall short of bouncing quite enough, and get bogged down in the crap about queuing for the loos to not piddle. (Can you do both? Is that permissible under the rulings of druggie etiquette?) Still, it’s typically slick arrangement wise, if a little over automated – the feeling remains that The Neptunes spend more time on others’ than they do their own.
The Last Shadow Puppets – ‘Standing Next To Me’ (Domino)
Try though I have since the release of the duo’s The Age Of Understatement debut (review), I’ve not been able to love The Last Shadow Puppets as other, more prominent critics have. ‘Standing Next To Me’ follows the formula laid down by all previous experiences: sweeping strings, gorgeous production, the Monkey and the Rascal rambling on about mysterious dalliances with desire, with ill-advised longings of the heart. It’s very pretty, the sort of thing a musicologist proper would digest nicely. But there’s no bite, no depth below the shimmering top surface. It’s pop fluff dressed as retro-inspired grandeur.
Video: ‘Standing Next To Me’
Underworld – ‘Ring Road’ (Underworldlive)
Karl Hyde goes monotonous Mike Skinner as Underworld drift into stripped-beats and spoken-words territories, the rapid pulse of their best forgotten for a clunk and thud that’s more Portishead on autopilot than Photek on pills. Truth be told, this is a weak track given the experience of the group in question, and is unlikely to rank amongst its makers’ many hands-aloft anthems.
Born Ruffians – ‘Hummingbird’ (Warp)
Another skeletal jangler to get skin prickling down the indie disco like the best of Vampire Weekend’s self-titled record. Lifted from their recently released Red, Yellow & Blue album (review), ‘Hummingbird’ clatters along with a beaming grin on its mug, all fuzzy guitars and rollicking drum rolls, and vocals that recall Animal Collective’s more accessible chant-alongs. Canadians Born Ruffians might be late to the party, but they’ve brought some delicious punchiness, so just this once we’ll let them in.
Metronomy – ‘Holiday’ (Because)
Surely it’s time Metronomy were given a crack at the mainstream? For the last few years they’ve been putting out records that shimmy and shake like Hot Chip with the jitters, squelches in place of slides, wonky vocals where others would slot a no-brainer lyrical hook. They’re smarter than they let on, this lot, and ‘Holiday’ hiccups its way through three-minutes-forty like an Atari ST with gas – completely left-of-centre but quite excellently in tune with other floor-fillers. G’wan, kids: give them the chance they’re begging for.
White Denim – ‘All You Really Have To Do’ (Full Time Hobby)
It’s got a groove, a howl, a beat you can jive to: White Denim pull no hidden cards from their ragged sleeves on the second single from LP Workout Holiday, but their naked and unashamed blues-sozzled garage fuzz ripples with pop savvy enough to get the most lethargic of limbs flailing in appreciation.
Wet Dog – ‘Alibi’ (Angular)
While Let’s Wrestle take their limited palette and paint wonderfully absorbing stories, Wet Dog muddle onwards with a nonchalant drone for a front and a forgettable line in indecipherable vocals – just a chatter of high-end squeaks – and wind up impressing nobody. ‘Alibi’ is the worst kind of have-a-go noise, executed by inarticulate individuals with no passion for their chosen art. At least, the coldness of this recording suggests as much.
Those Dancing Days – ‘Run Run’ (Wichita)
A little ray of sunshine when the outside’s turning foul, Swedish gals Those Dancing Days whip out their organs for a joyous romp of swaggering pop with more than a pinch of ‘60s girl-group soulfulness. ‘Run Run’ seems rather slight when not delivering its celebratory chorus, but it’s the best single yet from these youngsters and once the sun cracks through the clouds will seem even better.
Video: ‘Run Run’