SINGLE OF THE WEEK
Jeniferever – Nangijala EP (Club AC30,pictured)
Accusatory comments of nepotism, be gone. This EP offers expected sumptuousness from the formerly DiS-signed Swedes that, while offering long-term fans little beyond what was heard on their Choose A Bright Morning LP, rattles and drones, twinkles and sweeps quite exquisitely. Personally there’s still the feeling that vocalist Kristofer Jönson is a weak link in the band, as his frail tones lend the unfolding instrumental drama no additional weight (although his guitar contributions are essential), but there’s a meticulously considered balance to the quartet’s arrangements that’s otherwise close to perfection. The slow-release title-track is backed by a pair of more instantaneous songs on its flip (the EP comes on delicious blue vinyl), making this quite the pleasant little package for fans of post-rock and shoegaze acts from across the sea.
ALSO OUT TODAY
Fat Freddy’s Drop – ‘Camel’ (Kartel)
Dub-heavy reggae-tinged stuff from award-winning New Zealand seven-piece Fat Freddy’s Drop that, while positively dripping laidback summertime vibes, feels completely lost amongst the ever-morphing guises of modern pop music. This is the sort of track you’d quite happily sup a cider over ice to while the August sun dropped to the horizon, but quite how often you’d want to hear it without such situational context is questionable; it merrily shuffles its way along, suiting well a tapped thumb on a picnic table but little body-moving beyond that.
Data Select Party – ‘No Girls Allowed’ / ‘You Should Know Bedda’ (Small Town Records)
Londoners Data Select Party have got all the Q And Not U albums, and probably burned a couple of Faraquet records when they were younger, too. No shame in that, though, and while such influences shine through brightly on this double-A, the foursome’s execution is bubbly and their vocals (more than one member steps up) are chirpy and engaging. Coming on like I Was A Cub Scout if they’d roped in a couple of Tubelords and a JoFo for an underground twiddle-rock supergroup, ‘No Girls Allowed’ is the more instant-hitting of the brace, but the slower, lovelorn-tinged ‘You Should Know Bedda’ sounds like a fanclub sing-along to be.
Stricken City – ‘Tak o Tak’ / ‘Bardou’ (Adventures Close To Home)
The debut double-A from London’s Stricken City, fronted by the awesomely named Rebekah Raa, is a lo-fi thwack-and-“doot”-along with bonus synths on one side (‘Tak o Tak’) and a bluesy torch song in the vein of The Duke Spirit on the other (‘Bardou’). There’s not quite enough meat here to get a decent taste of the foursome’s broader repertoire – see them at the Vortex Jazz Club on August 3 to develop any initial impression – but this seven-inch’s sweetly scratchy production can’t mask the glossy pop these newcomers are clearly capable of. ‘Bardou’ in particular bodes well for the future, as it builds in volume and pace to a breathless climax.
Video: Stricken City, ‘Tak o Tak’
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Fight Like Apes – ‘Lend Me Your Face’ (PIAS)
Remember The Chalets? They did this punchy girl-fronted fight-pop a lot better. This is just under two minutes of shouting and screaming atop a bunch of keyboards being kicked around an empty warehouse – the threatening tones of singer MayKay ring hollow and, despite a lot of energy, come the song’s ending there’s no pay-off for the listener. Where there should be blazing fireworks there’s just a damp sparkler and no gloves.
Micachu – ‘Golden Phone’ (Accidental)
Micachu – she who fronts the trio …And The Shapes – is a front-girl with plenty of attitude, and so far has penned songs enough to exhibit obvious pop potential. She’s not out of university yet, though, so it’d be wise of Accidental to take things slow here and allow these buds to blossom. ‘Golden Phone’ is a glitched-up re-imagining of something Jamie T might’ve conjured a couple of years back – a simple narrative set to quirky beats and pieces displaying more than a modicum of originality. It’s fairly slight of frame compared to some of the material DiS recently witnessed live (hide your Hoover if you do see the band in person), but Micachu’s heavily-accented east-end-isms dominate, marking her out as an anti-Adele for those burnt-out by too many ballads.
Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip – ‘Letter From God To Man’ (Sunday Best)
A.K.A. the Radiohead one, seeing as it samples ‘Planet Telex’ ‘til you can’t even hear what producer Le Sac has added to the mix. Try though I have to fully get into Scroobius Pip’s rhymes – tight, tumultuous, tongue-twisting – as yet I’ve failed, and again ‘Letter From God To Man’ has me appreciating the man’s ability but caring not for what he’s actually saying. There’s something about war in there, and environmental woes, but… well, we have heard it all before. Only without a Big Fat ‘Planet Telex’ sample to distract us from the message, man.
Video: Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, ‘Letter…’
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Sam Sparro – ‘21st Century Life’ (Island)
Sam Sparro’s got the funk for sure, but it’s not quite as enjoyable on this single as it seemed while ‘Black & Gold’ dominated the singles chart top five. ‘21st Century Life’ glistens with expertly-applied studio magic, and Sparro’s got a great set of pipes on him, with plenty enough power in his vocals to carry high-energy pop like this, but… the overall result isn’t quite up to the on-paper promise. Plus the lyrics are truly weak, making that stuff about fish swimming out of the ocean positively Shakespearean. A disappointing follow-up to one of 2008’s few phenomenon-level single releases.
The Pigeon Detectives – ‘Everybody Wants Me’ (Dance to the Radio)
It might sound crass at first, but the lyric “Everybody wants me now / but I just want you” is actually pretty sweet, especially given the rather base-level emotional nature of many of The Pigeon Detectives’ singles to date. Of course the chorus is delivered in perfect holler-along fashion here, encouraging lagered-up northerners of a particular musical bent to bellow ‘til they’re (mercifully) hoarse, but there’s a tenderness to vocalist Matt Bowman’s performance that has this critic wondering if he’s previously given the Leeds outfit an overly raw deal.
You Me At Six – ‘Gossip’ (Slam Dunk)
“Enter Shikari? Enter Shit-ari, maaan, it’s all about You Me At Six nowadays. Have you heard ‘Gossip’? Right, y’know Funeral For A… yeah, those Welshies… well this is like that but, y’know, it’s well better. It’s like proper emo, with choruses and stuff, but it ain’t gay like My Chemical rubbishy Romance. Like, there’s no make-up and shit like that. My brother reckons this is way more like what he listened to in 2004, proper stuff. Like, when bands only had ten different t-shirt designs on their stalls.”
Video: You Me At Six, ‘Gossip’
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