This week’s new releases get the NME once over, courtesy of Mark Beaumont.
Alex Winston – ‘Sister Wife’
Gremlins. Tribbles. Her out of Species. Cheryl Cole in a Guildford club lavatory. All easy on the eye, but packing quite a bite. And now we can add Alex Winston to that list – the Detroit songbird who’s all Bambi eyes and Stevie Nicks pantaloons in person, but a vicious, man-grabbing harpy in lyric. “Hey there sister wife/Get the hell out, it’s my night” she trills, as adorable as Pippa Middleton’s backside, as if in the middle of a catfight at a Gucci aftershow, “You don’t know the way to his heart like I do”. Yes, she’s the MOR MIA, but this reviewer would happily marry her tomorrow, if only because the rows would sound so harmonious.
Pete & The Pirates – ‘United’
Not a terrace anthem by the Man U fans who live closest to the ground, Reading’s Pete & The Pirates here deploy their formidable melodic powers upon matters rather more seditious. Though it builds to a chunky rock chorus about shagging (or possibly just having a really nice chat) on the floor that’s as pleasant as a carpet burn, it gets there via a ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ dark surf chug opening concerning domestic violence (“I threw an ashtray at you my darling”) and a taut middle eight about suicide (“When I fall asleep I often hope that it’s for good”). It’s ultimately joyful stuff, but if it’s an indicator of where feel-good indie pop music is headed, expect The Wombles to make a comeback with a cover of Lou Reed’s ‘Berlin’.
Noah & The Whale – ‘Tonight’s The Kind Of Night’
With ‘L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.’ having become the NME Chart‘s very own Adele – by the end it started to feel like only Brian Cox’s nightmare vision of a nearby galaxy colliding with our own would stop it being Number One – it’s been quite a wait for, ironically, ‘Last Night On Earth’’s most obvious hit single to finally hit the airwaves. And we can expect a similarly titanic chart run, since it meddles little with the album’s 80s AOR-drenched formula. Rolling pianos recall Springsteen, The Cars and the ‘Loaf; a hopeful tale unravels of a heroic runaway on a voyage of teenage discovery and rebellion; Charlie Fink drawls out a punch-the-air chorus with the sort of louche confidence that used to come accompanied by shades, Joey Ramones’ hair and a soundtrack deal with John Hughes. Everything about this track is knowingly immaculate: an Ultimate Power night-closer in waiting.
Those Dancing Days – ‘Can’t Find Entrance’
Bloody Hell, Those Dancing Days have been on the Fink pills as well! Glistening Desperately Seeking Susan synths, hammering LA drums, thunking Billy Idol bass – I feel like I’m reviewing this week’s singles from some sort of Grot Pub Time Machine. Not born in 1986? This is basically what it was like, only with more loon pants and Kajagoogoo. That said, you’ll hear few more danceable songs about the frustrations of poorly signposted entryways, or possibly trying to get into the tube station at Bank.
Tape The Radio – ‘Save A Life’
This’ll be that guitar rock revival we ordered, then. South Londoners Tape The Radio do the glossy emo-goth-rock thing with admirable aplomb, more brooding atmospherics than is usual in such radio-oriented fare and a melodic thwack like a canvassing Prescott. Impressive stuff, but not so sure about the name – why not just call yourself Etch A Wax Cylinder and have done with it?
Cocknbullkid – ‘Asthma Attack’
For decades now the nation’s cheesiest disco dancefloors have been abuzz with the same question – enough of all this spinning around, riding on time and playing poker already, why oh why oh why has no-one yet written a dance pop anthem about respiratory difficulties brought on by air pollution in Hackney? Well the wait is finally over, as Anita ‘Cocknbullkid’ Blay delivers this spangly ode to London and all who choke in her, at one point even cooing “You’re the one I lost my two front teeth to” like Lock, Stock… gone G.A.Y..