The NME verdict on the singles released in the UK today, featuring Bruno Mars, Alex Metric and Brother.
Brother – ‘Still Here’
Every day, fresh tales are being created around this brigade of idealistic young men and their happening beat combo: wild claims are made by zealots, and then dismissed with a damning sneer by heretics. And to be frank, it’s all getting a bit silly. This is, after all, only the second single from a new guitar band, and it’s a perfectly fine chip off the old Britpop block, cut from the rough corner next to a Shed Seven sticker. It might not set the sky alight, but it’s still a friendly puppy dog of a song, with a cute growl and a harmonious and chipper disposition. If it leaves you as it finds you, that’s a shame, but then so does marmalade and no-one ever said that was evil.
Josh T. Pearson – ‘Woman When I’ve Raised Hell’
A discombobulating listen, this. Not least because of the uncommonly grown-up revelation – amid a plea to be left alone so the serious drinking can continue – that there will be a time after death-cheating nihilistic stuff for live-living forgiveness stuff. It’s also because Josh’s musical flow speeds up and slows down according to a rhythm which is entirely his own. ‘Woman…’ is a one-eye-open leery squint of a song, packed with cussed wisdom, and one which only works if you don’t think too hard about who has to fetch the mop and bucket when the serious drinking is done.
D/R/U/G/S – ‘Love/Lust’
The very opposite of Josh T’s rusty sprawl, in that it is all about the ecstatic release that comes with metronomic repetition. Not just the meticulous beat, but the accordion loop, growling bass and twinkling melodies too, all neatly cropped into one-bar, two-bar, four-bar patterns. There’s no post-fun forgiveness either, it’s all wipe-clean surfaces and the expectation that you’ll be on your way as soon as you’ve splashed a bit of water on your face.
Brasstronaut – ‘Hearts Trompet’
Have you seen this lot play? They’re a rum do. They’ve a double bass and a trumpet and one of those electronic clarinet things that makes whooshy synth noises. All clean-cut kids too, playing their perky song with all of the instrumental breaks in, until somehow suddenly, two-thirds of the way through, everything starts to stretch out, the perky falls away, and the whole thing takes on a more epic scale. It’s not unlike watching a teddy bear remake of the Incredible Hulk.
Bruno Mars – ‘The Lazy Song’
Oh that’s it, bring your own review, whydoncha? Listen buddy, I don’t bring my songs along to your concerts, do I? Especially not a smugly sunshiney skank which channels Olly Murs channelling Jason Mraz, that’s your job. So if you don’t mind, leave me to do mine, OK? Oh and can I ask, are you really sure you want to go with “meet a really nice girl and do some really nice sex” as a lyric?
Alex Metric & Steve Angello ft. Ian Brown – ‘Open Your Eyes’
OK, yes it’s a bass-heavy club-banger with a particularly virulent case of squitty synthitis, and yes, there is something gigglesome about that primary couplet “open your eyes, I’m hoping you rise,” not least because the mind does wonder what the third line might have been: “I’m roping the pies” perhaps, or “I’m coping with lies”. Thankfully it all resolves rather well, thanks to Mr Brown’s usual emphatic spiritualisms, and a funny video.
Clare Maguire- ‘Shield The Sword’
Hmm. Is anyone hungry? It’s just it seems someone has created this here sausage out of the chewy and unappetizing scrag ends of Florence Welch, and padded it out with shredded pages, torn from choose-your-own-adventure fantasy novels. ‘Shield the Sword’? Shut the face, more like.
Barbara Panther – ‘Moonlightpeople’
I’ve put this in to end on a more positive note. Barbara being what Clare Maguire would clearly love to be, authentically unusual, worryingly slinky and a little bit not quite, if you get my drift. She might not be The Sound of 2011, but she’s a far more appealing sound within 2011.
Also available to buy:
Austra – ‘Lose It’
Galleries – ‘Darkness Coming’
Planningtorock – ‘The Breaks’
Moby – ‘The Day’
Chris Brown – ‘Beautiful People’
Nelly ft Kelly Rowland- ‘Gone’
Sade- ‘Love Is Found’
Whocares – ‘Out Of My Mind’
Sara Bareilles – ‘Uncharted’