NME’s John Doran reviews this week’s singles
Ronika – ‘Only Only’
Before the Happy Mondays ruined everything by making dance music that sounded like a tramp with a loudspeaker having a nervous breakdown, club music in the mid-’80s was brilliant. The spirit of Shannon’s ‘Let The Music Play’ and Freeze’s ‘IOU’ is what Nottingham’s Ronika is successfully attempting to recreate here, and the warm analogue electro pop of ‘Only Only’ has its heart set on seducing you.
Queen Of Hearts – ‘Spanish Sahara’
There’s more to being Alison Goldfrapp than singing over session Euro-trance in your underwear, sticking a taxidermy goose on your head and having sexy dancers in badger masks. Lacking the charisma, the singing chops and (critically) the Will Gregory that make Alison who she is, Queen Of Hearts lazily covering Foals is the dictionary definition of anodyne.
The Japanese Popstars Ft Robert Smith – ‘Take Forever’
Why did Virgin sign The Japanese Popstars? Was it down to a thick line of Maldon sea salt hoovered up the hooter at an A&R showcase? We’ll never know, but the competent mid-tempo trance chancers have certainly had a lot of money thrown at them. The Cure’s frontman is just one big name loaning his vocals to the group. And by the sound of things, having his time completely fucking wasted as well.
Real Estate – ‘It’s Real’
While real Estate are so sun-dappled you’ll need to slather yourself in Factor 80 sunblock before putting them on the stereo, and so sugary that they make The Shins sound like grindcore band Regurgitate, this Feelies/Beachwood Sparks-inspired slice of loveliness is still enough to break a heart at 100 paces.
The Computers – ‘Rhythm Revue’
When I first saw The Computers in Manchester a few years ago they were brilliant – a twitchy punk explosion dressed like a white denim Kraftwerk. But since then they’ve changed direction. Now, if you have to play old gangster rock’n’roll, a genre 50 years out of date, at least have the courtesy to be as good as The Jim Jones Revue or The Fabulous Penetrators and not side with Alvin Stardust or Beady Eye.
Givers – ‘Meantime’
Louisiana Tropicalia/Afrobeat indie act Givers may not be quite as good as Bristol-based Zun Zun Egui, but then again neither is anyone else. This pretty, preppy outfit revel in shifting rhythm patterns and tempos, multiple drummers, shimmering guitars that make them sound like they’ve been listening to Nigerian hi-life for longer than six months. Simple, unabashed joyfulness.
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This article appears in the October 1st issue of NME