Zachary Cole Smith has overcome a multitude of problems to make this intensely powerful album
This Week's Singles Reviewed (31/10/11)
Friends, Gold Panda, Dog Is Dead
Friends - 'I’m His Girl'
“When you see me walking around with him/I’m not just another chick/I’m his girl”. ‘He’, in this scenario, is presumably some Gosling-esque beefcake who Samantha Urbani tries to convince herself she’s pinned down. On his terms, obviously: “If you love someone, you should feel good to let them breathe”. He tell you that, did he? See, you’re a smashing band and your elastic basslines and spooky choir are hot but, Friends, he’s definitely shagging around. Sorry.
Bo Ninghen - 'Henkan'
One good way to make sure your man isn’t cheating, of course, is to ‘lose’ his iPod, ‘crash’ his laptop and glue a Bo Ningen CD into his stereo. Because you’d have to be a CGI star of Troll Hunter to survive, let alone enjoy, shagging to the psych-thrash frenzy of ‘Henkan’. It’s essentially the sound of a flamethrower massacre in a Japanese monastery but, by Buddha’s balls, it rocks.
Dog Is Dead - 'Hands Down'
If the ultimate sign of your guitar band having ‘made it’ is a major label signing up your carbon copy, then well done Maccabees, Two Door and Noah: you’re all officially A-list. For here come Dog Is Dead – from a scene we shall instantly call ‘post-Fink’ – with their wiry guitars, high cheekbones, rousing choral crescendos and heavy stench of knowing zeitgeist.
Gold Panda - 'An Iceberg Hurled Northwards Through Clouds'
This doesn’t sound anything like an iceberg being hurled northwards through clouds. Eastwards, yes. Through a wind chime factory and down some stairs into a basement full of mechanical piano tuners, maybe. Whatever, hearing Gold Panda rolling naked in his sonic palette is always a joy, even if we’re on different drugs from him right now.
Y Niwl - 'Undegsaith'
Proof, if any were needed, that there is a corner of Wales in which time stood still in 1961. Ready Steady Go! drumming, Shadows surf guitar instrumentals, Moogs being mashed by manic Munsters… Y Niwl are probably in heavy rotation on Matt Bellamy’s dad’s stereo. Make of that what you will.
Mozart Parties - 'Black Cloud'
This brainchild of James Bennett from Kirkby Lonsdale confirms that the Lake District drinking water is teeming with the ethereal virus. Hence this gripping amalgam of Wild Beasts’ chill, Echo & The Bunnymen’s shimmer and New Order’s best hooks. It might be a) about depression and b) full of ominous harmonies, but Bennett is the sort of guy Friends should be proud to be on the arm of.
This article originally appeared in the November 5th issue of NME
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