Zachary Cole Smith has overcome a multitude of problems to make this intensely powerful album
10 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week - (26/03/11)
Justice, Battles, The National
There are probably cooler ways to make your long-awaited return – it’s been four years since ‘Cross’ – than with an advert for Adidas starring Katy Perry, BoB and David Beckham. In fact, it’s the most shameless corporate hook-up since The Blackout Crew got sponsored by Pot Noodle. What will you do for your next trick, guys? Pen a jingle for Exxon Mobil? Get Fred ‘The Shred’ Goodwin in on guest vocals? Obviously this doesn’t matter when the song – ‘Civilization’, taken from the French duo’s upcoming second album – is as pulverisingly good as this. Taking their childlike massed vocals and bludgeoning beats and making them more so, it’s as sleek, anthemic and pulse-quickening as anything on their debut. It’s just annoying that it’s accompanied by a video in which superstar bellends such as Lionel Messi kiss shirts, score penalties, slam-dunk etc.
It’s not clear what the link is: it’s not like Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay look like sporty types. They’re more the types to skive off games lessons to smoke Gitanes. Meanwhile, are their fans impressed by all this Lycra-clad leaping around? I’ve been to Justice gigs and, sure, there’s a lot of sweating and raised heartrates, but for a rather different reason.
Still, what can you do? It’s a great song. Probably even better listened to while wearing expensive trainers and rolling around on a heaving pile of money.
Luke Lewis, Editor, NME.COM
2. Battles – ‘Ice Cream’
Distracting us from Tyondai Braxton’s absence is the presence of tropical dance weirdo Aguayo, who proves the perfect saucy topping to this grunty, squelchy, jubilant freakout.
Duncan Gillespie, writer
3. The National – ‘Think You Can Wait’
Lyrically nailing the unremarkable endeavour of not being a total fuck-up is The National’s calling card. On this sleepy new song from Tom McCarthy’s new film Win Win, Matt Berninger’s oaky voice splinters with apology, asking, “I’m out of my mind, think you can wait?”. The answer’s in guest vocalist Sharon Van Etten’s reassuring balm.
Laura Snapes, Assistant Reviews Editor
4. TV On The Radio – ‘Caffeinated Consciousness’
The second escaping ray from new album ‘Nine Types Of Light’ is firmly in the funky and swaggering part of the spectrum. The major-label ambition is certainly audible in its muscular, Mike Patton-fronting-Talking Heads groove.
Emily Mackay, Reviews Editor
5. Dominique Young Unique – ‘War Talk’
This lass from Florida raps so fast you only register the words three days later. So at first, I thought this was nonsense, then when I was doing the washing up at the weekend I suddenly went “She’s a genius!” This is the coolest girl on the block going, “I’m hotter than you, harder than you, get off my street…” Motherfucking cracking.
Martin Robinson, Deputy Editor
6. Ponytail – ‘Easy Peasy’
Few manage to capture the sound of butterflies in the stomach as precisely as this Baltimore group. The lead track from their forthcoming third LP hones their fidgety math-pop and Molly Siegel’s skittish yelping into a delightfully melodic nugget of sunny goodness.
Tom Edwards, writer
7. The Kills – ‘DNA’
Until recently, The Kills seemed more like a study into guitar-group clichés than a real band. Thankfully, hanging out with music’s Mr Natural, Jack White, has chilled out Alison Mosshart no end. ‘DNA’ is strong, simple and self-assured. D- for effort, A+ for achievement.
Krissi Murison, Editor
8. Burial, Thom Yorke & Four Tet – ‘Ego’
So the only supergroup who can walk down Watford High Street come up with a first release called ‘Ego’? Still, with trembling marimbas and Yorke’s wispy vocals floating on gentle breakbeats, the ‘super’ tag proves entirely justified.
Paul Stokes, Associate Editor
9.White Denim – ‘Anvil Everything’
Spaghetti Junction song structures? Math metal fretboard jiggery pokery? Acid-fried vocals beamed from a faded Texas afternoon? Mais bien sûr. It’s the ease with which they do their berserk thing that impresses the most.
Tim Chester, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
10. Fever Ray – ‘The Wolf’
The drone that kicks off the usual spooky Fever Ray rumbling here is the same noise that occurs when weird OAP child thingies The Espers are about to lose their shit in ’90s Manga flick Akira. That alone makes it brilliant, and Karin Dreijer Andersson’s chilling howl lifts it into the realms of beyond.
Mike Williams, Features Editor
This article originally appeared in the March 26th issue of NME
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