Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
10 Tracks You Have To Hear This Week (28/04/12)
Maximo Park, The Walkmen, Arctic Monkeys
There’s something admirable in the way that Newcastle’s bounciest sons Maxïmo Park just get bloody well stuck in there. They don’t dance around the point or pause to consider how to set themselves in the coolest light, they just go “Well, we’re in a massive global recession, the government’s stripping back public services, everything’s terrible. Let’s write an angry album called ‘The National Health’.” Brilliant.
Similarly, when it comes to affairs of the heart, frontman Paul Smith has a way of getting right down to the blood and guts of it. The second track from the Park’s fourth album, out June 11, is an intense and uncomfortable post-tiff emotional dissection. It starts off brooding in a chilly synthpop mood, with a tense, fidgety keyboard line. Then, as Smith seeths “I punched the fence last night/Another act that you found pathetic”, the song becomes an agonised crescendo of jagged riffs, crashing drums and a howl of “You’re a puzzle to me/And you always will be”. Sounds like Maxïmo’s time away has definitely given them a renewed energy, living up to Smith’s description of the new album being “as vital a music as people would want to hear”. Let’s just hope not too many fences were harmed in the making of this album.
Little Boots - 'Every Night I Say A Prayer' (Tensnake Remix)
On which our Vic takes Aretha’s formula for love, removes the “little” and instead does it SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, with the assistance of some deliciously retro electronica stylings. Also features the most amazing guest vocal of the week. “I want yooooou to take me there!” Oh yeah…
Titus Andronicus - 'Oh Bondage Up Yours!' (X-Ray Spex cover)
Ex-Titus member Amy Klein makes a brilliantly nuts return to the fold on this cover of the punk classic. Wielding a bizarre British accent and yelping and wailing over driving crashes of scuzzed-up guitars, it’s as wickedly punk-spirited and cheekily irreverent a tribute to the late, great Poly Styrene as you’d hope.
Mellowhype - 'Timbs'
Another newie from the prolific Odd Future camp – this time featuring Hodgy Beats and Domo Genesis. Kicking in with almost Bond theme-esque string samples before dropping the standard “Golf Wang” clarion call, ‘Timbs’ is a short but sweet example of the pair’s verbal dexterity – proving OF don’t have to offend to succeed.
Jessie Ware - '110%'
Ware’s sizzled out Sade-like dubstep has had a baby with electropop – and it’s called ‘110%’. Drifting and driving over a Little Dragon-like beat, it bops about like sprinkles of heaven against a blessed-out backing. The whole thing feels very Robyn-like in its simple pop beauty. And that can only be a good thing.
Priya Elan, Assistant Editor
The Walkmen - 'Heaven'
Of course, when ‘The Rat’ is your high-water mark, nothing’s ever going to sound as exciting again. But the best NY rock’n’roll band of the past decade who aren’t The Strokes are back to their best, channelling moody new wave with aplomb rather than reverting to the mariachi meandering of 2010’s ‘Lisbon’.
Beach House - 'Lazuli'
Everyone who’s heard it is going mental for new album ‘Bloom’, but if you can’t wait that long there’s always this Record Store Day release to tide you over. Based round a plinky piano riff, it’s a good signifier of the album as a whole – mysterious, woozily immersive, and unutterably pretty.
Arctic Monkeys - 'Electricity'
Alex Turner ain’t in the mood for romance in this gnarled ode to night-time nookie. “My heart was breaking and got left unlocked/Didn’t see you sneak in but I’m glad you stopped” goes his barely-there murmur. Made available for Record Store Day as a B-side to ‘R U Mine?', ‘Electricity’ continues the Monkeys’ flirtation with QOTSA riffs and sleaze.
Major Lazer feat Dirty Projectors’ Amber - 'Get Free'
Not what you’d expect, this. Way more chilled than anything you’d normally get from Diplo (yup, him again) and Switch’s Major Lazer project, ‘Get Free’’s fuzzy, gloopy, underwater-sounding reggae beat combined with Amber Coffman’s piercing Björk-ish vocal is a sensationally relaxing experience. Even the windpipes at the end sound correct.
Yuck - 'Chew'
You could hardly call the crunching dirge of ‘Chew’ a step forward for Yuck, more a step closer to them becoming the ultimate US slacker-rock tribute act. But the sooner the world acknowledges that this lot ‘do’ Dinosaur Jr as well as their seniors, the sooner we can get on with revelling in this song’s dirty brilliance.
This article originally appeared in the April 28th issue of NME
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