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 (28/05/12)
The xx, Breton, Perfume Genius
The xx - 'Untitled Track'
“I can’t stop you leaving”, sigh two sultry voices, vocal lines intertwined by the finest strands of gossamer. “I can see it in your eyes/Some things have lost their meaning”. And thus, every soul who puzzled over what Romy, Oliver and Jamie were doing during all that radio silence has their answer: it seems The xx were having their hearts smashed to smithereens, courtesy of some cruel and callous former paramours. It’s safe to say that snogging to this might be a tad trickier than pashing to 2009’s ‘xx’, then – but now the handful of new, untitled tracks the trio showcased at last week’s intimate comeback gigs have surfaced online, there’s a lot more to be pieced together about the new album, too. That pillow-soft intimacy, those besotted bedroom-eyes… they’re gone, replaced by a spikier sensibility that’s more akin to a desolate soundscape than a romantic hinterland. And the Tumblr the band posted back in November crammed with references to electronic experimenters such as Interceptor and Dawud becomes a smidgen clearer, too, on a track that’s powered by Jamie’s sparse, jagged beat and Romy’s brittle guitar. If this is what becomes of the brokenhearted, then we’re all in for a treat when that album finally drops…
Waka Flocka Flame feat Plies - 'Lurkin’'
This curse-laden track’s one to make mums across the land squirm. Rapping that his “boys be lurkin’”, Flame makes like a creepy Facebook stalker, while Plies shouts over the top like S.mouse commanding Ludacris to slap his elbow. A couple of Angry Boys that could do with a good grounding.
Breton - 'Foam'
Given their pretentious back-story (the band only formed to soundtrack their artwork), how are Breton so unpretentiously great? ‘Foam’, the forthcoming B-side to ‘Jostle’, wriggles and throbs along on juddery synth lines, at once moodily disenchanted and ultimately dancefloor-ready. It’s a better B-side than most A-sides; they’re a better byproduct than most ‘intentional’ bands.
Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra - 'Do It With A Rockstar'
Rolling-in-it proof that cult can pay, former Dresden Doll Amanda Palmer has crowd-funded her new album into the record books. It might not be the future for everyone, but this effort sure sounds good, piano-hammering meaty glam-rock with attitude.
Andy Burrows - 'Keep On Moving '
Burrows is doomed to languish in indie’s fourth division, putting out passable out-of-step Supergrass-esque Britpop like this. But at least he’s doing it with a little flair, unlike his former Razorlight bandmates, whose latest booking involves them playing Jamie Oliver’s new festival on Alex James’ farm. Depressing.
Foxes - 'In Her Arms'
Continuing Foxes’ journey into the mainstream, this track from forthcoming ‘Warrior’ EP leaves previous Florence-aping in favour of a deep sea of glock samples and sultry atmospherics that sound just a little like Jamie xx at his poppiest.
Last Dinosaurs - 'Andy'
Features big cartoon riffs that zip in and out like laser beams, screeched vocal “oohs” and one gigantic big build up at the end that lasts almost a minute. As such, this is one of the most preposterously colourful tunes you can hear right now.
Yeasayer - 'Henrietta'
Singer Chris Keating has promised a “demented R&B record” for Yeasayer’s forthcoming third. And while this bubbling, ’80s drum-snap-lodged first taste hardly feels like something poured from the brain of R Kelly’s straightjacketed younger brother, it’s eccentric enough for us to label it “enjoyably weird and kind of R&B”. Such a fine line, isn’t it?
Perfume Genius - 'Rusty Chains'
This might have missed the cut for Mike Hadreas’ (aka Perfume Genius) spellbinding second album, ‘Put Your Back N 2 It’, but it’s just as mesmerisingly tender and heartfelt. “He was taken from me”, he swoons amid walls of piano and languid “oohs”, proving yet again his capacity to give even the most harrowing human emotions an otherworldly lustre.
Franz Ferdinand - 'I Feel Love'
It’s not as good as Donna Summer’s original, naturally, and nothing ever will be, but there’s something unmistakably Franz Ferdinand about the choppy ol’ guitar happening all around the disco classic. It’s a pleasingly distinctive homage to the queen of disco that makes us yearn for the Scots’ return.
This article originally appeared in the May 26th issue of NME
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