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 (18/5/2013)
Dizzee Rascal, Queens Of The Stone Age, Katy B
It's nothing new to point out that Dizzee Rascal has embraced pop in a way nobody could have predicted. His last album proper – 2009's 'Tongue N' Cheek' – produced massive smashes including 'Bonkers', 'Holiday' and 'Dance Wiv Me', the latter of which saw him collaborate with Calvin Harris waaaay before Rihanna did. But indulge us as we employ some hindsight for just a moment. Thinking back a decade to 2003, when the grime prodigy was gearing up to release first single 'I Luv U', kickstarting a year in which he would win the Mercury Prize, you do wonder what the then 18-year-old would think of the 2013 version of Dizzee. 'Goin' Crazy' is his most radio-friendly hit yet, the first taste from his forthcoming fifth album. Love it or hate it, over three and a half minutes, the boy from Bow solidifies his position at the top of the pop game. But then his new friend Robbie does know a bit about writing big hits. The song itself mines the same territory as 'Tongue N' Cheek'. Dizzee's verses skip by quickly as a catchy chorus from Robbie dominates. Talk about the past all you like, as Dizzee Rascal in 2013 says: "Middle finger in the air, don't give a care, goin' full throttle". Proof, if any were needed, that Dizzee belongs to the masses.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
Temples – 'Colours To Life'
Modern music’s obsession with mining 'Tomorrow Never Knows'-era Beatles continues with handsome Kettering crew Temples. Frontman James Bagshaw looks exactly like Marc Bolan, and 'Colours To Life' is all multi-coloured psychedelic fabulousness. I give it a YES.
Tom Howard, Reviews Editor
Katy B – 'What Love Is Made Of'
When Katy B first heard producer Geeneus making this beat she apparently shouted, "YES! Definitely!" Darker than anything on her debut, it's slinky, housey, has an irresistibly pouty hook and will have you doing gun fingers before the first chorus. She's still on a mission to make you dance.
Siân Rowe, Assistant Reviews Editor
Lauryn Hill – 'Neurotic Society'
It doesn’t matter that ‘Neurotic Society’ isn’t mastered sleekly, has no hook and was released (cynically?) just as Hill was heading to prison. Because this jerky rant is worth waiting over a decade for. Welcome back, L-Boogie.
Lucy Jones, Deputy Editor, NME.COM
Marina And The Diamonds And Charli XCX – 'Just Desserts'
Juddering beats, playground taunts and eerily sedate vocals – Marina and Charli’s debut collaboration sounds like it was created by nunchuck-wielding twins with serious intentions to injure their mutual ex. Potty-mouthed pop.
Harriet Gibsone, writer
Islet – 'Triangulation Station'
Taking an excursion with the Welsh band Islet is like getting into the back seat of a car blindfolded. Guided by the vehicle’s movement, you will have absolutely no idea what corner you’re going to turn next or where you’re going to end up. So just lay back and relax in the bosom of its bulbous cloud of psychedelic dreaminess.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
Queens Of The Stone Age – 'I Appear Missing'
Margaret Thatcher’s death? Alex Ferguson’s resignation from managing Manchester United? Both small fry in the face of the new Queens Of The Stone Age album, which has a cast list of collaborators that reads like the Debrett's of rock'n'roll. This is another of Josh Homme's dramatic rock growls, with riffs that are, quite frankly, bigger than the sun.
Jenny Stevens, Deputy News Editor
Black Flag – 'Down In The Dirt'
The band that launched a thousand brutalist tattoos (and Frank Turner) are back, without Henry Rollins or, it seems, much in the way of a budget. Sounding like it was recorded inside their bassist’s armpit,'‘Down In The Dirt' – which sees the return of the classic 1979–80 line-up – is fittingly raw and ravaged.
Mark Beaumont, writer
The Orwells – 'Other Voices'
Something great is happening in Chicago, spearheaded by teenage punks The Orwells and their fuzzbox buddies Twin Peaks. 'Other Voices', produced by Dave Sitek, is perhaps the best thing to emerge from the scene so far. A raucous three-minute take on Stones-y R&B, it’s the canny Iggy-gone-crazy vocal that really makes it fly.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
Sky Larkin – 'Motto'
Fresh from touring the planet as part of Wild Beasts' live band, Katie Harkin returns to her day job with Sky Larkin. This Sonic Youth-tinged taste of the Leeds band’s third record snarls and strains at the leash. You can take the girl out of Wild Beasts, but you can't take the wild heart out of the girl.
Kevin EG Perry, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
The Cavan teenagers attack album two with abandon, largely at the expense of quality
A still-vital John Lydon rages towards retirement on a saucy, scuzzy new album
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Oxford's finest flit between gnarly rock and frustrating slickness on an often-brilliant fourth album