Abel Tesfaye's dark, twisted album is at odds with the glossy pop world he's been thrust into
This Week's Single Reviews - 20/5/13
Paramore, Nick Cave, Gold Panda
The one thing this first track from UK producer Gold Panda’s second album ‘Half Of Where You Live’ absolutely doesn’t need is a man saying “Brazil” every three seconds over the top of it. It turns what is a dose of hardcore sunshine relaxation into a situation involving wasps, blisters and sweating. Another afternoon ruined.
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - 'Mermaids' (Bad Seed Ltd)
“She was a catch/And we were a match/I was the match that would fire up her snatch”. There aren’t many men in music who’d get away with an opening lyric like that. Dappy? They’d arrest him. Bob Dylan? People would go “eugh”. Robbie Williams? He’d be sent back to the asylum. Nick Cave? An icon of perverted poetry.
Ocean Colour Scene - 'Doodle Book' (Cooking Vinyl)
No shit, this is actually about drawing. “Doodle book with all your friends’ names on/Doodle book is what our minds are made of/Doodle all the faces of your loved ones”. Piano, trumpets, really basic drums, Simon Fowler singing like he’s loving not being famous. It’s all kinda joyful.
San Cisco - 'Fred Astaire' (Columbia)
In what can only be seen as a tragic side-effect of this country’s obsession with celebrity culture, San Cisco frontman Jordi Davieson is convinced the love of his life would be better off with world-famous Broadway dancer Fred Astaire, who’s been dead for 26 years. Extra creepy because it comes alongside some super-sickly indie pop. Someone needs a mum hug.
Valerie June - 'Wanna Be On Your Mind' (Sunday Best)
The Next Big Thing With Smoky Vocals. And why not. Tennessee-born June makes what she calls “organic moonshine roots music”, which sounds like, y’know, bullshit. Or something Levi Roots would stick on the front of a bottle of Reggae Reggae sauce. But actually June’s tunes are as startling as inhaling a lungful of smoke when the wind suddenly changes as you’re sitting around a fire.
Paramore - 'Still Into You' (Fueled By Ramen)
When people say Paramore have ‘gone pop’ what they mean is the trio have become No Doubt. The band’s all about frontwoman Hayley Williams now, who’s going big on the becoming Gwen Stefani thing with her half-pink, half-red hair and sweet-shop clothes. ‘Still Into You’ is every bit as radio-conquering as ‘Don’t Speak’, and basically what’s happening here is they’ll headline Reading and Leeds in 2014.
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
10 Tracks You Need To Hear This Week (26/8/2015)
Oxford's finest flit between gnarly rock and frustrating slickness on an often-brilliant fourth album