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 (30/07/2013)
Ten songs that've been on repeat in the NME office this week, including Haim, Babyshambles and The Family Rain
Woah, what’s going on here? Not only have Haim released something from their secret batcave, they’ve only gone and dropped ‘The Wire’. Unleashing this live favourite can only mean one thing: it’s coming! They’ve clearly been saving the ace in their pack for a special occasion, and since they’ve already played Glastonbury and toured the entire planet, the only significant event now left would involve some sort of physical release of more than three songs. Behold, all ye Haimites, and begin congregating at the Danielle-Este-Alana altar to enjoy this taster from their forthcoming album. If you thought the mere fact that this song has found its way onto record was unexpected, wait until you actually hear it. Long gone is the original’s drivetime rock’n’roll. In its place is an opening ‘All Right Now’ chord, which fast-forwards 10 years to a chugging Police bassline and then zooms into ultra-modern Phoenix electronica. Familiar Haimisms are present: Danielle masters her Jacko ‘coochie coo’ gesticulations before shredding the fuck out of her guitar. But just as you get comfortable… there’s a strings-led breakdown! What ‘The Wire’ proves is that whether you dress them up or down, Haim know how to write a tune. They could stick a choir of kazoo players on this and it would work. That said, let’s not give them any more ideas ahead of that album release.
Eve Barlow, Deputy Editor
Babyshambles - 'Farmer’s Daughter'
With a guitar intro as Libertines-sounding as anything Babyshambles have ever produced, some classic P-Do poetry (“With your wife and donkey on a dusty road, now break some bread with me”) and a giant of a chorus featuring the singer in his finest voice for years, ‘Farmer’s Daughter’ sounds like one thing: hope.
Tom Howard, Reviews Editor
The Family Rain - 'Reason To Die'
Heavier than AC/DC locked in a steel safe then thrown off a towerblock, and sexier than a Bond girl reading Henry Miller, this new tune from the Bath brothers isn’t so much a reason to die as a reason to get excited about rock’n’roll again. Play it loud. Get sweaty.
Kevin EG Perry, Assistant Editor, NME.COM
Icona Pop - 'All Night'
It might be more “I like it” than “I love it”, but ‘All Night’ is another souped-up Scandi-banger complete with chanted vocals and synths found down the back of Calvin Harris’ sofa. Who knows, maybe this one won’t need Lena Dunham dancing around in her vest to make it a hit.
David Renshaw, News Reporter
Johnny Flynn - 'The Lady Is Risen'
You can’t go wrong these days if you’re strumming seafaring songs next to a brass section. Beirut, Stornoway, Villagers, lovely. So here’s Johnny Flynn and trumpety chums concocting a delectable Gorkys-in-white-satin campfire ballad, revolving around a misty falsetto refrain akin to man calling owl to mate. Parping brilliant.
Mark Beaumont, writer
The Orwells - 'Who Needs You'
The Chicago garage-punks are at their sneering, bratty best on this Dave Sitek-produced first cut from their new EP. Snarling about pledging allegiance and joining the army over rampant and blistering guitar hooks, frontman Mario Cuomo lands the killer blow: “I said no thank you, dear old Uncle Sam”.
Justine Matthews, writer
Jackson Scott - 'Together Forever'
Not a Rick Astley cover after all, but one-man band Jackson Scott drenches his stuff in so much reverb and searing squalls of guitar, you’d be hard-pressed to tell. On ‘Together Forever’ the North Carolina-based college dropout sounds like Kim Deal and makes sweet, swampy shoegaze with a delicious hook.
Matthew Horton, writer
The Flaming Lips - Gates Of Steel
Whether they’re doing Pink Floyd, The Stone Roses or – in this case – flowerpot-wearing ’80s jerk-pop freaks Devo, Wayne Coyne and co can cover any act and make it sound like no-one but their odd selves. Here, they take Devo’s clipped style, slow it down and run it through the Lips kaleidoscope, finding something grandly expansive in the process.
Dan Stubbs, News Editor
Crushed Beaks - 'Feelers'
A bit frustrated by not being able to read your nearest and dearest’s minds? Crushed Beaks certainly know your pain. On ‘Feelers’, the second track from their debut EP ‘Tropes’, the south London duo explore the failings of communication in relationships, tightly wound in garage-rock and walls of buffed-up melody.
Rhian Daly, writer
Willis Earl Beal - 'Too Dry To Cry'
The finest, coolest voice in America returns all guns blazing. Backed for the first time by a proper band and some amazing studio trickery, ‘Too Dry To Cry’ finds Beal in pensive mood. Sort of like Charles Mingus meets TV On The Radio, it’s as beguiling as it is bizarre.
Matt Wilkinson, New Music Editor
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