Junior Boys, The 2 Bears, Field Music – This Week’s Singles Reviewed (Dec 12-26)

NME’s Louise Brailey reviews the rest of this month’s singles, featuring Junior Boys, The 2 Bears and Field Music.

Junior Boys – ‘You’ll Improve Me’
Once everyone thought Junior Boys were the Hot Chip that it was OK for smug Europeans to like. Still, don’t pretend that you’ve never dreamed of lifting Valium-heavy eyelids from your Macbook Air screen to gaze contentedly at your Dieter Rams storage solution… and the music playing in the background, that glassy synth and acid squelch, a patina of indie to reaffirm your relevance – it’s this record and it’s great.


The 2 Bears – ‘Work’
Speaking of Hot Chip, what’s up with Joe Goddard? Did he have a therapy-induced breakthrough whereby he realised he just wanted to make piano-driven life-affirming house with his buddy and everything else was a massive lie? This sounds like it was conceived after a Paradise Garage epiphany in 1987, cocaine falling like snow and… hey, there’s Frankie Knuckles: “HIYA FRANKIE!! Yeah, we should totally work together.” Whatever, I’m grateful.

Dot Rotten – ‘Keep It On A Low’
Meanwhile, at a club somewhere in the 21st century, where amyls and cocaine are swapped for own-brand Jaegerbombs and much weaker cocaine, Dot Rotten holds court. This is uplifting, grime-derived pop music in hi-def. It also has a Vocoder chorus that’ll appeal to folks who don’t give a shit about your mixtapes, white labels and that time your crappy night got shut down by the police. Don’t be that guy. If Dot can move on…

Field Music – ‘(I Keep Thinking About) A New Thing’
They’re clever chaps, those brothers from Field Music. “I don’t want to simplify it, eloquence is overrated”, sings David Brewis in his urbane, mannered falsetto. They’re fastidious fellows as well, all pointy elbows as they pull fretting XTC shapes while incubating secret yacht rock fantasies. But most of all they’re sexy, in that rarefied “Imma close my eyes and finger the fretboard” kinda way.

Little Racer – ‘Split For The Coast’
Brooklynites, lo-fi, surf guitars, fetishising the coast – someone make this meme stop. Sing about something else: death, dugongs, the way people’s faces gloss over when you tell them you’re in a band at a party. I like to fantasise that they have a massive barny in the tiki breakdown and the singer bundles his bandmates into the back of the van and drives to Beachy Head. “Well, ya wanted the seaside!”.

Phenomenal Handclap Band – ‘Unknown Faces At Father James Park’
Imagine if, like PHB, you made a virtue out of re-appropriating psyched out dustbowl funk, regurgitating it for an audience of your fresh faced but ultimately hollow-hearted peers who stifle laughter at your sheggings (that’s shiny leggings – fashion ed). Would you continue to make music – forcing reviewers to be mean and feel shit – or would you think wait a minute, fuck the Incredible Bongo Band, I want my life back? I think we all know the answer.