NME’s Alex Denney reviews this week’s single releases…
Shearwater – ‘Breaking The Yearlings’
Shearwater’s ‘The Golden Archipelago’ in 2010 was a record so dull it had to be sleeved in a cover recalling the final scenes of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy where Gandalf goes off to die in a big canoe. Though cut from the same Games Workshop-AOR cloth as all their stuff, ‘Breaking The Yearlings’ does at least bring the thunder to match its beardy prog musings, and as such we doff our Viking hats to it.
Alt-J – ‘Matilda’
Alt-J aren’t really called Alt-J, they’re called ∆, which is apparently what happens when you hold down Alt + J on a Mac computer. Not that I would know or anything, because I’m a PC and therefore fucking loathe Macs. So, ∆, now that you’ve got our attention, what is it you wanted to hear? That ‘Matilda’ sounds like Live Lounge-sessioncore fronted by a duck on Rohypnol? Did Steve Jobs die for nothing?
Spector – ‘Chevy Thunder’
You know when you’re running down a hill and your legs suddenly start moving faster than you thought you’d asked them to? That’s how ‘Chevy Thunder’ sounds; a power chord-pissed, burnt rubber blur of a track that rattles along at breakneck speed. If only all odes to the mythic American heartlands could be as unaffected as this — cough, Noah & The Whale, cough.
Niki & The Dove – ‘DJ, Ease My Mind’
So great is Niki & The Dove’s belief in the redeeming power of a belting pop chorus, they seem to consider verses a bit beneath them. For the first minute or so, this track is all blah-blah-blah and then suddenly it’s THWACK; with a tune that’s not so much stratospheric as it is exospheric (check Wikipedia, yo) and ought legally to be sung by a cast of millions. Just Malin Dahlström will do for now, though.
Field Music – ‘A New Town’
For millennia, funk has been the preserve of vexed-looking men who sound in dire need of shooting their loads post-haste, but Field Music tap into the genre’s potential to convey moral — as opposed to sexual — anxiety. “My body’s stretched like a nylon wire”, sings David Brewis over this airless, mazy track, in a nervy falsetto that sounds like a pre-rampage Michael Douglas in Falling Down.
Tinchy Stryder ft Pixie Lott – ‘Bright Lights’
Far be it from us to bewail grime’s belated moment in the sun, but does it have to sound like this? Tinchy’s been MCing since before his balls dropped and has talent, of course, but this witless R&B crossover fluff (think a Ryanair retread of BoB’s ‘Airplanes’) is the kind of vapid nonsense we could all do without.
This article originally appeared in the February 25th issue of NME